OHS baseball players represent Kansas in all-star games
Athletes who are striving to grow like to be challenged. They want to see how they measure up in competition.
Three Ottawa High School baseball players had an opportunity to be challenged and measured by playing in an all-star setting. The Cyclones played for the Kansas Red Team in the High Plains Series in Enid, Oklahoma. The event matched prep all-star baseball teams from Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The six teams played a five-game round-robin tournament in three days.
Ottawa seniors Chase Bloomer and Austin Nitcher along with junior Jake Titus played on the Red Team. Cyclone coach Shawn Herrmann was a coach for the Red Team.
“It was a good experience,” Herrmann said. “Everybody could play.”
Herrmann said the Ottawa players had a good time playing against some of the top players from Oklahoma and Texas and with top-notch players from Kansas.
“We got to play with other players they did not know,” Herrmann said. “We had them from everywhere in the state of Kansas.
For me, it was a really cool experience. Coaching an All-Star team before was just one game. This was five games over a three-day period. I was able to get to know the kids and hang out. It was a relaxing time.
“These were some of the top kids. They all played hard. They all had really good arms and nice swings.”
The Ottawa players met the challenge of competing at a high level, the Cyclone coach said.
“Our three baseball players played better or right even with top schools,” he said. “These three guys showed they can compete at any level. It shows we have good baseball players.”
Titus pitched the first game of the tournament for his only appearance, while Bloomer and Nitcher played in all five games, which was attended by several college baseball coaches.
Herrmann said the message to the Kansas players was to show off their talents.
“We talked before we started that a lot of people think we are from Kansas and we can’t play,” Herrmann said. “We only play 20 games in a high school season, while other places play 50 or 60 games.
“We said, ‘lay it on the line. If you can steal, steal. If you can hit home runs, hit home runs. Do what got you here.’”
Herrmann said the Cyclones played confidently against those Oklahoma and Texas stars.
“They looked so comfortable,” Herrmann said. “Most of these kids are travel ball kids and play in Oklahoma City and other places. They see this [level] and know they had to bring it. I did not see a bad pitcher. Texas had kids that were throwing 87, 88, 89 [miles per hour]. There was some really good pitching. There was no letdown.
Herrmann cited one example of how well the Ottawa players played.
“We faced a pitcher from Oklahoma who committed to Oklahoma,” he said. “He was 6-6 lefty and was throwing 88 to 90. The second pitch of the game, Chase Bloomer smoked a double off of him. They were calm and relaxed. That is the mentality they have. They have faced good pitching.”
The prospect of having those three back along with several other returners has Herrmann excited for the spring high school season.
“I have really high expectations for next spring,” Herrmann said. “We have a lot of good [players] coming back. We had a guy hurt that could not play last year. There are a couple of kids on the Legion team playing different positions that can help us.
“We are pretty deep from our junior varsity to our varsity. We have a lot of kids fighting for spots. I know of a lot of younger kids that are working hard right now. They want to play varsity baseball.”