The Arrows wanted the top spot, and they got it.
With a doubleheader sweep Tuesday against Silver Lake at Orlis Cox Sports Complex, 901 W. Second St., Ottawa, the Post 60 Arrows are the top seed in the upcoming AAA Zone Tournament in Chanute. Ottawa (29-8) is set to play 3 p.m. Saturday at Katy Park in Chanute against the winner of the first round Neosho County vs. SEK Carter-Rader game. Chanute and Pittsburg are the other two teams in the tournament.
“[The sweep] should give [our team] confidence,” Brian Long, Arrows head coach, said. “It should give us the idea that we can take care of business, play our brand of baseball, stay in the game and do the things we are capable of doing. We are pretty good talent-wise, but the minute we let off the gas pedal, we are very average too.”
vs. Silver Lake
Tuesday’s home wins marked the first doubleheader sweep for Ottawa since June 27 when they won back-to-back on the road against Silver Lake. The Arrows prevailed 9-0 and 7-4 to finish the regular season 21 games above .500.
Long saw the matchup as anything but “regular.”
“This was the postseason,” he said. “We were playing for something. That’s one of the things that we haven’t been playing for the last couple weeks. It’s a situation where I think we were able to have something that impacted what we do the rest of this season. We had to sweep them to get the No. 1 seed. Anything less than a sweep, we would have fallen to the two seed. We want the top spot, we want the top target, and I felt like we came out and dictated the zone with that.”
Ottawa struck early and often in Game 1. Dalton Rankin, Arrows shortstop, slapped a two-run home run that scored Trenton Ferguson, pitcher, in the bottom of the first inning. It was one of four dingers the team hit on the night.
“We moved him up into the four-hole [against Silver Lake],” Long said. “We haven’t been as consistent in the three-four spot as we’d like to be.
“The thing about home runs is, they are great, and Dalton’s ball was on a line. He’s been hitting line drives, and that is what we need. We don’t need people sitting back, trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark and dropping their back shoulder. Dalton’s ball was gone, and I told him that’s a ball that is going to carry us. If it doesn’t go out of the park, it’s going to be a double, and that is the kind of swing that we need to put on all of the pitches.”
Owen Lamar, Arrows infielder, got things started in the bottom of the third with an RBI single to score Ferguson. Brock Huddlestun, pitcher/infielder, followed that up by reaching on a squeeze bunt that scored Rankin from third. Merrick Brown, catcher, picked up an RBI on a groundout to score Lamar, and Ottawa led 5-0 after three.
A sac fly to right field by Donovan Sutti, infielder, in the fourth, followed by a two-RBI hit by Lamar put Ottawa up 8-0 after four. Huddlestun capped off the scoring with an RBI double.
Ferguson kept his pitching record spotless after allowing just two hits over five scoreless innings. He struck out eight and walked one.
Game 2 featured a little more drama, but the Arrows remained composed.
Sutti belted a two-out solo shot to center in the bottom of the first inning, and Ferguson followed up with a solo homer of his own in the bottom of the third to give Ottawa a 2-0 lead.
The Eagles responded with two runs in the fourth, but Ottawa regained the lead with four unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth.
“We were able to get enough going even when they were able to tie it up,” Long said. “We stayed composed, and put some runs back on the board right away, and seized the momentum right back.”
After Silver Lake got two runs back in the top of the sixth, Ferguson launched another solo shot to left-center in the bottom half of the frame to give his team insurance.
With Ottawa up 7-4, Jonny Nash came on to pitch the final half inning, and ran into a two-out, two-on jam with the tying run at the play. He struck out Silver Lake’s Justin Keller looking for the final out.
With four homers hit Tuesday, Ottawa now has 17 as a team on the season. Ferguson’s two gives him the team lead with six, with Sutti right behind with five.
“It was a good wind-blowing-out day, and we hit some long balls to key our offense and get us started,” Long said. “It was a good way to win a couple of games, but it wasn’t like we were clicking on all cylinders either. We’ve got some opportunities to get some things corrected today and Friday in practice, and then get ready to go on Saturday.”