The seventh and eight time are the charm.
With a sweep of the Topeka Senators in Thursday’s doubleheader, the Ottawa Post 60 American Legion Arrows took three of four games during their homestand. It was the seventh and eight times this season the two teams have faced each other, Topeka winning all of the previous matchups. Ottawa split with Oskaloosa at home the previous night.
“I challenged the guys to dig deep and find a way,” Lance Fuller Jr., Arrows head coach, said of his pre-game talk to his team before taking on the Senators at Orlis Cox Sports Complex, 901 W. Second St., Ottawa. The team was coming off an up-and-down performance the previous night, run-ruling the Oskaloosa River Bandits 10-0 in Game 1, but stumbling in Game 2, 7-3.
Aiden Michel pitched a no-hitter in the opener against the Bandits, striking out two and walking one through five innings. Owen LaMar finished with four RBIs, including the game-ending, bases-clearing single in the bottom of the fifth. Colson Bien had two RBIs and Spencer Mayes hit an RBI single in the fourth.
The nighcap was a battle with LaMar hitting an RBI groundout in the bottom of the first to score Brody Mundell from third. Ottawa didn’t score again until the fourth inning when Micel struck out on a 3-2 ball, but reached on a dropped ball by the catcher. On the attempted throw to first, LaMar scored from third to cut the Oskaloosa lead to 3-2. Michael Hull tied things up on a two-out, RBI double to left field.
After giving up two early runs, Bien settled down to collect five outs on eight pitches between the fourth and fifth innings. He had a five-pitch top of the fourth.
That would not be enough, however, to stave off a four-run top of the seventh by Oskaloosa to pull ahead for the eventual win. Ottawa’s bats went silent after the fourth inning.
Ottawa took Fuller’s challenge and turned into two run-rule wins against a team that had its number all season. Wyatt Johnston started things off in Game 1 with a two-RBI double for an early lead in the first. The Arrows scored eight runs in the bottom of the third, spurred by a two-RBI triple by Trenton Worley and a two-run homer by Cameron Reynolds.
“I don’t get too excited as a coach when I see a ball hit, but with him — having him last year on the JV high school team — he was, to me last year wating to unleash,” Fuller said of Reynolds. “He and Owen LaMar come up with timely hits and you can count on them to put a good swing on the ball.”
Worley put another good swing on the ball in the fourth, ending the game at 13-3 with his second two-RBI triple.
Mundell pitched 3 2/3 innings of one-run ball before being removed after taking a line-drive to the chin. He felt fine and should be ready to play Monday, Fuller said after the game.
Ottawa got another stellar pitching and defensive performance in Game 2, shutting out the Senators 10-0. Johnston picked up the win on the mound for the Arrows.
Ottawa has now won five of its last six games and takes a 5-9 record into Monday’s road doublheader at Newton. Game 1 is set to start 6 p.m.
“I’m looking for some different scenery,” Fuller said. “To a degree, we are coming together. We are showing some bright spots. Taking three of four is nice. Lets go get two more.”