OTTUMWA — On warm, sunny summer day in Ottumwa, Pleasant Valley softball players had sweaters on their minds.
Not that Sydney Dwyer, or the rest of her Spartan teammates, wanted to put sweaters on, of course. That would have been crazy. But with the amount of cotton coming out of the trees from beyond the right side of Frank Huston Field on Friday had Pleasant Valley players thinking about sweater production.
“We were making jokes out there on the field about making sweaters with all the cotton that was flying at us,” Dwyer said. “We definitely wouldn’t have needed one, but it’s something that made it fun to be out there.”
The "cotton storm" also made an impression on Pleasant Valley head coach Lori Duncan, who brought her Spartan team back to Ottumwa for the second-straight year to take part in the Bulldogs’ round-robin softball tournament.
“It’s just really fuzzy,” Duncan said of the remnants of the Huston Field cottonwood trees. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Neither falling cotton nor the pitching of fourth-ranked Bondurant-Farrar could stymie the hitters of Pleasant Valley in the opening game of the Ottumwa Softball Tournament. The Spartans pounded out 17 hits, put 25 runners on base, and pulled away with seven runs in the final three innings to earn an 11-3 victory over the defending Class 3A state softball champions.
“We had heard that (Bondurant-Farrar) was a defending state champion, so we just wanted to keep it simple,” said Dwyer, who had three hits including a solo home run to center field in the seventh. “Get hits and make plays. It turned into a good game for us.”
Duncan, whose Pleasant Valley team set a state record for home runs as a team last year with 58, still saw plenty of areas where the Spartans could improve.