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Ottumwa 13-Year-Olds Win Babe Ruth Tourney Opener

By Jason Van Arkel, July 26, 2017

The old adage says it’s not how you start that counts, but how you finish. The Ottumwa 13-year-old Babe Ruth baseball team put a twist on the saying Wednesday, coming up with a strong finish to win its opening game of the Midwest Plains Regional Tournament in Roseau, Minnesota.

Trailing 6-0 after the top of the third, Ottumwa stormed back to win the tournament’s opening game, beating St. Paul-High Tower 10-6. Ottumwa scored seven runs in the bottom of the third to grab the lead, then tacked on three more runs in the fifth to put the ballgame away. Blaze Rominger led the attack, going 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.

Ottumwa took advantage of St. Paul’s wildness to turn the game around in the third. After loading the bases on two walks and an error, Dawson Lewis drew a bases-loaded walk for Ottumwa’s first run. Cale Leonard, Julian Moore and Lucas Barnes would also walk with the bases loaded, pulling Ottumwa within 6-4. Rominger cracked a two-run single to tie the game at six, and Trevor Summers’ RBI groundout gave Ottumwa the lead.

In the bottom of the fifth, Ottumwa loaded the bases with nobody out, and Barnes came home to score on a passed ball. Later in the inning, Corbin Grace laid down a bunt, and a St. Paul error allowed both Rominger and Summers to score.

Grace did his best work for Ottumwa on the mound. He came on in relief in the third inning after St. Paul had built its lead, and held them scoreless over the final four innings as his team rallied to win.

Armed with a 1-0 record in pool play, Ottumwa plays Thursday at noon against the team from Bismarck, North Dakota. A win would make it very likely for Ottumwa to advance to Saturday’s championship round. The top two teams from each four-team pool advance to a single-elimination, four-team bracket on Saturday for the regional title, with the winner advancing to the Babe Ruth World Series next month in Arkansas.