SHOTTS’ SLAM SALVAGES SPLIT FOR BULLDOGS

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(Written by Jason Van Arkel)–The Ottumwa softball team was its own worst enemy at times Tuesday night, but a final swing from the Bulldogs’ senior slugger provided a memorable finish to a sometimes frustrating evening.
Amber Shotts hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning, capping a 5-run rally as Ottumwa came from behind to beat Burlington 10-6 in the extra innings of game two. The blast allowed OHS to split the doubleheader after Burlington rallied past the Bulldogs 6-5 in the opener.
Ottumwa nearly let the second game get away from them, taking a 4-1 lead through four innings only to see Burlington tie the contest at five in the sixth. Both teams left runners in scoring position in the seventh, and when the Grayhounds pushed home a run in the top of the eighth, the Bulldogs stood on the verge of being swept.
In the bottom of the eighth, however, pinch-hitter Sydney Rockhold led off with an infield hit. Madelyn Houk re-entered to run, promptly stole second, then scored from second to tie the game on a wild pitch that rolled all the way over by the first-base dugout. One out later, Avery Franke doubled, Jocelyn Ware was intentionally walked, and Ella Allar reached on a dropped fly ball to load the bases.
That brought Shotts to the plate, who fell behind 1-2 before drilling a fly ball over the left-field fence for her second home run of the season. The senior went 5-for-9 with five RBI in the twin bill, boosting her total for the season to a team-best 13.
Game one also saw Ottumwa blow a lead, although they were unable to recover. The Bulldogs took a 4-2 lead into the top of the seventh, only to see Burlington push across four runs. OHS got one back in the bottom of the inning, but stranded the tying and winning runs on base.
Both game one starting pitchers, Ashlynn Sheets for Ottumwa and Saydee Plummer for Burlington, came on in relief in the second game and stayed until the finish, so both pitchers took home a win and a loss. Sheets, now 2-3 in the circle this season, also had a monster night at the plate, going 4-for-8 in the two games with three RBI. Bulldog second baseman Ella Allar went 4-for-9 with an RBI and four runs scored.
Ottumwa’s record sits at 3-5 after their third straight doubleheader split. They’ll look to get back to .500 tonight when they host Des Moines North in a CIML Metro Conference doubleheader.

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