Arrows starting to round into form

Greg Mast
Ottawa Arrows pitcher Brett Had throws out a Garnett runner at second base after fielding a bunt Friday in Ottawa's 15-0 victory. [PHOTO BY GREG MAST/THE OTTAWA HERALD].

The Ottawa Arrows coaches knew the level of baseball would be rough around the edges for the first couple of weeks.

The players were coming off an extended break with the spring high school season canceled, plus the Arrows had several new players from different towns.

The Arrows appear to be turning the corner after this past week. The Ottawa American Legion baseball team won two of three games. Ottawa dominated Garnett, 15-0, in four innings Friday at Harvey M. Drake field.

The Arrows were coming off a split against Emporia, defeating the defending state champs in extra innings.

Ottawa had all facets working against Garnett.

“It was our most complete game this year from start to finish,” Arrows pitching coach Nathan Roth said. “We played good defense, had good pitching and hit the ball well. We looked pretty good. It was good to see.”

Ottawa (3-4) received a confidence boost with the come-from-behind win over Emporia.

“We have played some tough teams to begin the season,” Roth said. “Four of the first six games were against the defending champs.”

Roth said the players are now starting to find their groove again after the long break, but more important are playing together.

“We are getting comfortable playing together,” he said. “When you have [players] from different towns, it can take a little bit to get there.”

Roth said the players came out early Friday for batting practice on the field and then had a little down time for them to interact with each other to build team chemistry.

The early hitting practice paid dividends as Ottawa started to find its hitter’s eye. The Arrows ripped 12 hits against Garnett. Ottawa smacked 14 hits in the win over Emporia.

“They are getting comfortable being back in the box,” Roth said. “At times, earlier in the season, we seemed timid at the plate. We went up there hunting our pitches. We did not miss most of the time.”

Antonio Espinosa led the offensive attack with a double and home run. He had four RBIs and scored twice. Jose Richards smacked a couple of triples.

“It was all the way through the order,” Roth said. “We had guys coming off the bench and squaring it up.”

Brett Hadl and Quinton Carver had everything working on the mound.

“Brett, you can’t ask for anything more in the first two innings,” Roth said. “Quinton had nice third inning. He got the first outs in the fourth and struggled a little bit. He reeled it in. We were able to limit the damage.”

Roth said the pitching should also round into form as guys get more innings.

“We have a lot of guys that can pitch,” he said. “It is tough to get everybody in a rhythm. We were able to do that with a couple of guys.”

Roth feels the Arrows are just starting to scratch the surface.

“Every game is a stepping stone to the next one,” he said. “It is all building toward the end of the season. We are headed in the right direction.”

Ottawa plays 6 p.m. Wednesday at Newton and this weekend in the Pittsburg tournament.

Ottawa's Antonio Espinosa slideS head first into third base. He scored on the throwing. [PHOTO BY GREG MAST/THE OTTAWA HERALD].