OHS softball team learning how to win

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

The Ottawa High School softball team is figuring out how to win games.

The young Cyclones started the week at 2-2 and exited with four straight wins, all coming in different fashions.

Ottawa went toe-to-toe with a high-octane Piper squad Thursday at Orlis Cox and came out with a sweep. Ottawa won 7-1 and 10-8.

Ottawa senior shortstop Lauren Curtis slides safely into third base under the tag Thursday in the sweep of Piper.

“We knew we were capable of this,” Ottawa coach Chris Rose said. “We have not put all the pieces together. We talked about going into [Thursday] making a statement. These are our statement wins. Let everyone know we are here. The girls bought into it. They executed the game plan. We knew Piper was a good team. They hit the heck out of the ball. We were pretty hungry.”

Rose said playing at a growing consistent level is something he preaches to the players.

Ottawa juniors Kirsten Evans and Alex Powell celebrate after Evans scored a run during the opener against Piper.

“When you play good teams, you have to win all three phases — you have to pitch, hit and field,” he said. “We did it in both games. We played well in all three phases. Those were two big wins.”

The Ottawa bats were silent early, but broke out in the fifth inning of the opener and remained hot throughout the second game.

Ottawa plated five runs in the fifth inning and two in the sixth in the opener.

“We stayed the course,” Rose said. “We struggled in the first four innings. I took all the bats off the racks and threw them on the [ground]. We had to wake them up. They responded. The energy was great.”

Ottawa put pressure on the Piper pitchers and defense.

“We scored runners with two outs,” Rose said. “We went station-to-station when we needed to. We hit the ball in the gaps when we needed to. Kirsten [Evans] had a great night in the second game with a home run and a triple.”

Pitchers Alex Powell and Emma Stottlemire kept the Piper bats quiet until late in the second game. Ottawa built a 9-1 lead in the nightcap.

“Alex pitched great in game one,” Rose said. “That is the best she pitched. She threw 99 pitches the 67 of them were strikes.

Emma pitched really good. We knew after they had seen her a couple of times, we would have to make a change. I wanted her to finish. She got out of some big jams. She has really grown.”

Piper got within two runs in the seventh inning when Powell shut the door.

“It got a little sketchy there, but we knew they would make a run because they are a good-hitting team,” Rose said. “It was a great to show a little fight at the end. Softball games are seven innings. Anything can happen.

“We have seen what they were made of. This was big because they grinded and found ways to win. We have a long ways to go still. We have things to accomplish. We are not even close yet.”