OTTUMWA -- The Ottumwa baseball team split two games with a solid Waukee ballclub in about the oddest way imaginable Thursday at Legion Memorial Field.The first game featured an outstanding pitching dual between Bulldog Cooper Smith and the Warriors Malik Moore, in his varsity debut; and a bizarre ending that ended with Ottumwa forfeiting the game to the Warriors.
Affronted, The Bulldogs bounced back to shut out Waukee 10-0 in game two; a game that only lasted five innings because of the 10-run rule. The Bulldogs used an admixture of solid pitching, clutch hitting and superior fielding to thrash the Warriors in the nightcap.
"Every night I talk about how we have to put all three aspects together -- the hitting, the fielding the pitching," Ottumwa coach John Jaeger said. "In game one we did two -- pitching, fielding -- of the three, and, in game three, we put all three together."
Smith, who received excellent defensive support from his teammates, pitched brilliantly in his nine innings of work on the hill, allowing only five hits. Instead of blowing people away with his speed -- he finished with one strikeout --, Smith relied on his defense to make plays behind him.
"He worked well in the zone," Jaeger said about his pitcher. "He got ahead of the batters and really kept them off balance. A few guys really hit the ball hard, but the balls they hit went right at our guys."
Meanwhile, Moore kept the Bulldogs off-balance throughout game, recording 16 strikeouts and surrendering just three hits. The game ended after Smith threw just three pitches in the top of the of the 10th. Suddenly, Waukee's coach Mark Anderson took his players off the field. After a long break where no one, except for a few folks on the field, knew what was going on. Eventually, the umpires, Jaeger and Anderson met at home plate to hash things out. The result? Ottumwa forfeiting the game to Waukee.