Arrows pitching carries load in early season

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

Pitching and defense has worked hand-in-hand early in the season for the Ottawa Arrows.

The Ottawa pitching staff — which is at least 10 deep — has been lights out. The pitchers have kept Ottawa in nearly every game through the first two weeks.

Tyler Sage made his Arrows pitching debut this week with two strong innings against Iola in the 3-2 win.

Arrows coach Kyle Altic said it is good to have a lot of pitchers with the limited pitch counts and schedule. Ottawa could play up to 15 games through the first two weeks.

“Obviously with this many games you have to have a lot of pitchers,” Altic said. “It is good to say, ‘hey go out there and throw strikes,’ and know they are going to.”

Ottawa Arrows Lane Altic is the leader of the pitching staff.

Altic has mixed-and-matched pitchers all season, using as many as five hurlers in a game.

“We have a bunch of people that can throw,” first baseman/outfielder Ryan Laurie said. “They want to get outs.”

Many of the hurlers are settling into their roles. Lane Altic is the ace and has pitched like it early in the season.

“Lane is amazing,” Laurie said.

Shortstop Brady Beets, who has played with Altic for more than a decade, said he always in control on the mound.

“Nothing ever bothers him,” Beets said. “He is always been a strong pitcher. It is easy to play behind him. It is good to have that kind of guy.”

Brett Hadl, Konnor Kiefer and Wyatt Sink have given Ottawa solid starts this season. Ayden Alterman, Quinton Carver, Alden Michael,  and Tyler Sage have had good results out of the bullpen.

Carson Hein has settled in as the closer.

“It is always good to have somebody on the back end you can bring in and be a shut down pitcher,” Altic said. “

A key to the success has been throwing strikes. Altic said walks have hurt in a couple of games.

“You can’t do anything with walks,” Laurie said. “We know they will throw strikes. They get results.”

Beets said it is easier to play defense when the pitchers throw strikes. Ottawa’s defense has made the routine and some really nice plays this season.

“We are out there ready to make plays for them,” Laurie said.

Ottawa’s lack of hitting led to the pitchers being in low-scoring battles. They have come through in tough situations so far.

“Part of being a good pitcher is coming through in the clutch,” Altic said.

Altic said once the hitting is consistent, Ottawa can be a really dangerous team.

“As long as we get that going, we will be set,” he said. “The hitting will come around. “Hitting is hard.”

Upcoming schedule

Saturday: Scrappers at Emporia, 2:30 p.m.

Sunday: TBD at Emporia

Tuesday: at Pittsburg, 6-8 p.m.

Thursday: at Newton, 5-7 p.m.

Friday-Saturday: Emporia Triangular

Sunday: Iola