It was an up-and-down season for the Ottumwa baseball team.
The Bulldogs’ 19-19 record is an accurate reflection of the vicissitudes Ottumwa experienced in Mike Egbert’s last season as head coach of the baseball program — Egbert has accepted a job as activities director at Clarke High School.
Egbert took over the reigns of the baseball program from previous coach Ryan Woods in 2010. Ottumwa has yet to hire his replacement.
The high point of the Bulldogs’ season came was a five-game winning streak that lasted from May 29 to June 2. That these victories occurred when Ottumwa’s offensive production was at its pinnacle is no coincidence. During the streak, the boys averaged more than 11 runs per game.
To some extent, the Bulldogs’ season was characterized by what could have been as opposed to what actually was. For example, the boys came within a hair’s length of upsetting mighty Cedar Rapids Kennedy at Lincoln Memorial Field, but ended up falling to the Cougars — who finished the regular season ranked second in Class 4A — 4-3. Ottumwa, however, gave a valiant effort in defeat and may have prevailed if one or two plays had gone differently.
Ottumwa also gave the Tigers of Valley High School — who finished the regular season ranked third in Class 4A — a run for their money in a doubleheader in Des Moines early in the season. Unfortunately, the Tigers were able to do just enough to win both games — they beat the Bulldogs 2-0 and 6-4. Still, even in defeat, the boys proved they could play with one the best teams in the state.
Kyle Keck, who will be a senior next season, was the Bulldogs’ main pitcher. He led Ottumwa’s pitching staff with five victories — Derek Craff came in second with three wins. Keck boasted an ERA of 3.53 and led the team in strikeouts with 46.
The highlight of Craff’s season was his one-hit shutout in Ottumwa’s 5-0 win over Fairfield — he retired the last 17 batters he faced.
Junior Blake Mooney turned in one of the most inspired pitching performances of the season for the Bulldogs. The Ottumwa junior gave up only two hits in seven innings in Ottumwa’s 7-0 win over Des Moines Hoover. Other players who saw time on the hill were Bryce Ward, Tyler Bramschreiber, Tyler Ollum, Cody Miller, Schulz, Clayton Baird and Karsten VanVelsor. Baird and Ollum are the only two seniors in this group.
Ottumwa shortstop Collin Schulz was the Bulldogs most reliable hitter. Schulz, who was the team’s No. 2 hitter and the only Bulldog to be selected for the all-district first team, led the team in a slew of categories including batting average, .452; slugging percentage, .661; on-base percentage,.492; doubles, 12; and total hits, 56.
The Bulldogs will lose two of their key hitters in seniors Luke McIntosh and Michael Collins. McIntosh and Collins tied for the second most RBI with 28. Additionally, McIntosh was named to the all-district second team and ranked second on the team with a .388 batting average. He also blasted the squad’s only home run.
Seth Griffiths was proficient as the Bulldogs’ leadoff hitter. Griffith’s .374 batting average was good enough to rank third on the team. In addition to leading the Bulldogs with nine triples, he was named to the all-district second team. From his position in centerfield, Griffiths used his ample speed to run down several line drives and fly balls that would have been hits if he weren’t so fleet of foot.
Keck was the Bulldogs’ most efficient hitter with runners on — he led team with 29 RBI. Besides being a reliable glove man at third base, Ollum also sported a respectable .313 batting average. And, though he only had 35 total at bats, Mooney amassed 14 hits and batted an impressive .400.
With a new coach and a number of returning juniors the Bulldogs will look to improve on what they accomplished this season.
Ottumwa Baseball Individual Statistics
Batting Average, 452; RBI, 19; Runs, 46.
BA,.388; RBI, 28; Runs, 4; Home Runs, 1.
BA, .374; RBI, 25; Runs, 30.
BA, .357; RBI, 28; Runs, 14.
BA, 333; RBI, 4; Runs, 6.
BA, 313; RBI, 11; Runs, 15.
BA, 312; RBI, 29; Runs, 18.
BA, 289; RBI, 10; Runs, 22.
BA, 400; RBI, 6, Runs 1.
BA, .227, RBI, 3; Runs, 12.
BA, .194; RBI, 4; Runs, 12.
BA, .167; RBI, 1; Runs, 1.
BA, .163, RBI, 6; Runs, 11.
BA, .087; RBI, 2; Runs, 22.
BA, .083; RBI, 0; Runs, 2.
BA 000, RBI O, Runs, 6.
Kyle Keck: 5-4, 3.83 ERA, 46.
Derek Craff: 3-7, 3.53 ERA, 30.
Blake Mooney: 2-2, 2.87 ERA, 16.
Ottumwa baseball Record (19-19)
Washington W 7-6
@Valley, West Des Moines L 2-0
@Valley, West Des Moines L 6-4
Ames W 12-11
Ames W 13-12
@Centerville W 8-2
CR Washington W 13-3
Creston W 11-1
DM Lincoln L 4-1
DM Lincoln L 10-3
CR Kennedy L 4-3
@DM North W 4-1
@DM North W 12-0
Urbandale W 5-4
Urbandale L 11-1
DM Roosevelt L 11-8
DM Roosevelt W 6-5
Fairfield W 5-0
DM Hoover W 13-1
DM Hoover W 6-5
@DM East L 16-1
@DM East L 7-5
@DM Lincoln L 5-2
@DM Lincoln L W 9-6
@Mount Pleasant L 5-4
North W 15-0
North W 11-1
@Bettendorf W 6-1
Roosevelt L 11-0
Roosevelt L 10-3
Dowling Catholic L 1-0
@Hoover L 5-4
@Hoover W 7-0
East L 8-0
East W 8-4
@Marshalltown L 4-1
@Marshalltown L 11-0
@Cedar Rapids, Prairie L 7-1
It was an up-and-down season for the Ottumwa baseball team.
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