SOLON – Neither rain nor extra innings nor time limits could keep second-ranked (5A) Ottumwa from finishing off an impressive weekend of softball in winning style.
A return to CIML Metro conference action, however, stunningly did on Monday.
After playing 20 innings Friday to get two wins, including 13 against ninth-ranked (5A) Cedar Rapids Jefferson, the Bulldogs played a standard 14 innings Saturday in contests that were anything but standard at the Solon Invitational. Beth Overturf drove in three runs, including two on a decisive double in a 6-4 win over Iowa City Regina to open the Invite in a game that was lengthened by a rain delay, then shortened to six innings by a time limit.
That win was followed by a phenomenal pitchers’ duel between Ottumwa sophomore Megan Robertson and Cedar Rapids Prairie senior Katie Kuch. The two hurlers matched zeroes for seven innings in the final game of a thrilling weekend for the Bulldogs, which ended with yet another victory as OHS scored twice in the eighth to earn a 2-1 victory in their finale at Solon.
Those wins seemed to set up the Bulldogs for a showdown this week for the CIML Metro Conference lead with Indianola, the fifth-ranked team in Class 4A. Instead, Ottumwa was stunned Monday night in game one of their Metro doubleheader at Des Moines Hoover as the Huskies pulled off a 4-2 win over the Bulldogs to leave OHS three games back of the Indians heading into Wednesday’s doubleheader at Huston Field.
Coming off a marathon 4-2 victory at Jefferson on Friday night, Ottumwa came out slightly sluggish in the noon opener at Solon with Regina. The Regals took advantage, scoring single runs off Brittni Vogt in the third and fourth innings to take a 2-0 lead.
A fielding error allowed Katie Sammons to lead off the fourth by reaching base. After Alexis Winn walked, Sydney Strunk and Kassidi Henderson both struck with RBI hits. Henderson would go on to add a solo home run later in the contest after Regina cut a 5-2 Ottumwa lead down to 5-4 with a pair of runs off Mandi Moore, who came on in relief of Vogt after a 60-minute rain delay.
Robertson gave the Bulldogs another great start in the pitching circle. The sophomore pitched her third-straight seven-inning shutout against Prairie, but the Bulldogs could not push across a run of their own forcing both teams to head into extra innings and, for OHS, to utilize the international tiebreaker for the first time this season.
With a runner at second to start the inning, the Bulldogs not only brought in Olivia Roark for the first run of the day but scored an insurance tally. Pinch runner Ashlyn Thompson scored on a run-scoring hit by Nicole Peyton to put Ottumwa up 2-0, good enough for Robertson who gave up no earned runs for the fourth-consecutive start on the way to improving to 7-0 on the season.
No. 2 (5A) Ottumwa (27-5, 16-4) edged Hoover in the nightcap 8-7 as Robertson allowed five earned runs against the Huskies in her eighth straight win. The Bulldogs at best can only pull within a game of the Indians with a sweep on Wednesday, meaning Ottumwa would need Indianola to be stunned themselves to have any chance at a Metro title as the two teams meet in a doubleheader Wednesday night at Huston Field at 6 p.m.
More on Monday’s doubleheader can be found in Wednesday’s edition of the Courier.
No. 2 (5A) Ottumwa 6, Iowa City Regina 4
OHS 000 321 — 6 9 3
ICR 001 102 — 4 6 1
Ottumwa battery — Brittni Vogt (W, 5-1) (4IP, 4H, 2R, 4K, BB) and Mandi Moore (S, 1) (2IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 3K, BB), Alexis Winn catching.
2B — Chelsea Griffiths, Beth Overturf.
HR — Kassidi Henderson.
Hits — Henderson 2-3, Overturf 2-3, Nicole Peyton 1-2, Olivia Roark 1-2, Sydney Strunk 1-2, Griffiths 1-3, Sammy Garrett 1-4.
RBI — Overturf 3, Henderson 2, Strunk.
Runs — Ashlyn Thompson 2, Henderson, Roark, Sammons, Madison Wiley.
No. 2 (5A) Ottumwa 2, No. Cedar Rapids Prairie 1 (8)
OHS 000 000 02 — 2 6 1
CRP 000 000 01 — 1 6 3
Ottumwa battery — Megan Robertson (W, 7-0) (8IP, 6H, R, 5K, BB), Beth Overturf catching.
Hits — Chelsea Griffiths 1-3, Nicole Peyton 1-3, Olivia Roark 1-3, Alexis Winn 1-3, Kassidi Henderson 1-4, Sydney Strunk 1-4.
RBI — Peyton, Winn.
Runs — Roark, Ashlyn Thompson.