Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ottawa bats awaken in victories

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 6/28/2013

The Ottawa American Legion baseball team has struggled being consistent with the bats all summer.

Ottawa has shown the potential to be a high-scoring team, but also have been shut down. The bats are on fire right now.

The Ottawa American Legion baseball team has struggled being consistent with the bats all summer.

Ottawa has shown the potential to be a high-scoring team, but also have been shut down. The bats are on fire right now.

Ottawa scored in double figures the past three games and hit the ball hard all over the field. Ottawa found Garnett’s pitching to its liking in Tuesday’s doubleheader sweep in Ottawa at the West diamond.

Ottawa won 14-9 and 12-0 in four innings. Ottawa pounded 25 hits in the doubleheader.

“We started swinging more aggressive,” infielder/outfielder Dakota Schmoe, who had four hits in the sweep, said.

Ottawa was helped by getting a few pop flies to drop in front of the Garnett outfielders. It opened the gates for big innings.

“We have not had any bloop hits all year,” Ottawa coach Shawn Herrmann said. “We got a few bloop hits and followed by the hard-hit balls. When you have hard-hit balls and guys are on base, it makes a big difference. We were due for some to fall in for us.”

Ottawa began to hit with power in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Wichita. Ottawa scored a 12-2 win in the nightcap, highlighted by three home runs and a triple.

“We have been practicing a little more,” Herrmann said. “We are getting the swings back to where they should be.”

Schmoe gave Ottawa a big shot in the arm with his bat. He hit a home run and a triple against Wichita and followed that up with another stellar performance against Garnett.

“He has been seeing the ball really well,” Herrmann said of Schmoe. “When he is on base that is huge. He can steal any base. A single is a double.

“He is putting the ball in play. He is hitting it pretty square. He has always been a good defensive player for us.”

Schmoe, who struggled with the bat during the spring high school season, said it feels good right now.

“I am breaking out,” he said.

Schmoe has been hitting off a tee and getting his timing down.

Ottawa needed the bats to keep pace with Garnett in the first game, which turned into a slugfest. Both teams had 13 hits. Garnett led 7-3 after the first two innings.

Jordan Morton then slammed the door on the Muddogs. In 5 1/3 innings of relief, he gave up two runs, which came in the seventh inning.

“They were swinging the bats,” Herrmann said of the Muddogs, who have lost six straight games. “They were putting the ball in play. We had to throw a good pitcher out there to stop them. There were not many hard-hit balls after that. That was a big difference.

“They have been playing good baseball. They played good teams [this weekend] and lost by one run.”

Sam Carver (4-0) tossed a four-inning two-hitter in the nightcap.

Ottawa broke open the nightcap with 11 runs on nine hits in the third inning. Bryce Elder ripped a grand slam home run. Turner Roth rocked a three-run home run to center. It was his second home run in three games.

“Our older players are playing well,” Herrmann said referring to Roth and Isaac Carter, who had four RBIs in the opener. “I appreciate the guys being unselfish. It puts me in a hard spot with 16 guys.”

Herrmann said the players are willing to share playing time.

“It helps me out a lot,” he said. “We have to be positive. We have to find our niche.”

Ottawa (12-5, 4-2) played a doubleheader Wednesday against Louisburg and plays 11 a.m. Saturday at Ottawa University versus Osawatomie.

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