Good teams find ways to win even when not playing at top form.
That was the case Friday for the top-ranked Ottawa High School baseball team in its home opener against Spring Hill.
Ottawa swept the Broncos, 6-3 and 13-12 in eight innings.
Ottawa battled from behind in the nightcap, scoring four in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings and two in the eighth for the win.
“We did not play our best baseball,” Ottawa coach Shawn Herrmann said. “We had guys make key plays for us. We found a way to win.”
Those are the type of wins that can bring teams closer together and start forming a team’s DNA.
“It gave us confidence,” Herrmann said. “We had to overcome. We had role players step up a lot for us.
“That game brought us closer together.”
Senior Kaden Shaffer tossed a complete game in the opener. He had 85 pitches.
“He was in control the whole time,” Herrmann said.
The coach said the Ottawa pitchers have been challenging the hitters all season.
The second game saw Ottawa use some untested pitchers at this level and walks and hit batters hurt the Cyclones. Spring Hill jumped on top 7-2.
“The pitchers struggled a little bit,” Herrmann said.
Ottawa’s offense brought the Cyclones back.
“We started putting the ball in play,” Herrmann said. “They made a couple of mistakes that we took advantage of. We need more toughness. At times, we were passive.”
Ottawa senior Greyson LaPlant had a huge day with big hits in both games. He caught all 15 innings. Ottawa senior Jamie Soderberg came up with key hits in the nightcap to ignite Ottawa’s rallies.
Ottawa (4-0) plays 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at De Soto. Ottawa plays this weekend in the Frontier-Kaw Valley League Classic at the Johnson County 3&2 fields.
Ottawa plays 4:30 p.m. Friday against Mill Valley. Ottawa plays 10 a.m. Saturday versus Piper and closes out the round-robin affair at 12:30 p.m. against Lansing.