The Ottumwa High baseball team will have a chance to host one or even two substate playoff games this season, after learning Wednesday who their potential opponents will be in the substate tournament. OHS’ group includes four conference opponents–Des Moines East, Des Moines Lincoln, Des Moines Hoover and Indianola–along with West Des Moines Valley.
East, with only two losses all season and a top-five ranking, is a virtual lock for the #1 seed, while a 3-win Hoover team is all but sure to be the bottom seed at #6. Of the other four teams, Ottumwa currently has the best record at 13-9, with Lincoln, Indianola and Valley all hovering right around the .500 mark. The Bulldogs also own wins over every team in the group except East, having swept Valley, Indianola and Hoover , plus earning a doubleheader split with Lincoln. OHS still has a doubleheader to play against each of its conference foes.
In the substate format, all six teams will play in the opening round, with the #1 seed facing the #6 seed, #2 against #5 and #3 versus #4. In the second round, the highest remaining seed gets a bye to the substate final, where they face the winner of a game between the remaining two teams.
In this grouping, it would be highly unlikely for Hoover to beat East in the opening round, meaning the Scarlets are all but certain to secure a second-round bye. However, if Ottumwa can secure the #2 seed, they would play at home in both the first and second rounds. Furthermore, if they make it to the substate final, East would have to find a neutral field for the game because the Scarlets do not have lights at their stadium.
The brackets for substate play are expected to be set in a couple of weeks.