Friday, August 01, 2014

Ottawa's bats come alive in tourney victory

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 6/7/2013

EMPORIA — The baseball season is still young, which gives the Ottawa American Legion AA team time to grow. Ottawa has played well in different parts of the game, but not at the same time.

Ottawa’s pitching and defense were consistent in last week’s wood bat tournament. The bats came alive Friday in the first game of the Sam Ellis Classic in Emporia, but the defense showed some cracks.

EMPORIA — The baseball season is still young, which gives the Ottawa American Legion AA team time to grow. Ottawa has played well in different parts of the game, but not at the same time.

Ottawa’s pitching and defense were consistent in last week’s wood bat tournament. The bats came alive Friday in the first game of the Sam Ellis Classic in Emporia, but the defense showed some cracks.

Ottawa committed four errors, which kept the door ajar for the Lawrence Cactus to rally back. Ottawa held off the Cactus, 11-7. Ottawa built a 9-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning.

“We hit the ball well,” Ottawa coach Shawn Herrmann said after Ottawa cracked out 10 hits. “We put pressure on them when we had to. We could not close it out.”

Fielding errors gave Lawrence the opening it needed. The Cactus scored three in the fourth and seventh innings.

“Those were all routine plays,” Herrmann said. “It was balls we make plays on every single day. It should have been over three innings ago. We definitely were expecting the game to be over with. Lawrence had other ideas. Get behind in the count, a couple of hits, a walk and it changes things around.”

Ottawa had enough offense to overcome those lapses.    

“We usually are solid defensively,” Ottawa third baseman Isaac Carter said. “Thank God it did not kill us today. We can’t do that [today] and definitely not on Sunday.”

Ottawa returned from its break fresh and with a good attitude. Ottawa had been off since Sunday’s loss to Iola.

“We were pretty upbeat in practice,” Herrmann said. “We got in the groove again. They were anxious to play.”

Ottawa’s bats were alive, lining the ball hard all over the field. Even the outs were hit hard.

“We hit the ball hard every time,” Herrmann said. “I saw some guys step up and make some big hits for us. When you are fighting for playing, that is what we need.”

Ottawa scored four runs in the top of the second inning on two hits. The big blast was a two-run single from Connor Stepp.

“It helps when you put up four runs and five runs an inning later,” Carter said. “It helps us relax and get in the flow of the game.”

The Roth brothers combined for the win on the mound. Nathan tossed the first five innings and Turner pitched the final two frames.

“The innings they scored the runs is when we did not make the plays,” Herrmann said. “If we are going to make four errors, we can’t look past anybody or look at the next inning. We have to look at what is in front of us.”

Ottawa (4-1) plays 12:30 p.m. today against Wichita and at 8 p.m. versus Emporia.

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