OTTUMWA – New team, new colors.
Same old success for Jim White at the Ottumwa Softball Classic.
After making so many successful trips of the years as the longtime head coach at Clear Creek-Amana to the almost four decade-old tournament in Wapello County, White wasn’t going to let a change in his job title change his plans for the first week of July. In his first year as head coach of the equally successful Solon softball program, White brought yet another great team to Ottumwa looking for the same kind of success he enjoyed with the Clippers.
“I always look forward to the chance to play here at the Classic,” White said. “This is maybe Solon’s second ever trip here, but I think this is my 19th. It’s always been a big deal for me to bring a team here to participate.”
One day in, White and his Spartans have put two wins in the bank after scoring wins over Cardinal and Cedar Rapids Jefferson. Solon scored nine unanswered runs, including five in a row to stop their opener with Cardinal in the sixth for a 9-1 victory over the Comets, then held off a late rally by the fifth-ranked team in Class 5A as left fielder Riley Ogden threw out J-Hawk pinch runner Avery Guy at home to end a 4-2 win over an Eastern Iowa Metro rival.
“We’re up by (Jefferson), but we don’t get to see them very often,” White said of the meeting with Jefferson. “Both programs have a lot of respect for each other. It’s nice to get the opportunity to play them down here.”
The rare battle of tradition-rich powers from the Eastern Iowa metro area was every bit as good as advertised. Solon had the lead from start to finish thanks to a solid start by Emily Ita, who took a no-hitter into fifth inning while the Spartans provided the sophomore pitcher a 3-0 lead.