Friday, October 31, 2014

Short game creeps up on Ottawa Legion AA

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 6/25/2014

CHANUTE — Things unraveled in a blink of an eye. One minute, the Ottawa Legion AA squad was ahead 3-2, the next Ottawa was staring at a two-run deficit in its final at-bat.

The five-inning second games of doubleheaders in the KABA with wood bats were designed to speed up the night. It crept up on Ottawa too fast Tuesday in the second game at Chanute.

CHANUTE — Things unraveled in a blink of an eye. One minute, the Ottawa Legion AA squad was ahead 3-2, the next Ottawa was staring at a two-run deficit in its final at-bat.

The five-inning second games of doubleheaders in the KABA with wood bats were designed to speed up the night. It crept up on Ottawa too fast Tuesday in the second game at Chanute.

Chanute used a three-run fourth inning to knock off Ottawa, 5-3. Ottawa won the opener 8-0 in six innings.

“We were too laid back,” Ottawa first baseman Nathan Roth said about the nightcap. “We did not come out ready to hit.”

Second baseman Jamie Soderberg, who had two hits and three RBIs in the doubleheader, said Ottawa did not play up to its level in the second game.

“First game went well, but the second game, we did not get back into it,” Soderberg said. “The five-inning games go really quick.”

Mistakes hurt Ottawa in Chanute’s rally.

“We have been playing clean baseball,” Ottawa coach Shawn Herrmann said. “Error here and there did not hurt us. Today, the errors hurt us and that was the difference.

“They had a key hit, couple of free passes, a dropped third strike and misplayed bunt.”

The nightcap took a little more than a hour to play.

“We saw the score of the first game and laid back a little bit,” Herrmann said. “We had chances that we wasted. It goes fast. It was just like that.”

The other three games played Monday and Tuesday were good performances. Ottawa swept Silver Lake, 6-1 and 11-3, Monday in Silver Lake.

Ottawa (9-4) came through with good pitching performances and key two-out hits.

“We wanted to throw strikes and let the defense work,” Roth, who was the winning pitcher in the opener against Silver Lake, said. “Free passes kill us. That showed in the last game. At the plate, we were patient and got good pitches to hit and took advantage. It all starts on the mound. If he comes out aggressive and throwing strikes, then we will be the same in the field and at the plate.”

Connor Stepp tossed a one-hitter in the opener against Chanute.

“Connor threw well,” Herrmann said. “He had two walks and one hit. He had a little pop to it.”

Ottawa bats continued to stay hot from Monday. Ottawa finished with nine hits in the Chanute opener. Dayne Jung had two hits.

“We got big timely hits,” Herrmann said. “Been pleased with how we have ran the bases and the approach at the plate. We were patient. Tate [Jung] started hitting. He had good swings on it.”

Soderberg, who did not play last summer, is starting to get his hitting eye back.

“I felt good with the metal bat,” Soderberg said. “I had not played in a year. It is coming back. I can see them a lot better now that I have been playing for a month.”

Ottawa started to hit Silver Lake pitching in the fourth inning of the opener and it continued into the second game when Ottawa had nine hits.

“We did not score right away, but we hit the ball hard,” Herrmann said. “When you get two-out hits, you will win games. More than likely you will have somebody on base.”

Herrmann feels the players are beginning to come together as the season rolls into July.

“We are starting to know our roles,” Herrmann said. “Some guys are hard to take out of the lineup right now.

“It starting to show which guys are stepping up. We had some guys struggling and are starting to step up. It makes the decision harder to who is going to be in. That is a good thing.”

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