Hustle plays snap Arrows out of skid

Greg Mast
Ottawa Arrows catcher Liam Robertson tags out a Topeka runner attempting to score a run Monday at Harvey M. Drake Field. Ottawa split the doubleheader. [PHOTO BY GREG MAST/THE OTTAWA HERALD].

The Ottawa Arrows needed a different mental approach.

Ottawa was mired in a five-game losing streak after falling to Topeka, 8-4, Monday in the first game of a doubleheader at Harvey M. Drake field.

The coaches preached hustle all over the field. It appeared to inspire the team. The Arrows played one of their top games of the season in the nightcap.

Ottawa rolled to a 9-1 run-rule victory in five innings over the Senators to snap the five-game slide.

“Hustle has been one of the key messages for us,” Ottawa assistant coach Jordan Miller said. “Hustling is always a mental thing. We are a better baseball team than a lot of teams we play. It is not because we are more talented, it is because we outwork them. When we do, that is what happens.

“We had a lot more hustle. It is a lot easier and a lot more fun that way. That is how Ottawa baseball has been for a long time. We have never been the most glamorous team. We hustle and beat people. We wear them out.”

A prime example of the hustling plays when Cole Swanson walked and hustled to first base. The ball got away from the catcher and he ended up on second base.

“We had guys sprint out of the box,” Miller said. “Cole took two bags on a walk. When you put pressure on teams that is what happens. It is doing the little things right.”

The Ottawa pitching was stellar in the victory. Swanson and Ayden Alterman combined on a five-inning no-hitter.

“Pitching was good, hitting was good and we ran the bases well,” Miller said. That game was our most complete game all year. I hope that starts us up for a run here.”

Ottawa batters came up with key hits in run-producing situations in the nightcap.

“Much better approaches at the plate the second game,” Miller said. “One of the things we have been struggling with is we are striking out a lot. Guys adjusted their approach in this game.

“That is one of the things we have been working on. Not just going up there and just hitting, going up there thinking about what you need to do and doing a job. We saw several two-strike hits. A lot more putting the ball in play and putting pressure on them. Striking out does not put pressure on anybody.”

Ottawa (7-12) plays 6 p.m. Wednesday at Iola.

Ottawa Arrows first baseman Ryan Laurie stretches to snag a throw and nip a Topeka runner at first base. [PHOTO BY GREG MAST/THE OTTAWA HERALD].