The squad does not have any stars or secret ingredient. What Ottawa does have is depth all across the board.
Ottawa displayed that in Wednesday’s 10-2 win over Baldwin in Baldwin City. It was a single nine-inning game with free substitution throughout.
“We are still trying to match the pieces and figure out some lineups ... figure out positions,” Ottawa coach Shawn Herrmann said. “It was free substitution. I was going to take advantage of it.”
Ottawa used five pitchers and they combined for no walks and 11 strikeouts.
“Our pitchers threw really well,” Herrmann said. “We mixed and matched our pitching. Some of them have not pitched for awhile. The whole point was to get into game situations. I was pretty impressed.”
Ottawa was flawless defensively, despite moving players around the diamond. Ottawa used three first basemen, two shortstops, two second basemen, three at third and catcher.
“We had a good day defensively,” second baseman Connor Stepp said. “A lot of guys are contributing. We enjoy playing with each other.
Which makes opponents have to pitch to everyone.
Ottawa pounded 11 hits — all singles — by nine different batters. Evan Moore and Dakota Schmoe led the way with two hits each.
“We have to kick and scratch for runs and wins,” Herrmann said. “I saw some pretty good at-bats. Pitchers threw strikes.”
Stepp said the players are beginning to click together.
“We are getting to know each other,” he said. “We are feeding off each other.”
Ottawa (9-4) has yet to get into a playing rhythm yet with the breaks in the schedule. Ottawa was coming off a six-day break between games.
“It is tough to pick up where we left off,” Stepp, who had a hit and two RBIs, said. “We did pretty well for not playing for a few days.”
The coach and players liked playing the longer game and different set of rules.
“It was different with it being a nine-inning game,” Stepp said. “That was fun. It was nice to get everybody in.”
Herrmann said the reason behind the scheduling of the game was to get everybody playing time.
“That is what we needed,” he said.
Nathan Roth tossed the first three innings, giving up three hits and a run. Sam Carver went two frames, giving up a hit.
Alex Stepp pitched the sixth and seventh innings. He had four strikeouts. Jordan Morton had two strikeouts in the eighth. Turner Roth had two strikeouts in the ninth.
Ottawa plated three runs in the second inning on three hits. Baldwin scored single runs in the third and fourth inning to pull within 3-2.
Ottawa opened it up with three runs on just one hit in the sixth and four runs on four hits in the seventh.
Ottawa plays 11 a.m. today at Ottawa University against the Wichita Aces. Ottawa nipped the Aces, 5-4, earlier this season in Emporia.