OTTAWA — Wednesday's senior day baseball game versus old rival Streator began with a great moment for the Ottawa Pirates, as senior leader Drew Doermann — unable to take the field the past two weeks due to injuries — took the bump to start the proceedings and delivered a taken strike to Streator leadoff man Peyton Phillis before leaving to a big ovation.
It ended with another great moment for Ottawa ... a come-from-behind win.
Ben Lundy delivered a line-drive, go-ahead single to center with two outs in the sixth inning, then southpaw Jared Herzog — who came on in relief after Doermann's emotional first pitch — set the Diamond Dogs down 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh to give the Pirates a 2-1, senior day win here on a beautiful sunny day at King Field.
"Drew would have been our senior leader, would have been our ace," said Pirates coach Tom Hart. "Unfortunately he's dealt with a tough year with injuries, so we thought that was a good way to honor him. He deserved it.
"Our seniors, it's a big difference between being a junior and a senior, and from the beginning of our winter workouts, our seniors have been leaders. They set the tone not only for the juniors but the rest of the athletes ... and I'm proud of them and glad they have this memory of coming out on top."
The seven OHS seniors — Nathan Weitzel, Ryan Wendt, Doermann, Logan Cheatham, Brandon Sauvageau, James Lang and Kates Hagi — were Nos. 1-7 on the Pirates' starting lineup card Wednesday, with Sauvageau delivering two singles, Weitzel, Cheatham and Lang singling, and Wendt plating Ottawa's first run.
Their junior teammates helped them come out on top in a great pitchers' duel between Herzog (7 IP, 1 ER, 10 K) and Bulldogs right-hander Zack Grabowski (6 IP, 1 ER, 5 K).
After Streator struck first on a Daniel Gonzalez walk followed by a Grabowski hit and a Brett Dresbach RBI single to center in the top of the second, Ottawa (14-15) tied the ballgame 1-1 in the fifth on a Herzog RBI triple to right made possible by a Bulldogs fielding error. Another error, ultimately erased by a fantastic 7-6-2, Logan Colter-to-Joey-Byers-to-John Benckendorf run-saving out at the plate, and a misplayed Wyatt Hill double opened the door for Lundy's game-winning hit in the sixth.
"A couple costly errors there really hurt us, and they took advantage of it with a nice base hit with two outs there," Bulldogs coach Beau Albert said. "It's just one of those things. We haven't gotten over the hump trying to find a way to win close ballgames, you know? We've always seemed to find a way to hurt ourselves and not get it done.
"We're running out of time. It's a tough one to swallow today, but you know, tip your hat to Herzog. He (and Zack) were great today."
"I thought both pitchers were so comfortable on the mound today," said Hart, "and Jared was in great rhythm. His offspeed was working, he was getting them off the barrel. (Grabowski) kept them in the game as well and got out of jams. We were just fortunate enough to get one more RBI hit than they did."
John Benckendorf doubled for Streator's lone extra-base hit.
At King Field, Ottawa
Ottawa 2, Streator 1
STREATOR (1) — Phillis cf 3-0-1-0, Colter lf 3-0-0-0, Byers ss 3-0-0-0, Benckendorf c 3-0-1-0, Gonzalez dh 1-1-0-0, Sharisky 2b 3-0-0-0, Grabowski p 3-0-1-0, Vickers 3b 3-0-0-0, Dresbach 1b 2-0-1-1, Cantrell rf 0-0-0-0, Dutko cr 0-0-0-0, Sember ph 1-0-0-0, McKinley cr 0-0-0-0. Totals 25-1-4-1.
OTTAWA (2) — Weitzel ss/3b 3-0-1-0, Wendt cf 3-1-0-0, Doermann p 0-0-0-0, Cheatham lf 3-0-1-0, Sauvageau 1b 3-0-2-0, Lang rf 1-0-1-0, Hagi 2b 1-0-0-0, Stevenson 3b 1-0-0-0, Mezel c 3-0-0-0, Herzog p 3-0-2-1, Ruger cr 0-0-0-0, Harth ph/rf 2-0-0-0, Hill ph/2b 2-1-1-0, Lundy ph/ss 2-0-1-1, Walsh cr 0-0-0-0. Totals 27-2-9-2.
Streator (11-14) 010 000 0 — 1 4 2
Ottawa (14-15) 000 011 x — 2 9 0
GIDP - Stevenson. LOB - Streator 4; Ottawa 7. 2B - Benckendorf, Hill. 3B - Herzog. SB - Wendt, Lundy. CS - none.
Streator ip r er h bb k
Grabowski (L) 6.0 2 1 9 0 5
Doermann 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
Herzog (W) 7.0 1 1 4 1 10