Ottawa struggled at the plate and made some key mistakes in a split with Paola in Ottawa. The Cyclones won the opener, 5-4, but fell in the nightcap, 4-3.
“It was not our best showing,” senior Taylor Graf said. “We were not the Ottawa team we normally are.”
There is no room for anymore letdowns as postseason looms. Ottawa (13-3) is the second seed in next week’s regional. Ottawa opens 5 p.m. Monday at home against Osawatomie (6-10). The winner advances to May 16 semifinals in Garnett.
“You can’t have another [performance] like today,” Ottawa coach Shawn Herrmann said. “The pressure is on us.”
Ottawa could not drive in runs. The Cyclones stranded 21 runners on base in the doubleheader. Ottawa had nine hits combined in the two games.
“We have a few days off before regionals to fix our swings,” Graf said. “We were popping up a lot, striking out a lot. We have time to regroup, collect ourself and forget this game.
“We were tight. It did not look natural. Everybody in the box was gripping the bat too hard. Trying to rip everything they got. That is the weirdness of baseball. It is the hardest game to manage because there is so much failure. You have to learn to accept that.”
“We had a couple of hard hit balls,” Herrmann said. “Everything else was lazy fly balls and weak ground balls. We never could get that hit. We did not put any pressure on them. That is our game.”
Herrmann felt the Cyclones sat back and did not play aggressive.
Ottawa did stay engaged through the doubleheader.
“It was good to salvage one win out of this,” Graf said. “It was good to scrap. We scrapped in the second game. We did not play well in either game.
“We can take some positive from it.”
Ottawa’s pitching continued to turn in top performances. Kaden Shaffer went the distance in the opener.
Isaac Carter tossed the first four innings and allowed three runs. Nathan Roth went the final three innings.
“Pitching really battled,” Graf said. “Our pitching has been there all season long. Our hitting has been there too, tonight it was a little slow. It will come around.”
If not, it will be a quick postseason.
“We have to score more than a couple of runs to win a game,” Herrmann said. “If we don’t it will be over. They have to cherish every at-bat, every pitch.
“It is time.”