OTTUMWA — Ryan Woods isn’t one to celebrate individual accomplishments. Instead, the Ottumwa skipper focuses on his baseball team and the looming postseason.

But Thursday’s doubleheader sweep over Des Moines Hoover was reason to smile. The two wins gave Woods 200 victories in his coaching career.

Ottumwa won the first game 2-1 before pounding the Huskies 9-2 in the nightcap. The red-hot Bulldogs stretched their win streak to seven games, evening their overall record to 15-15 and improving to 10-9 in the CIML Metro.

“Personally, I guess it’s a milestone and I’m happy to get it,” Woods said. “I don’t talk about it much, but I told the team the one thing I’ll always remember is they were the team I got the 200th with. It’s nice, but the most important thing is getting this team ready for a playoff run.”

Ottumwa looks more than ready to compete with the state’s best. Two more excellent pitching performances and a patient approach at the plate keyed the sweep over the Huskies on Thursday.

Brian Delker toed the rubber in game one and left Hoover feeling queasy. He can thank his knee-buckling curve for that.

Delker punched-out eight Hoover batters — six looking — in seven sparkling innings. He only faced four batters more than the minimum and almost notched a complete game shutout if not for some errors in the top of the seventh.

“I like to try to get ahead and throw that curve ball every now and then,” Delker said. “[Justin] Birch did a nice job calling the game behind the plate — it helped me out a lot.”

Delker escaped an anxious seventh inning after the Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead in the sixth. With two outs, Chase Anderson reached base on an Ottumwa throwing error and later scored. The tying run was on second base before Delker appropriately fanned the last batter on a bender to end the game.

“I though Delker threw great — maybe the best game he’s pitched all year,” Woods said. “He pounded the strike zone and his off-speed stuff was great. It was an outing you want to see from him going into the substate.”

The nightcap featured more solid pitching by the Bulldogs. Starter Ben Lott survived a shaky, 28-pitch first inning to earn the win. Hoover tagged Lott for two runs and four hits in the first, but the sophomore surrendered only three hits the rest of the way and finished with an even 100 pitches on the night.

“He battled through it and he threw great,” Woods said. “His off-speed was just good enough to keep them off-balance.”

Both Ottumwa starters were aided by a strong defense behind them. Delker benefited from a pair of diving catches in the second inning of game one. Chris Cordray — playing out of position at second base — helped shut the door on Hoover in game two when he made a sliding grab up the middle and gunned the runner out from his knees.

Birch did his part by throwing out three would be base stealers.

“It was great,” Delker said. “We’d been struggling out in the field lately with errors, but we locked down tonight and made plays and did well.”

The Bulldogs busted open a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning thanks in large part the Huskies’ inability to throw strikes. Ottumwa scored seven runs on eight walks and only two hits in the frame. Three Hoover pitchers combined to throw 65 pitches in the inning.

Jake Steinbach led Ottumwa at the plate in the doubleheader. Steinbach finished with four hits — including a triple — two RBI and one run scored. Weston Mitchell also notched four hits and added two runs scored and a RBI. P.J. Shaeffer went 2-for-2 in the second game with two runs scored and one RBI.

Ottumwa is playing its baseball of the season right now. The seven-game win streak started with a victory at Mount Pleasant on June 24 and includes five straight CIML Metro wins. Thursday’s two victories over Hoover avenges two losses to the Huskies earlier this season in Des Moines.

“We set the goal at the end of last week to get back to .500 and maybe get a winning season,” Woods said. “It’s great they got a little win streak going. Even better, they have four games left to maybe get some more wins. The most important thing is we are playing our best baseball right before the tournament.”

Ottumwa hosts West Des Moines Dowling on Monday and Ankeny on Tuesday. The Bulldogs begin postseason play next Friday.

Ottumwa 2, Des Moines Hoover 1

DMH 000 000 1 — 1 3 3

Ott. 000 002 X — 2 4 2

Des Moines Hoover battery — Brandon Signs (L) (5 2/3IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 5K, 0BB), Gabe Long (ND) (1/3IP, 0H, 0R, 1BB, 1K), Austin Damm catching.

Hits — Chase Anderson 1-for-3, Gabe Long 1-for-3, Josh Johnson 1-for-2.

RBI — Long. Runs — Anderson.

Ottumwa battery — Brian Delker (W) (7IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, 8K, 2BB), Justin Birch catching.

2B — Jake Steinbach.

Hits — P.J. Shaeffer 1-for-3, Weston Mitchell 2-for-3, Steinbach 1-for-1.

RBI — Steinbach. Runs — Shaeffer, W. Mitchell.

Ottumwa 9, Des Moines Hoover 2

DMH 200 000 0 — 2 7 0

Ott. 110 070 X — 9 10 1

Des Moines Hoover battery — Nate Clark (L) (4 1/3IP, 8H, 4R, 4ER, 1K, 3BB), Josh Johnson (ND) (1/3IP, 2H, 4R, 4ER, 5BB), Jake Leonard (ND) (1 1/3IP, 0H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 2K), Damm catching.

Hits — Delvin Hogans 1-for-3, Clark 2-for-3, Long 1-for-3, Jobe Shannon 2-for-3, Luke Gude 1-for-3.

RBI — Long 2. Runs — Hogans, Clark.

Ottumwa battery — Ben Lott (W) (7IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, 3K, 1BB), Birch catching.

2B — Daniel Goodvin.

3B — Steinbach.

Hits — Shaeffer 2-for-2, Birch 1-for-3, Mitchell 2-for-3, Chris Cordray 1-for-2, Steinbach 3-for-4, Goodvin 1-for-3.

RBI — Shaeffer, Birch 2, Mitchell, Steinbach, D. Goodvin. Runs — Clint Utter, Shaeffer 2, Mitchell, Cordray, Steinbach, Delker, Goodvin 2.


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