Saturday, December 20, 2014

OHS advances to regional finals

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 5/19/2014

It is Ottawa vs. Paola. One game.

Winner heads to the state tournament.

It is Ottawa vs. Paola. One game.

Winner heads to the state tournament.

Ottawa advanced to the regional championship game Monday with an 8-2 win over Louisburg and a 4-3 victory over top-seeded Baldwin in Ottawa.

The title game is at 5 p.m. in Ottawa.

“We look pretty inspired,” Ottawa coach Shawn Herrmann said. “They are really playing well right now. It don’t matter how you start it is how you finish. We want to go to the state tournament. We want that chance.”

Ottawa started the season 2-7 and has gone 10-3 since with two of the losses by a run.

“It does not matter what your record is,” Herrmann said. “You have to bring it. We have been having real good practices and it shows in the games.”

Ottawa made all the plays in both games. The Cyclones came up with key hits and defensive plays.

“We got a couple of key hits when we had to,” Herrmann said. “We had three key pitching performances. We were throwing strikes. Connor [Stepp] is making plays left and right. Tate [Jung] was making plays.

“We had a few mistakes here and there, but they did not hurt us. Before we played not to lose and now we are playing to win. That is a big difference.”

Ottawa scored four runs on four hits in the third inning against Baldwin and made them stand up. Tate Jung and Hayden Yancey had RBIs in the uprising. Sam Carver drove home two with a single.

Nathan Roth went five innings, giving up two runs on four hits. Hayden closed the door in the final two frames. He gave up a run on one hit.

“I need to do my job,” Yancey said. “It is the moment. It is regionals.”

Ottawa spotted Louisburg two runs in the first inning and that was it. Carver gave up two hits in the first inning and none in the final six innings.

“Sam started slow,” Herrmann said. “He kept going and going.”

Hayden said, “He is our ace for a reason. We knew they would come out and play us as hard as they could. You can’t get down on things.”

Ottawa scored two in the third and fourth innings and four in the sixth with the help of a couple of errors.

“Now we are getting our bats together,” Yancey said. “We came in at the top of the sixth inning, coach was like ‘it is the top of the lineup, let’s get two more runs.’ Insurance ... insurance.”

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