OTTUMWA — The No. 2 ranked (Class 5A) Ottumwa Bulldog softball team will gear up for postseason against some stiff competition when it puts on its 39th annual Ottumwa Classic Friday and Saturday.
This year’s Classic is festooned with ranked teams, three of which will take on the Bulldogs.
“We got good opponents coming in and that’s where you want them, right before tournament time,” Ottumwa coach Frank Huston said. “You want to play the good teams that will help you get where you want to be in a week and a half. You play the best to get you ready for a state tournament run.”
In its first game of the two-day tourney, Ottumwa will take on seventh-ranked (Class 4A) Cedar Rapids Xavier, who joined the tourney when Albia had to back out of today’s game — to potentially make up a South Central Conference matchup — at 5:15 p.m. today. Xavier gave third-ranked (Class 5A) Pleasant Valley a run for its money earlier this season before eventually falling to the Spartans 11-8. Of course, the Bulldogs used a three-run seventh inning to defeat then No. 2-ranked Pleasant Valley 8-7 in a memorable game during the alumni reunion tournament on a weekend that celebrated the achievements of Huston and the players who have made up his venerable program over the last 40 years.
The Saints and Bulldogs also have both played and defeated No. 9-ranked (Class 5A) Cedar Rapids Jefferson. Xavier split a doubleheader with Jefferson, while Ottumwa beat the J-Hawks 4-2 in a 13-inning thriller. After the game between the Saints and Bulldogs had been completed, the girls will turn around and face Cedar Rapids Jefferson, who will be out for revenge after coming out on the wrong end of the two team’s first epic encounter in Cedar Rapids.