Cyclones return to winning ways, sweep Tonganoxie

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

A week’s break gave the Ottawa High School softball team a chance to take a breath and regroup.

The Cyclones took full advantage of it and was eager to end its two-game skid. The results were favorable Tuesday in a sweep of Tongnoxie. Ottawa won 6-4 and 8-3.

“It was good to get back in the win column after a week off,” Ottawa coach Chris Rose said. “We are still working through some things offensively to get a better approach. We need to be playing our best ball and will have a test with a very good hitting team Thursday in Paola.

“We are looking to get back at being the aggressor whether it is at the plate, in the circle, or in the dugout with good energy. Hopefully we can get it all put together down this stretch run. We haven’t hit on all cylinders for a few weeks and if we do, I know we will be very dangerous in the last few weeks.”

Ottawa improved to 12-4 with the victories. Ottawa has four games remaining in the regular season before postseason.

The Cyclones got off to a good start against Tonganoxie. Ottawa led 2-0 after one and extended the lead to 5-0 in the second. Riley Titus ripped a double and a single by Lauren Curtis got Ottawa rolling.

The second inning uprising was keyed by an RBI single from Titus and Emma Stottlemire’s RBI double.

“After the second inning, our bats went quiet,” Rose said. “They did make a pitching change that got us a little unsettled in the box, but we did not do a good job of executing and getting timely hitting and we ended up leaving seven on base for the game.”

Ottawa ace Alex Powell struggled a bit with her control, which allowed Tonganoxie to keep the pressure on Ottawa.

“Alex didn’t have her best performance and worked behind hitters at times, but was able to get out of some jams,” Rose said. “It seemed like eventually if we kept putting ourselves in jams they would make us pay and they did in the fifth with a four-run inning helped by a three-run home run.”

Powell avenged that inning as she smashed her eighth home run of the season in the seventh inning to give Ottawa a cushion.

Tonganoxie did not go down quietly though.

“Alex got out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the seventh to close it out,” Rose said. “It was really good to see our girls fight to get a win and we found a way.”

Ottawa took charge of the nightcap early and never let Tonganoxie back in the game. Ottawa led 7-0 after four innings.

“We were able to move runners and get some girls to step up with big hits,” Rose said. “We were aggressive on the bases, which helped us score some crucial runs.”

Stottlemire stifled the Tongy attack and had good command of her pitches.

“She finished with a gritty complete game and gave up only two earned runs,” Rose said.

Stottlemire ripped an RBI triple to score Kirsten Evans, who doubled to lead-off the game. Titus followed with an RBI single.

Brooklyn Hadl gave us a big spark on the bases by going first to third on a bunt and scoring on a wild pitch to help us scratch a run in the second, Rose said.

“We were able to string some hits together and pressure their defense and put up four runs in the fourth to push us to a 7-0 lead,” Rose said. “Tonganoxie did a good job of using multiple pitchers to keep us off-balanced but we found a way tonight even when we are still slumping at the plate some.”

Curtis rocked a solo home run to give Ottawa an 8-2 lead in the seventh inning.

Game 1 Stat Leaders:

Emma Stottlemire: 1-3, 2B RBI.

Riley Titus: 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI.

Alex Powel: 2-4, HR.

Maddison Soman: 2-4.

Game 2 stat leaders:

Kirsten Evans: 2-4, 2 2B.

Emma Stottlemire: 3-4, 3B, 2 RBI.

Lauren Curtis: 1-4, HR, 1 RBI.

Madison Soman: 2-3.