OHS softball's signature win came in walk-off fashion
The Ottawa High School softball team was needing a signature win to show the Cyclones have arrived.
It came on the final day of the regular season in dramatic fashion. The Cyclones rallied from a 3-0 deficit to take down Spring Hill in walk-off fashion.
Emma Stottlemire’s single in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Kirsten Evans with the winning run in the 5-4 win over the previously unbeaten and top-ranked Broncos Tuesday in Ottawa. Spring Hill is coached by former OHS coach and Central Heights grad Corey Katzer.
“This was an enormous win for us,” Ottawa coach Chris Rose said. “To take down the No. 1 team in 5A on a walk-off was a big accomplishment for our team. We had talked about this being a measuring stick game to see how we have improved and we showed great fight. I was extremely proud of our girls for finding a way to win this game against a very strong pitcher. My hope was to be able to go into the late innings in a tight game to give ourselves a chance and we were able to do that.”
Ottawa fell behind 3-0 heading into the fourth inning when the bats came alive. Ottawa scored four runs to take a 4-3 lead.
“Putting ourselves in a three-run deficit early was not ideal against a pitcher of the caliber that we saw,” Rose said. “The one-out double by Lauren Curtis gave us a huge spark in the fourth inning. It sparked the energy in our dugout.”
The Broncos put pressure on the Ottawa defense all game, but the Cyclones wriggled out of jams.
“We were able to get out of a few big jams with only minimal damage,” Rose said. “Spring Hill had quite a few innings that had the makings of big innings for them and Alex [Powell] and our defense found a way to get out of them and we used the momentum from getting out of that bases loaded jam in the top of the fourth to answer and take the lead.
“We discuss momentum plays a lot and we knew it was a big swing in momentum shutting them down in the fourth. I told the girls going into the sixth that it was a two-inning game and go fight to win it. Shutting them down in the sevemth and coming up with the top of our line-up for us was huge.”
Evans led-off the seventh inning with a sharp single and stole second base to set up Stottlemire, who rifled a hit through the infield.
“I can't say enough about how well Emma has been at the plate for us the last eight games,” Rose said. “She moved up to the two-hole and had really risen to the occasion.
“I was so proud of our girls, they played tough team ball. It was great to play a game like that at home on Senior Night. This was very sweet for our seniors and I wanted Lauren [Curtis], Riley [Titus] and Maddison [Soman] to experience that type of win. They are so deserving.
“I was so happy to get a win on Senior Night for our Seniors. They are great leaders for our team but even better people. We talk about servant leadership and these three young ladies exemplify that by how they are always there to do extra for the team and each other.”
The nightcap saw the Broncos score eight runs in the final three innings to down Ottawa 10-0.
Ottawa was within 2-0 after four innings when Spring Hill bats unloaded.
“It was interesting to see how we would respond after a big win in the first game,” Rose said. “We really got out to the start in the circle and defensively that we wanted, but we could not get anything going at the plate. This is the same pitcher we saw at the Ft. Scott tournament and she struck us out 12 times. She does a great job of spinning the ball, hitting spots and staying low in the zone. We put the ball in play against her better this time but we were not able to barrell anything up.
“With it just being a 2-0 game going into the fifth I felt we were in a good spot to adjust to her but when they put up four in the fifth, it changed how we could play and we definitely knew we needed to string together hits and we weren't able to do that at all.”
In fact, Ottawa did not register a hit.
Ottawa (15-5) plays its regional next week at Wamego after losing a tiebreaker for the fourth seed.