OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa baseball team is well-acquainted with its opponent in the first round of the round of Class 4A, Substate 6 tournament today at Legion Memorial Field.
The Bulldogs have already faced Indianola four times this season; coming out on top in three of those encounters. All four games between the two teams have been competitive: Ottumwa won the first three games 2-1, 3-1 and 3-2 and lost game four 2-1.
"We must make adjustments at the plate and take advantage of the situations when we get runners in scoring position," coach John Jaeger said. "We need to score early."
Jaeger said his pitchers would have to throw strikes and receive solid support from the Bulldogs' defense.
The coach said scoring runs early would be a key to picking up a win over the Indians.
"It's been a thing we've struggled with this year," Jaeger said about scoring runs early. "If we can score early and keep the pressure on, things should go in our favor."
Jaeger guesses Austin Marchant will start on the mound for Indianola. Marchant sports a 4-4 record with a 1.12 ERA.
"Austin Marchant throws a lot of speed curve balls and changeups," Ottumwa's coach said. "He kind of throws backwards. He throws more curveballs and changeups than fastball. Most people use their fastball and then throw their curveball on the side, but he kind of goes the other way."
Spencer Nelson spearheads the Bulldog offense with a team-best batting average of .340 and Chase Wood leads the team with 25 RBI's and he and Spencer Fuller lead the team with four triples each. Curtis Schneckloth and Brok Hopwood have helped ignite Ottumwa's offense this season. Schneckloth is batting .313 with 22 RBI's and Brok Hopwood is batting .314.
Tanner Ortlund has been at the forefront of the Indians' success offensively with a team-best batting average of .365 and Cameron Loew leads the team with a 34 hits. Jake Sickels leads Indianola with 13 hits and five home runs.
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