FORT DODGE — Paige Schreiner was thankful for the rain.
Things were not going swimmingly for the Bulldogs in their Iowa Softball Class 5A Consolation round game against Marshalltown Tuesday.
Initially, the rain seemed to only exacerbate Ottumwa’s problems on the field. As the rain poured down, starting Bulldog pitcher Brittni Vogt struggled to get a good grip on the ball, causing her to throw two wild pitches that resulted in Bobcat runs in top of the second inning.
The game was finally delayed when lightning was sighted. At that point, the Bulldogs were down 3-0 and the Marshalltown was threatening to score again in what was turning into a headache of an inning.
Schreiner, however, said the 33-minute delay gave the team time to talk and start having fun again. When the delay concluded, a reinvigorated Bulldog squad returned to the field. The girls went on to erase the deficit — thanks to a three-run fourth and four-run fifth inning — on their way to a 7-4 victory.
Ottumwa, however, couldn’t muster up enough offense against Dowling Catholic later in the afternoon and fell to the Maroons 2-1 in the game to decide the fifth-place finisher at state.
Schreiner injected some life into what had until then been a stagnant Bulldog offense by drilling Bobcats’ pitcher Taylor Vaske’s pitch over the left field fence in the bottom of the fourth, giving Ottumwa a sorely-needed run and narrowing the gap to 4-1. Bulldog cleanup hitter Katie Sammons followed her with a sharply-hit infield single that Marshalltown shortstop Hailee Beals couldn’t cleanly corral. Then Ottumwa first baseman Nicole Peyton slapped an infield single that was strikingly similar to Sammons’ previous it.
Sarah Wilson, in what would be the senior outfielders last day as an Ottumwa Bulldog, hit a little dribbler between the pitcher and third baseman that was placed in just the right spot to grant her an infield single. Meanwhile, Sammons scored on the play to make it 3-2. Wilson went 2-for-3 with a double – she was only Bulldog who managed to get more than one hit in the contest.
After the rain delay, Ottumwa coach Frank Huston elected to replace Vogt with Mandi Moore. The Bulldogs’ ace pitcher managed to get the final out in the second inning when the game started up again. Other than giving up a homer to Quinn Goodman in the top of the third, Moore was very effective on the mound. She gave up only two hits while striking out four in four-plus innings.
The wheels started to come off the bus for the Bobcats in the bottom of the fifth and the Bulldogs took full advantage of Marshalltown’s mistakes. In what was perhaps a bad omen for Marshalltown, because of lack of communication between Beals and center fielder Cassidy Blackford, a fly ball to left center field by Ottumwa catcher Alexis Winn was dropped – both girls tried to make the catch simultaneously.
Later in the inning, Vaske fumbled a bunt by Paige Schreiner, which not only allowed Schreiner to reach safely, it also scored Ellie Hammack, who was pinch running for Alexis Winn; from third. Next Peyton hit a grounder that second baseman Quinn booted, scoring Olivia Roark and giving the Bulldogs a 5-4 advantage.
Next Sydney Strunk hit a scorching line drive that deflected off the hand of Bobcats’ shortstop Maddi Bellile and crashed into some of the equipment brought in by the media figures who were covering the game (there was a designated spot on the field the media could occupy). Sammons and Schreiner scored on the play and all the other runners were allowed to advance a base because the ball had struck the equipment. Bellile injured her hand on the play and had to leave the game.
Ottumwa went on to pick up the win 7-4.
The Bulldogs struggled to get much going offensively against Dowling Catholic. Things started off well enough. Sammy Garrett led off the game with a double down the third base line. Two batters later, Schreiner drove her home with a line-drive single to right field. Unfortunately, Ottumwa’s offense couldn’t get anything going after that.
On a positive note, Schreiner capped off a great last day as an Ottumwa Bulldog by going 2-for-3 with a double against the Maroons. Huston said Schreiner has started 225 games in her illustrious five-year softball career at Ottumwa.
Dowling Catholic starting pitcher Claudia Farrell laced a double to right center field that drove in Maroon leadoff hitter Katie Mauk in the bottom of the third that tied it at 1.
Vogt replaced starting pitcher Moore in the fourth and got off to a rocky start. Dowling Catholic manufactured a run in the inning off two walks, a bunt single and an error by Strunk.
Vogt settled down and pitched well in the next two frames.
With the loss, the Bulldogs finished sixth at state and ended their season with a 34-10 record.
Ottumwa 7, Marshalltown 4
Mars 121 00 - 7 5 2
Ottu 000 34 - 4 8 3
Marshalltown battery – Taylor Vaske (L, 14-12) (5IP, 8H, 7R, 1ER, 0K, 6K, 0BB), Taylor Wagner catching.
2B – Hailee Beals.
HR – Quinn Goodman.
Hits - Wagner 1-for-2, Goodman 1-for-3, Beals 2-for-3, Emily Devenney 1-for-2.
RBI - Goodman. Runs – Wagner, Beals, Devenney, Goodman.
Ottumwa battery – Brittni Vogt (ND, 14-2) (1 2/3 IP, 3H, 3R, 2ER, 3K, 0BB), Mandi Moore (4 1/3 IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 4K, OBB) Alexis Winn
2B – Sarah Wilson.
HR – Paige Schreiner.
Hits - Sammy Garrett 1-for-3, Olivia Roark 1-for-3, Paige Schreiner 1-for-3, Katie Sammons 1-for-2, Wilson 2-for-2, Sydney Strunk 1-for-3.
RBI – Nicole Peyton, Schreiner 2, Strunk 2, Wilson. Runs – Roark, Schreiner 2, Sammons 2.
Dowling 2, Ottumwa 1
Ottu 100 000 0 ‹ 1 6 2
Dowl 001 100 x ‹ 2 4 0
Ottumwa battery - Moore (ND, 20-6) (3IP, 1H, 1R, ER, 1K, 0BB), Vogt (L, 14-3) (3IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 3K, 3BB) Overturf catching.
2B - Garrett.
Hits - Paige Schreiner 2-for-3, Sammons 1-for-3, Strunk 1-for-3, Overturf 1-for-3, Garrett 1-for-3.
RBI - Schreiner. Runs - Garrett.
Dowling Catholic battery – Farrell (W, 10-5) (4IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 4K, 0BB), Demi Plathe (3IP, 2H, OR, OER, 2K, OBB) Emily Aller catching.
2B – Claudia Farrell.
Hits - Katie Mauk 1-for-2, Farrell 1-for-2, D. Plathe 1-for-2, Lara Plathe 1-for-2.
RBI – Farrell, Aubria Crivaro. Runs – Plathe, Mauk.