Thilges jumpstarted the Dragons’ offense by cranking a triple over the head of Griffiths in right field in the top of the sixth. Moments later, Thilges was able to score on an RBI ground out by Monthei to second baseman Roark, upping Johnston’s lead to 4-0.
The Bulldogs were finally able to string some timely hits together and put some runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth. Overturf and Nicole Peyton started the inning by drawing consecutive walks. Then Henderson drove in Ashlyn Thompson, who was courtesy running for Overturf, with a line-drive single to right field that narrowed the gap to 4-1. A couple batters later, Katie Sammons, who had struck out in the previous two at bats, blasted a double to left field that drove in Chloe Davis and shaved the Dragons’ lead to 4-2.
Unfortunately, Johnston answered with a swift and emphatic riposte in the top of the seventh. The Dragons managed to tack on three more runs in an inning that was highlighted by a two-run double by Ellen Espeland. The Bulldogs made some noise in the bottom of the seventh — Overturf, Peyton and Garrett all recorded singles — but they were unable to put any more runs on the board, and the Dragons picked up the 7-2 victory.
”I know we are better than the game we played today, so it’s really hard that we lost,” Griffiths said.
Still, Ottumwa coach Frank Huston was glad his team had come out and played competitive.
”I’m proud of the fact coming back this morning, we gave ourselves a chance,” the veteran coach said. “We put 10 hits on an excellent pitcher, and we just couldn’t pull the trigger.”
The Bulldogs fell to Ankeny 7-3 in a game to decide third place at the tourney.
The game, however, was overshadowed by the fact that it was the last time Ottumwa’s nine seniors would all play together.