By ANDY HEINTZ
---- — PURCELLVILLE, Va. — The 15-year-old Ottumwa Babe Ruth All-Stars kicked split its first two games at the Babe Ruth Baseball 13-15 World Series.
The boys used a two-out RBI single by Andrew Mitchell to top Greater Vienna, Va., 5-4 Saturday, but they fell to Westchester, Calif., 5-2 Monday.
Ottumwa took advantage of a number of Greater Vienna errors to gain the victory. In fact, the boys' first two runs — scored by Chase Wood and Brok Hopwood — came off an error at third base in the first inning. Later in the inning, the Virginia team's troubles were further compounded when Ottumwa's Gage Ryder blasted a two-run double to center field.
Meanwhile, Trenton Fowler looked sharp on the mound, yielding no hits to Greater Vienna in the first three innings while striking out two. In the fourth inning, however, the Virginia ballclub mounted a fierce rally. Taking advantage of a couple Ottumwa errors, Greater Vienna seized the momentum with a pair of two-RBI hits that knotted things up at 4. Facing adversity in the form of a resurgent Virginia ballclub, the boys were able recapture the lead in the fifth thanks to Mitchell's single, which drove in Lan Kubbe and put Ottumwa in front 5-4.
Chase Wood maintained Ottumwa's slim lead in the sixth. With the tying run one hit away from crossing home plate, Wood bore down and fanned two straight batters to keep his team in the lead. Ottumwa went on to pick up the win.
Unfortunately, the boy's momentum didn't carry over to their game Monday against Westchester. Despite grabbing an early 1-0 lead, the California team, spurred by a three-run sixth inning, defeated Ottumwa by three runs.
Gage Ryder looked strong on the mound in defeat. Ryder, who relieved Hopwood in the third, struck out four, walked five and surrendered just one run in five innings of work on the hill. Wood led off the game with a single in the first and went on to score on a sacrifice fly to give Ottumwa an early one-run edge. The lead would prove to be fleeting, as Westchester plated two runs on a fielder's choice to give the California team a 2-1 lead. Then, in the top of the sixth, Westchester tacked on three more runs to go up 5-1.
Hopwood breathed some life into Ottuma's offense with an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth that narrowed the gap to 5-2. But, Westchester pitcher Ulysses Perez bounced back to retire the next four batters en route to securing the win for his team.
The loss leaves both Westchester and Ottuwma at 1-1 in the American Pool of the Babe Ruth Baseball 13-15 World Series. The top three of the five teams in the pool advance to bracket elimination play, which starts Thursday.
Ottumwa returns to the diamond to face Saginaw Valley, Mich. today.
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Ottumwa 5, Greater Vienna, Va. 4
Grea 000 400 0 — 4 4 4
Ottu 400 010 x — 5 4 2
Ottumwa battery — Trenton Fowler (3IP, 2K, 4BB), Greg Howard (1 2/3IP, 3H, 4R, 2ER, K, 3BB), Chase Wood (W, 1-0) ( 2 1/3IP, 1H, 2K, 1BB) Brok Hopwood catching.
2B — Gage Ryder.
Hits — Hopwood 1-for-2, Andrew Mitchell 1-for-3, Ryder 1-for-3, Andrew Shepherd 1-for-3.
RBI — Ryder 2, Mitchell.
Runs — Hopwood, Howard, Ian Kubbe, Jake Waller, Wood.
Westchester 5, Ottumwa 2
Ottu 020 003 0 — 5 5 2
West 100 001 0 — 2 4 2
Ottumwa battery — Hopwood (L, 0-1) (2IP, 3H, 3R, 2ER, 3K, 2BB), Ryder (5IP, 2H, 2R, 1ER, 4K, 5BB) Wood catching.
2B — Hopwood.
Hits — Fowler 1-for-2, Hopwood 1-for-2, Andrew Mitchell 1-for-3, Wood 1-for-3.
RBI — Hopwood 2.
Runs — Fowler, Wood.