TOPEKA — An early lead wasn’t enough to keep Ottawa alive. The American Legion Post 60 Arrows baseball team dropped both games in its Zone Tournament over the weekend hosted at McDonald Field in Topeka. A 5-4 loss Sunday to Leavenworth in an elimination game ended the season for the three-time defending state champs.
Wayne Laurie got things started for the Arrows with an RBI grounder in the top of the second inning. Teammate Tanner Gould scored from third on a double steal and Ottawa led 2-0.
Arrows pitcher Wyatt Johnston got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the bottom of the frame with a lineout, strikeout and groundout. He went on to pitch all six innings.
“Wyatt has pitched well for us,” Lance Fuller Jr., Arrows head coach, said. “He’s only started for us four or five times, but he’s done really well. He’s a kid who throws a lot of strikes and has some good out pitches. It was nice considering I don’t think he’s thrown a lot over the past few years, so when we realized he was able to throw, we threw him in there and he did well for us.”
In the top of the fourth, Ottawa pushed its lead to 3-1 on a two-out, RBI double by Kaden Castleberry that scored Gould.
Leavenworth got the run back in the bottom of the fourth, and took a 5-3 lead with three runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Ottawa’s Michael Hull drove an RBI double to right-center in the top of the sixth that scored Gould for the third time in the ballgame. That run cut the deficit to 5-4 and put Hull in scoring position with one out. Back-to-back strikeouts by Laurie and Castleberry ended the inning.
Ottawa was down to its final three outs in the top of the seventh, but failed to get a baserunner when Owen LaMar, Jose Richards and Brady Beets went down in order.
“I think we had several opportunities where we had chances to put another run across and we just didn’t execute,” Fuller Jr. said. “There were way too many strikeouts on our end and a lot of them were third-strike looking. I’ve preached that you can’t do that. We have to put the ball in play, especially when you have runners on in scoring position, so it came down to execution.”
The loss came after Ottawa dropped its tournament opener to Topeka 11-3 Saturday. The Arrows did not record a hit.
Despite a rough first season as head coach, Fuller Jr. said he was proud of his kids for fighting through adversity.
“You can’t say that any of our guys quit, so that was nice to see,” he said. “We worked with what we had and there were a couple guys who I feel like stepped up.”