Thursday, October 30, 2014

Legion AA displays toughness in KABA

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 7/14/2014

HUMBOLDT — The Ottawa Legion AA baseball team showed its makeup with its determination throughout the KABA Tournament this past weekend in Humboldt.

Three of the five games came down to the final at-bat and two went to extra frames.

HUMBOLDT — The Ottawa Legion AA baseball team showed its makeup with its determination throughout the KABA Tournament this past weekend in Humboldt.

Three of the five games came down to the final at-bat and two went to extra frames.

“Our team fought really hard,” outfielder Jordan Morton said. “We put our best effort into it.”

Ottawa went 3-2 in the tournament, but the two losses came in eight innings to Fort Scott, 6-5, and 5-3 to Iola in the championship game.

“We came together as a team,” Ottawa coach Shawn Herrmann said. “A lot of guys stepped up. It was 100 percent effort. We gave it everything we had.

“Look at how we lost. It took two good teams everything they had to beat us. We represented our team like we have in my 15 years of coaching. We played hard baseball.”

After the loss to Fort Scott, Ottawa stayed alive with a 3-2 victory over Chanute. Ottawa scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for the victory.

Ottawa then topped Wellsville, 7-0, and defeated Fort Scott in a rematch, 9-5, to reach the championship game.

Iola smacked a two-run walk-off home run in the eighth inning to down Ottawa.

“It was tough,” Morton said. “We came up short. We are playing the best baseball we have played all year. We fought till the end. We are coming together. People are getting hot at the right time. We are figuring stuff out.”

Ottawa’s offense came alive producing timely hits. The pitching staff showed its depth with Nathan Roth, Morton, Medlen, Hayden Yancey, Connor Stepp and Alex Stepp taking the hill.

“We proved our pitching depth,” Roth said. “I don’t know if anybody else has that. Conner threw a shutout. Alex threw really well. Connor was the fireman.”

Pitching is always a key thing in tournaments, especially when a team comes through the loser’s bracket.

“Tournaments like this you have to have everybody step up and pitch,” Morton said.

Herrmann said, “Our pitchers matched them. We matched pitch for pitch ... play for play. We were right there with them. Conner Medlen was awesome. That is what we need. We need guys to mix and match. The guys are getting hot with the bats. Hitting cures a lot. We are playing good defense. That gives our pitchers confidence. Jordan tracking everything down in the outfield.

“This is to see what you are made of.”

Morton said the Ottawa’s chances in the postseason look good.

“If we keep playing like this, we are looking good for Zone,” he said. “That is what matters.”

Herrmann said Ottawa appears ready for the challenge.

“Teams are going to battle,” he said. “We proved we can battle.”

Ottawa (21-10) plays 4 p.m. Wednesday in Leavenworth to close out the regular season.

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