The season was hanging in the balance. Silver Lake jumped to a 2-0 lead on the Ottawa Legion squad Thursday in Zone 2 elimination game at Harvey M. Drake Field.
The rain was coming down. The conditions were not the best.
Ottawa needed a spark. It may have come from an unusual circumstance. Ottawa had tied the game at 2-2 when Isaac Carter was ruled out for leaving second base too early on a sacrifice fly.
Ottawa coach Shawn Herrmann argued the call and was thrown out.
From that moment, Ottawa picked up the intensity and controlled the game for a 10-2 victory.
“There was that sense of urgency,” Carter said. “The third or fourth inning, we knew we had to get it rolling. We stepped up the intensity. We had coach backing us up on that controversial play. That fired us up.”
Turner Roth said the tide turned on that play.
“We knew coach was behind us when he went out there willing to argue so early in the game,” Roth said. “We all know that happens. We couldn’t let that be the deciding factor. We all took advantage of opportunities.”
Post 60 turned up the heat on Silver Lake, scoring in every inning after the second frame.
“We got zoned in,” Carter said. “If we lose there is no more baseball period for a lot of us. It creates a sense of urgency with our backs against the wall. It brings out a little more fire.”
Starting pitcher Sam Carver worked out of bases loaded jam in the fourth. He left the game in the fifth with the bases loaded and two outs. Connor Stepp recorded the final out and took a lot of steam out of Silver Lake.
“It is tough to pitch throwing with a wet ball,” Carter said. “He fought through it.”
Turner said Carver came up big in key spots.
“It was exactly what we needed from him,” Roth said.
Nathan Roth spearheaded Ottawa’s big four-run fourth inning to take a 6-2 lead. He cracked an RBI double and later scored. Roth has struggled this summer with his bat.
“The entire summer we all knew what Nathan can do,” Turner Roth, his older brother, said. “He is rolling right now. He is bringing us along with him. We are trying to hop on board with him. We need his bat. He is big in the lineup.”
Carter said, “He is starting to hit the ball well. That was a clutch moment.”
Nathan Roth made a big defensive play in the fifth inning. He caught an errant throw and made a tag for the out at first base.
Carter said the younger Roth has been doing that throughout his career.
“That gave us 110 percent of the momentum,” Turner Roth said.
Ottawa put the game away with two runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Connor Stepp rifled a two-run double in the fifth.
“Connor Stepp is on a tear right now,” Carter said.
He pitched an 1 1/3 innings in relief of Carver for the save. The two combined for a four-hitter.
Ottawa (25-11) went into Friday needing two wins to force a second championship game at noon today. Ottawa had a rematch with Wellsville Friday with the winner facing Rock Creek, which had yet to lose in the tournament.