Perhaps more than any other sport, small plays can lead to big changes in the outcome of a baseball game. The Ottumwa baseball team found that out the hard way Monday night in Mason City.
The Bulldogs dropped a pair of hard-fought games to the Mohawks, falling 2-1 and 7-3 at Roosevelt Field. OHS drops to 9-10 with two games left in the regular season.
Game one was a classic pitchers’ duel. Ottumwa scratched across a run in the third on a bases loaded, infield single by starting pitcher Brody Evans. Mason City tied it in the fourth, but Evans would escape further damage twice in the game by inducing double-play ground balls.
The game finally turned in the seventh. In the top half of the inning, with Mitch Wood on first, Jesus Jaime doubled to the wall in right. Wood tried to score all the way from first, but was thrown out at the plate by an eyelash to end the frame. In the bottom half, Avery Mellman walked with two outs for Mason City. He attempted to steal second, and although Wood and the rest of the Bulldogs were convinced he had tagged him in time, he was called safe. On the very next pitch, Carter Thomas singled to drive in Mellman for the walkoff win.
Ottumwa had an early 2-0 lead in game two thanks to RBIs from Andrew Cole and Trae Swartz, but Mason City got one back in the fourth, and had a runner on third with two men out. Cole then walked the Mohawks’ number-nine hitter, Luie Rivera, who came into the night batting just .136. That brought up the top of the order, where Mellman, Thomas an Alex Gold hit back-to-back-to-back doubles, giving Mason City a 5-2 lead.
Ottumwa got a run back in the sixth, but left the bases loaded and still trailing by two. Mason City put the game away in the bottom of the sixth, putting runners on second and third thanks to a walk and a fly ball that fell in after it was lost in the lights. Thomas executed a steal of home, and Gold stole third behind him, then came home when the throw got away.
Ottumwa wraps up the regular season tonight at home with a doubleheader against Des Moines East. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 on 1240 AM/102.7 FM KBIZ, and the live video stream on this website.