Friday, August 29, 2014

Experience big for Cyclones

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 5/13/2013

The Ottawa High School baseball team understands what it takes to win in the postseason. Most of the varsity players were on last year’s third-place state squad.

The others have been on successful teams in the past.

The Ottawa High School baseball team understands what it takes to win in the postseason. Most of the varsity players were on last year’s third-place state squad.

The others have been on successful teams in the past.

Ottawa played below par to end the regular season last week. It motivated the players, especially the seniors.

The Cyclones came out ripping the ball and made all the plays Monday in an 11-1 win in Ottawa over Osawatomie in five innings. Ottawa (14-3) advances to the regional semifinals Thursday in Garnett. Ottawa plays 4:30 p.m. against Fort Scott. The winner advances to the title game.

“We came out with good energy,” senior catcher Greyson LaPlant said. “We take it to heart more when it is your last year.”

Ottawa coach Shawn Herrmann said the experience and talent is big thing for Ottawa.

“They know what it takes and what the expectations are,” Herrmann said. “Our key was we had really good at-bats. If guys can put it in play and run the bases hard, we will be tough to beat.”

It started from the first inning. Senior Kaden Shaffer mowed down the Trojans in the first inning. He finished with a five-hitter.

Then the bats went to work. Ottawa scored four runs on four hits in the opening frame.

“When Taylor [Graf] got on, stole second and then the catcher did not pay attention and stole third that set the tone for the rest of the game,” LaPlant said.

Ottawa scored two runs in the second inning on three hits. Ottawa added two runs on two hits in the fourth to open an 8-1 lead.

The Cyclones ripped three hits in the fifth and scored three runs to run-rule the Trojans.

Ottawa finished with 12 hits.

“We came out last night after graduation and took some batting practice,” LaPlant said. “Everybody was waiting back and putting the ball in play. Against Paola, we were out on our front foot. We made the adjustment.”

Shaffer did the rest.

“He had a lot of confidence,” Herrmann said of Shaffer. “We needed to set the tone early. He is the type of kid that can come back on two days rest and be ready to pitch again.”

LaPlant, who caught Shaffer for years, said he was blowing the fastball by Osawatomie.

“He was setting it up with the curveball,” LaPlant said. “When he has it, he is tough to hit.”

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