Thursday, August 21, 2014

Legion A wins tourney, remains undefeated

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 6/9/2014

The Ottawa Legion A baseball team is finding ways to win.

Ottawa is undefeated after eight games.

The Ottawa Legion A baseball team is finding ways to win.

Ottawa is undefeated after eight games.

Ottawa came through this weekend with a couple of close wins in the Jim Allen Memorial Wood Bat Tournament in Ottawa.

The Legion A squad beat Emporia, 12-6, on Friday. It was the third win of the season over Emporia.

Ottawa topped Rock Creek, 5-3, and edged the Kansas Senators, 8-7, in the Sunday games.

Saturday’s tourney games were rained out, so the Sunday games were five innings.

“You can’t get any better than undefeated,” Ottawa coach Brian Long said. “We have bigger things in mind. Every talk is about getting better.

“We are doing some good things. We are still rough. It is the first season of Legion ball for a lot of these fellas. We are battling.”

Ottawa battled for the Sunday wins. Ottawa scored five runs in the third inning against Rock Creek and none in the other four innings.

Ottawa built an 8-0 lead and was on the verge of run-ruling the Senators, but had to hold off the charging Topeka squad.

“We’ve won ugly,” Long said. “We played five innings and four of them were great [versus Topeka]. We left Brock [Huddlestun] in longer than I normally would. I wanted him to stretch out and see how far he could go.

“He did a great job. He ran out of gas. Trenton [Ferguson] sucked it up and came in and closed the door in both games. We don’t have a lot of depth of pitching.”

The Senators scored seven runs on two hits in the fourth inning. Ferguson got out of the jam and left the tying run at second base in the fifth inning. He also closed out the Rock Creek victory.

“You can’t take anything away from Topeka,” Long said. “These kids can play. They are a salty bunch.

“Trenton came in and shut the door on them. He had saved [some] in high school. We did not want to let that one get away.”

Ottawa has been inconsistent in the early part of the season.

“We need to have a complete game,” Long said. “That is the only thing we are missing. It has been up and down. We have these innings where we score five or six runs in an inning. We scored only in one inning [against Rock Creek]. It is not that consistent.”

Drew Bones was the winning pitcher against Rock Creek.

Long said it is nice to have leadership from Clayton Evans, who had two hits against Rock Creek and smashed a double in the first inning versus the Senators.

“He got us going,” Long said. “That kid [from Topeka] was bringing some cheddar up there.”

Long said this Ottawa group has a chance to do some good things.

“It is going to be a fun summer,” he said. “It has been exciting so far. I am looking forward to see how far we can run with these guys. We are 8-0 and have not played well.”

Ottawa plays 6 p.m. today at Garnett.

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