OTTUMWA — One day removed from a hard-to-swallow loss to Solon, the Ottumwa softball team rebounded by thrashing top ranked Ankeny 8-2 in a Ottumwa Softball Classic game on a humid Saturday afternoon at Huston Field.
The victory over the top ranked Class 5A team was festooned with clutch hits and several web gem-worthy defensive plays.
“As a team we really wanted to beat Solon, and we had our sights set on Ankeny, too,” Ottumwa leadoff hitter Sammy Garrett said. “To beat them really got our confidence back up and got us ready to go into Regionals.”
The victory was punctuated by three great catches in the top of the seventh.
First, Bulldog first baseman Nicole Peyton made an over-the-shoulder basket catch on a shallow fly ball.
“I thought we played defensively really well because usually we make a few errors,” Peyton said, “but it was a really clean game.”
Second, Ottumwa right fielder Chelsea Griffiths somehow managed to make a shoestring catch on a blistering line drive by Ankeny’s powerful No. 3 hitter Aly Cappaert. Griffiths was insanely busy during the entire contest, making seven catches — three of them in the same inning.
Third, Bulldog Katie Sammons came charging in from left field after after a shallow fly ball hit in foul territory hit by Ashlie Chambers. Sammons made a diving catch that she capped off with a somersault. The acrobatic catch sealed the victory for the Bulldogs.
“We’re really a team that feeds off each other,” Garrett said. “We worked really well as a team today, I think. That team has some of the best hitters in the state. ... We were on our toes and just ready for anything.”
Ottumwa got things rolling offensively right from the get-go. Sammons tattooed Hawk pitcher Courtney Clayberg’s pitch off the left field fence, driving in Olivia Roark to give Ottumwa a 1-0 lead. Then Bulldog Sarah Wilson blasted a two-run shot over the center field fence; extending Ottumwa’s lead to 3-0.
“I thought it was a fly out,” Wilson said after the game when asked if she immediately knew she had hit a home run.
An RBI single by Garrett and a sacrifice fly by Roark upped the girl’s lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the second.
Ottumwa led 6-1 going into the bottom of the fourth. An error by Ankeny during Wilson’s at bat left the bases loaded with two outs and Ottumwa’s Sydney Strunk coming to the plate. The Bulldogs’ starting third baseman made the Hawks pay for their defensive miscue; lining a two-RBI double to left center field that scored Garrett and Sammons and extended Ottumwa’s lead to 8-1. The Bulldogs went on to win 8-2.
Ankeny got 10 hits off of Ottumwa starting pitcher Mandi Moore, but the hits were too spread out to do much damage.
“Anytime you can beat Ankeny whether they are pitching a first, second or third pitcher is a good win for us,” Ottumwa softball head coach Frank Huston said.
Bulldog starting pitcher Brittni Vogt threw a two-hit shutout in Ottumwa’s 3-0 win over Fairfield in the final game of the Ottumwa Softball Classic Saturday evening.
Vogt fanned seven batters and allowed no walks. At one point in the contest, she retired 13 straight batters — the streak was finally broken by an Ottumwa error. The only time Vogt got into anything resembling trouble was in the top of the sixth when the Trojans had runners on first and second with only one out. She responded to this bit of adversity by striking out the next two batters.
All of the Bulldogs runs came in the first inning. Garrett, who has an astounding 533 batting average; scored on a Roark ground-out to the Trojans’ third baseman to put Ottumwa up 1-0. Later in the inning, Sammons blasted a two-run bomb over the center field fence that extended Ottumwa’s lead to 3-0. It was Sammons seventh homer of the season.
Ottumwa (30-7, 14-4) plays at Des Moines Hoover today. Star Bulldog shortstop Paige Schreiner exited Saturday’s game against Fairfield after getting single in the bottom of the first inning and never returned. Huston said Schreiner’s early exit was because of a heat-related issue. She is fine and will play today.
Ottumwa splits first two games of Ottumwa Classic
Courier sports staff
OTTUMWA – The sixth ranked Ottumwa softball team rallied from an early two-point deficit to defeat Albia 7-3 in the Ottumwa Classic Friday.
The girls fell behind the Lady Dees 3-1 at one point, but they put together a five-run inning in the bottom of the fourth. The Bulldogs wouldn’t trail for the rest of the game.
“It takes a while for us sometimes to get going, but we will,” Ottumwa second baseman Olivia Roark said about her team’s offense.
Ottumwa clean-up hitter Katie Sammons smashed a long bomb over the center field fence to put the Bulldogs up 1-0.
Ottumwa was uncharacteristically sloppy on defense in the top of the third inning; which led to three Albia runs.
The Lady Dees Cheyenne Puttorf lifted a fly ball to right center field that both Bulldog center fielder Sammy Garrett and Sarah Wilson converged on. At the last second Garrett peeled off, and the ball deflected off of Wilson’s glove, allowing Emma Dinneen to score and tieing the game at 1. A couple low throws by Ottumwa shortstop Paige Schreiner and Bulldog third baseman Sydney Strunk led to two more runs for Albia.
But the Bulldogs came roaring back in the bottom of the third. The inning began with consecutive singles by Garrett, Roark and Schreiner. Garrett made it home thanks to an Albia error. Then Wilson belted a double that drove in Roark and Sammons and increased the Bulldogs’ lead to 4-3. Ottumwa scored two more runs before the inning came to end.
Roark stroked a double to a gap in right center field early in the bottom of the fourth. A ground ball single to left side of the Lady Dee’s infield by Schreiner scored Roark from second and extended Ottumwa’s lead to 7-3.
Bulldog starting pitcher Brittni Vogt (12-2) battled through the searing heat in a gritting outing on the mound.
“You just got to stay focused and do your job,” Vogt said when asked how she adjusted to the hot weather conditions.
She gave up no earned runs on two hits while striking out four and walking three.
The Bulldogs were unable to avenge a earlier loss to Solon in the second game, falling to the Spartans 3-1.
Ottumwa starting pitcher Mandi Moore (15-4) had been living dangerously for much of the game. On two separate occasions, she loaded the bases only to get a couple of key outs and escape from the innings unscathed. But her luck finally ran out when Solon put together a two-run inning that gave the Spartans a 3-1 lead.
Ottumwa took an early one-run lead when Bulldog Paige Schreiner drove in Garrett with a double to left field. Spartan Kara Misel tied the game with a homer in the top of the second.
The Bulldogs (28-7) play Ankeny; ranked No. in Class 6A, at 3:30 p.m. at Huston Field in another Ottumwa Classic game. The Bulldogs play again at 7 p.m against Fairfield in the last game of the Classic.