Both Ottumwa Little League baseball teams scored key wins that kept both teams on pace to earn opportunities at winning state tournament titles.
The Ottumwa 12-year-olds picked up a 10-0 shutout victory over Lynnville-Sully, scoring eight times in the top of the fourth inning, while the 10-year-old Ottumwa Little Leaguers handed Morningside its first state tournament loss with a 4-3 victory on Monday night in Urbandale.
Mason Gravett went the distance on the pitching mound for the Ottumwa 10-year-olds, needing just 61 pitches to earn the victory. Tate Frueh and Carter Johnson both collect two hits at the plate, each scoring a run as Ottumwa matched Morningside with a 2-1 record, earning a potential head-to-head tiebreaker should the teams tie for a berth in the state championship game. The teams with the top two records after five rounds of pool play advance to the 10-year-old Iowa State Little League baseball championship game on Thursday at 6 p.m.
The Ottumwa 10-year-olds have two more games left in round-robin play, facing Davenport on Tuesday night before wrapping up pool play against Indianola on Wednesday. Two wins would give Ottumwa a chance to play in the state championship game.
The same can be said for the Ottumwa 12-year-olds, who improved to 2-0 at Doanes Park with a 10-run win over Lynnville-Sully. Jacob Figueroa allowed just one hit over three innings, keeping the game scoreless heading into the fourth before Ottumwa broke on top with eight runs in the fourth.
"Everyone did a great job hitting the ball during that rally," Ottumwa 12-year-old manager T.J. Heller said. "It took our team one time around the batting order to really get dialed in."
Lynnville-Sully tried to rally immediately after falling behind 8-0, opening the bottom of the fourth with consecutive hits. Tucker Long came on to pitch, striking out four batters over two innings to preserve the shutout before William Hillyard clinched the shutout with a scoreless sixth inning on the mound.
Ottumwa's 12-year-old squad faces a key day on Tuesday in terms of contending for a berth in the Iowa State Little League championship game, which would be played Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Ottumwa will wrap up a game with Johnston that was halted by rain on Saturday with Johnston, also 2-0 in the tournament, leading 7-0 in the third, at 5 p.m. After that game concludes, Ottumwa will take on Headid needing a win in either game to have a chance to play Grandview on Wednesday with a berth in the state title game on the line.
"We control our own destiny to play for the championship," Heller said. "If we can find a way to win both games, we'll be in really good shape."