By ANDY HEINTZ Courier sportswriter
---- — OSKALOOSA — The Ottumwa Senior Babe Ruth team couldn’t muster much offense in a 10-0 loss to a impressive Charleston, Mo., team in the second round of the Midwest Plains Babe Ruth 16-18 tournament at Lacey Recreational Complex.
Charleston, however, had no such problems offensively. The Missouri team banged out 13 hits in its shutout victory.
“You can’t discredit Missouri at all, they came to play,” Ottumwa coach Rich Kennedy said. “They hit the ball really well. We didn’t make errors, we didn’t make bad judgements, we just were on the losing end. That’s baseball.”
The boys had a hard time hitting Doug Still’s high-velocity pitches.
“He was a strong leftie and typically we’re pretty good at hitting lefties,” Kennedy said, “but in a nutshell, this leftie just had a heater we couldn’t catch up to.”
After an innocuous first inning, Charleston’s offense really kicked it into high gear in the top of the second. The Flying Squirrels scored five runs while peppering the field with five hits. In the top of the third, Charleston managed to get another runner across home plate before Kennedy tapped Jake Black to replace starting pitcher Cody Miller on the mound. The switch wasn’t enough to stifle the Flying Squirrels’ momentum as they went on to plate three more runs before the inning came to an end.
Ottumwa’s offense finally made some noise in the top of the fourth; although the size of the deficit the boys faced had already ballooned to 10 by this point. Unfortunately, the rising volume never matured into a full-throated roar, as the inning ended with Ottumwa runners stranded on every base.
Ottumwa’s Christian Bambrook started the inning by bashing a single to left centerfield, spoiling Still’s no-hitter. Spencer Fuller followed with a bloop single to centerfield. Next, Brennon Elder slapped a single to the left side of the infield to load the bases. Still, however, put the kibosh on Ottumwa’s momentum by striking out Blake Mooney to end the inning. Ottumwa failed to generate any offense in the bottom of the fifth and Charleston picked up the victory because of the 10-run rule.
Ottumwa will try to bounce back today in the double-elimination tourney when it faces Oskaloosa at 1 p.m. If the boys are are successful, they will play later today at 6 p.m.
“To bounce back and get a W we have to regain our confidence,” Kennedy said. “We had confidence in the early part of the game, but in the latter part we just kind of lost it all. With confidence comes momentum and with momentum comes victories every single time.”
“We just have to put this one behind us and look ahead and fix what we did wrong,” Spencer Fuller added.
When asked what needed fixing, Spencer said: “We had some pretty bad swings today.”
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Charleston 10, Ottumwa 0
Char 054 10 — 10 13 0
Ottu 000 00 — 0 3 2
Charleston battery — Doug Still (W) (5IP, 3H, 8K, 1BB), Cody Payne catching.
Hits — Chase Young 1-for-3, Caleb McCord 2-for-3, Tyler Anderson 1-for-4, Payne 1-for-2, Brad Potts 1-for-2, Cord Sheehy 2-for-3, Jared Walker 2-for-3, Still 3-for-3.
RBI — Young, McCord 4, Payne 2, Walker, Still.
Runs — Young 2, Brad Potts, Sheehy 2, Walker 3, Still 2.
Ottumwa battery — Cody Miller (L) (2IP, 8H, 7R, 5ER, 1K), Jacob Black (3IP, 5H, 3R, 5K 1BB) Seth Staton catching.
Hits — Christian Bambrook 1-for-1, Spencer Fuller 1-for-2, Brennon Elder 1-for-1.