The inaugural season of collegiate summer baseball in Ottawa is coming to an end. Today’s game in Kansas City marks the third-to-last contest on the schedule for the River Bandits. Ottawa (3-23) plays 5:05 p.m. versus the Kansas City Knights (11-16) at the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy in Kansas City, Missouri. The team then wraps up its season with a 5:05 p.m. home contest Wednesday against the Baldwin City Blues (15-10) and 7 p.m. Thursday at Midwest A’s (18-7) in Belton, Missouri.
While the newest team to the Mid-Plains League will finish at the bottom of the standings, Ottawa has shown flashes of contention. Last Thursday the team had six honorees play in the MPL All-Star game — Lucas Dwyer, Jake Sanders, Jacob Pryor, Trenton Ferguson, Logan Wheelan and Tyler Henry. Sanders, Ottawa University outfielder, also participated in the MPL Home Run Derby.
One of several teams chasing a league title helped its cause by sweeping Ottawa coming out of the All-Star break. The Topeka Golden Giants (19-7) outscored the Bandits 30-5 through three games Friday and Saturday in Topeka to take first place in the MPL West Division standings as of Monday afternoon. Results from Monday’s evening games were not available at press time.
Nate Palcher, OU infielder, had the Bandits’ lone RBI in Friday’s early game. His score in the top of the second gave the team a 1-0 lead, but Topeka scored 11 unaswered runs to win in six innings.
Gabriel Lopez drove in a run in the top of the second in the nightcap, once again giving Ottawa a 1-0 head start. The Golden Giants bounced back with five runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to win 6-1 in seven innings. The Bandits tallied just three hits. The combination of Ferguson, Barton County Community College pitcher/outfielder, and Tate Jackson, McPherson College pitcher/outfielder, on the mound kept Topeka to just five hits. Ferguson tossed four innings with one strikeout, and Jackson threw two with one strikeout.
Saturday’s series finale saw a tight contest until Topeka opened the floodgates in the bottom of the seventh. Leading 5-3, the Golden Giants put up eight runs in the frame to run-rule Ottawa, 13-3. Wheelan, Ottawa University pitcher, tossed 6 1/3 innings, allowing five runs while striking out six. Kaleb Shaffer collected an RBI.