Bulldogs split with Rams in regular-season finale

Ottumwa senior third baseman Jesus Jaime lines up a throw to second base in front of Southeast Polk junior Miguel Bernadino (1) on Wednesday night during the second game of a CIML high school baseball doubleheader at Legion Memorial Field in Ottumwa.

OTTUMWA – Two nights before postseason play gets underway, the Ottumwa High School baseball team found mixed results in their final doubleheader of the regular season.

Adam Denniston pitched the first five innings of a 2-0 win in the opening game with Southeast Polk on Wednesday at Legion Memorial Field. Jackson Saunders held the lead through the sixth, allowing just the third hit of the game to the Rams before handing the ball to Thomas Mitchell, who stranded the bases loaded with one out forcing a pop up to Julian Moore behind the plate before striking out Caleb Leclair, snapping Ottumwa's three-game losing streak.

Southeast Polk (23-17) responded in game two, scoring three runs in the first two innings of a spot start on the mound for Mitch Wood. Four unearned runs in the fifth, including two on a home run by Bennet Wadstrom helped the Rams hold on for a 7-4 win despite four runs on five hits over two of the final three innings for the Bulldogs highlighted by a towering two-run homer hit by Trae Swartz in the sixth.

"We talked to the guys about this being the final dress rehearsal before the big show," Ottumwa head coach John Jaeger said after earning his 199th win in game one. "I definitely liked what I saw. We won a tough one in the opener. There were not a lot of opportunities (to score) and we made some minor errors, but I felt overall our guys executed pretty well.

"In the second game, we wanted to get a few guys in a little longer than we normally would just to see where we're at. It would have been easy for the guys to hang their heads between their legs after we got down 7-0, but the guys kept battling. We had good approaches at the plate and made some good defensive plays. I think the guys passed the test in terms of whether they're ready or not to go for the postseason."

Ottumwa (28-9) opens Class 4A substate play at home against Cedar Rapids Washington. Action at Legion Memorial Field gets underway at 7 p.m.

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

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