OTTUMWA — It may be just one day of softball, but what a day it could turn out to be.
Five ranked teams from the two biggest classes in the state, all with hopes of making a run at being part of the State Softball Tournament. The only team unrated team to compete today in the 40th Ottumwa Classic – the host Bulldogs who still have a chance at winning the CIML Metro title and another 30-win regular season.
It might not be a two-day affair, but the six-game slate that’s been put together today is about as good as it gets for one of the yearly premier regular-season softball tournaments.
“We started this tournament 40 years ago so we wouldn’t have to play tournament-style somewhere else,” Ottumwa head softball coach Frank Huston said. “It was getting to where other tournaments would start selecting all-tournament teams and left some players feeling bad about themselves.
“We like the Classic format and we’ve really got a tough schedule for one day of action.”
As it turns out, this year’s six-team, six-game day long Ottumwa Classic has a bit of a round-robin feel to it. The first three teams that will take the field, ninth-ranked (4A) Fairfield, third-ranked (4A) Solon and fourth-ranked (5A) Southeast Polk will all play each other in the first three games of the day.
The same will be true for Ottumwa, sixth-ranked (5A) Cedar Rapids Jefferson and No. 13 (4A) Keokuk. The J-Hawks and Chiefs meet at 2:15 p.m. Ottumwa meets Jefferson at 4 before closing out the Classic against Keokuk at approximately 5:30 p.m.
“It’s the first time we’ve formatted the Classic this way,” Huston said. “We’ve got three great teams playing against each other in three great games throughout the morning and three more great games scheduled in the afternoon.”