OSAWATOMIE — The Ottawa American Legion baseball team has a flair for the dramatic in 2013. Ottawa has been in several tight games throughout the summer.
Ottawa made late rallies to either come close or win games. Post 60 added another chapter to the late-inning drama Sunday in the championship game of the Kansas Amateur Baseball Association Tournament in Osawatomie.
Ottawa scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to nip Fort Scott, 7-6. Ottawa trailed 5-1 after three innings.
“We have been in a lot of tight games,” outfielder Evan Moore said. “We have had a lot of clutch hits. That is what we are going to have to have come postseason. There is going to be a lot of close games.
“We are coming together at the right time.”
Ottawa is showing a lot of toughness and fight. Ottawa rallied in the final inning last week for a win over Chanute.
Ottawa coach Shawn Herrmann likes that attitude.
“It is a real good thing,” Herrmann said. “At the beginning of the year, we did not [have that]. We were kind of coasting. Right now, we don’t want to lose. You can tell the difference.
“We have lows. It is how you react to those lows. We did not overly react.”
Moore said the Ottawa players understand how to win close games.
“We have been around good baseball ... we know it is not over,” Moore said. “We prepare ourselves throughout the year on who we play. It pays off in tournaments like this.
“We did not panic.”
Ottawa played textbook baseball in rallying for the win. Ottawa laid down good bunts, ran the bases hard, patient at the plate, made big pitches and the defense came up with all the plays.
“Everyone was doing their job,” Herrmann said. “I like our confidence. They know what it takes to win now. Ever since Salina [in early July], we have been a different team.
“We are not home run hitters. When we put the ball in play and hit line drives, we can score any time we want. We did that the whole weekend. We put pressure on teams instead of hitting lazy pop flies.”
Nathan Roth went the distance on the hill in the title game. Herrmann said he battled and did not let anything bother him.
Moore said Roth got stronger as the game progressed.
“He kept his composure,” Moore said. “He kept throwing. His curveball started breaking more. He started locating his fastball better.”
Ottawa’s bats were on fire. Ottawa cracked 12 hits against Fort Scott and 13 in the 13-6 win over Wellsville.
Ottawa had eight hits in the 7-0 win Saturday over Burlington.
Ottawa received hits from top to bottom. Connor Stepp had five hits at the top of the lineup in Sunday’s games.
Ottawa had seven hits combined from Dakota Schmoe, Sam Carver and Bryce Elder in the title game.
“I don’t feel we have a weak part of our lineup,” Moore said. “I led off three or four times. You have to get on some how and move them over.”
Moore started the seventh inning rally with a walk. Hayden Yancey ended it with a two-out RBI single.
“It takes a lot of pressure off the other hitters,” Moore said when the leadoff hitter reaches base in any inning.
Ottawa (23-9) ends the regular season 6 p.m. Wednesday in a single nine-inning game against Emporia at Emporia State University’s field at Trusler Sports Complex.