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Quick work: Johnston ousts Ottumwa in postseason opener

July 18, 2011
Ottumwa High School

Quick work: Johnston ousts Ottumwa in postseason opener

OTTUMWA — Five Ottumwa seniors huddled around their coaches in shallow left field Friday night at Legion Field.

Good ball players — outstanding young men.

Those five reached the end of the road after a 3-0 loss to Johnston in the opening round of Class 4A postseason baseball play.

A season cut far too short for the Bulldogs.

“Everything was equal up there — except for the three runs,” said Ottumwa head coach Mike Egbert. “They got their guys across, we didn’t. It just wasn’t meant to be this year.”

Ottumwa’s five seniors – Tyler Evans, Zach Throckmorton, J.C. Salter, Brandon Enloe and Jordan McDonald — still have plenty to look forward to after the disappointing loss. All five will play college ball, and four of those Bulldogs will join head coach Cal Evans in an attempt to make another run at a Senior Babe Ruth World Series berth. Evans, Throckmorton, Salter and McDonald all helped the Ottumwa Senior Babe Ruth team to the World Series last summer and will try again in 2011.

Egbert summed up a fabulous bunch of senior athletes that helped contribute to another winning season for baseball fans in Wapello County.

“You feel for those guys. They devoted so much to this game and so much to our program,” said Egbert. “You want to see them not go out in the first round of a substate game. They deserve to be in a state tournament, substate final type of game.”

Johnston (21-16) ace Jordan Ross shutout Ottumwa over six innings, and Mitch Bruckshaw added an insurance home run late as the Dragons vaulted into the next round against fifth-ranked West Des Moines Valley (29-9). The Tigers blanked Des Moines East 3-0. Valley hosts Johnston on Monday. Des Moines Roosevelt (28-12), the top seed in the Class 4A, Substate 8 bracket, bounced Indianola 9-4. The Roughriders received a bye and will play the winner of the Valley-Johnston game in the substate final on Wednesday. The winner plays at Principal Park in downtown Des Moines the last week of this month.

Ottumwa (18-16), seeded third, took on a fourth-seeded Johnston squad that entered the postseason on a roll. The Dragons almost swept second-ranked Dowling Catholic last week at Principal Park. The Maroons won game one 3-2, then got blasted in the nightcap by the purple-clad Dragons 13-3. Johnston closed the regular season with an impressive 9-4 and 7-2 sweep over Roosevelt, the CIML Metro champs. Roosevelt won all four games over Ottumwa this season in Metro play.

This game didn’t take long, lasting just three minutes past one hour and 15 minutes.

Johnston broke through in the second inning.

Jeff Pavelka would lead off the frame with a single. He would come around to score on a shallow sacrifice fly to center off the bat of No. 9 hitter Cameron Biondi.

Johnston made it 2-0 in the third after Bruckshaw’s RBI fielder’s choice force out plated Dragon leadoff hitter Cody Brenner.

Ottumwa had a hit in every inning outside the third and fifth frames. The Bulldogs stranded a two-out double by Throckmorton in the first.

The play of the game just might have been from the glove of Dragon first baseman D.J. Swift. His snare of a foul ball near the fence behind the Dragon dugout in the sixth ended a serious threat by the Bulldogs. OHS sophomore Collin Schulz, who sports a batting average near .450, hit a bloop single to shallow center with one out in the frame. A perfect hit-and-run single to right by Throckmorton put runners on the corners with just one out. Throckmorton would steal second with two outs, but Swift’s savvy play with little room to spare sent the Dragons back to their dugout with momentum back on their side.

“We had our opportunities. It’s very similar to that 14-inning game Monday night — lots of chances, lots of chances. We just didn’t produce. You don’t win if you don’t get more runs on the board,” said Egbert.

OHS sophomore lefthander Kyle Keck gave a preview of what should be a stellar junior campaign next summer. He was solid all the way around, scattering seven hits and working his off-speed stuff to keep the Dragons off balance.

Ross allowed six hits, struck out five and walked none.

Bruckshaw’s blast was his first dinger of the season. Brenner doubled twice and went 2-3 with a run scored.

Throckmorton was 2-3. Schulz, Michael Collins, Salter, Enloe and Seth Griffiths had Ottumwa’s other hits.

Johnston 3, Ottumwa 0

OTT    000    000    0    —    0    7    1         

JOHN     011    001    x    —    3    7    1

Ottumwa battery — Kyle Keck (L, 6-3) (6IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 1K, 2BB), Lucas McIntosh catching.

2B — Zach Throckmorton.

Hits — Collin Schulz 1-3, Throckmorton 2-3, Michael Collins 1-3, J.C. Salter 1-3, Brandon Enloe 1-3, Seth Griffiths 1-3.

Johnston battery — Jordan Ross (W, 3-3) (6IP, 6H, 0R, 0ER, 5K, 0BB), Ryan Stapes (SV, 2) (1IP, 1H), Cory Stapes catching.

2B — Cody Brenner 2.

HR — Mitch Bruckshaw (1).

Hits — Brenner 2-3, Michael Kinning 1-1, Bruckshaw 1-3, D.J. Swift 1-3, Jeff Pavelka 1-3, Derek Winchester 1-3.

RBI — Bruckshaw 2, Cameron Biondi. Runs — Brenner, Bruckshaw, Pavelka.

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