OTTAWA — Prior to the start of Tuesday's rescheduled Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division contest against La Salle-Peru, Ottawa honored its 13 senior members as part of senior day festivities.
Then from the very first inning, many of those 12th-grade Pirates had a huge hand in the hosts defeating the Cavaliers 6-0 in the rubber game of the three-game series here at Masinelli Field.
Ottawa senior lefty starter and winning pitcher Jared Herzog was lights out as he allowed just three hits with one walk and four strikeouts during his complete-game shutout.
"That right there is what Jared is capable of doing each time he takes the mound," said OHS coach Brent Moore. "We have seen glimpses of that throughout the season and he's been a very good pitcher for us in his senior year. Today really capped that off in terms of him getting in the right flow heading into regional time.
"Our defense was spot on today ... we preach pitch to contact and let your defense do the work ... We are trusting each other right now as a team and are playing the right way at the right time. It was a good team win, especially for the seniors."
Ottawa (13-13, 6-5) gave Herzog what proved to be all the runs he would need in the bottom of the first. Senior Wyatt Hill drew a one-out walk off L-P starting and losing pitcher John Washkowiak and senior Ben Lundy followed with a single to center. Cleanup hitter John Bruner then smacked the first pitch he saw deep to the left-center field gap for a two-run double.
"I came into today struggling a little the last few games," said Bruner, the senior designated hitter. "I had a couple guys on base and I was just looking to make solid contact. It was the first pitch, but it was also right where I was looking for it. It's a good feeling to hit the ball like a did and also give the team an early lead."
The Pirates added two more runs in the fourth as Bradley Ruger laced a one-out double to left-center and moved to third on Peter Walsh's second infield single of the game. Herzog followed with a RBI infield base hit and Walsh later scored on one of the Cavs three errors.
"Ottawa was just better than us today ... they proved it and wanted it more," said L-P coach Matt Glupczynski, his club now 13-13 overall and 4-7 in league action. "They fielded the baseball clean and we did not, they were able to put the pressure on us and we weren't able to do the same against them.
"I thought John pitched a pretty good game and we hit the ball hard a few times, but those just didn't find holes."
Ottawa added single runs in the fifth and sixth on an Alex Stevenson two-out RBI double following Tyler Carson's single and Bruner's single that scored Noah Gould.
Herzog, who gave up doubles to Nathan Hachenberger and Jake Dahl plus a single to Ky Copeland, finished strong by retiring 11 of the final 12 batters he faced, three of the final four via strikeout.
"I started off the game a little slow by throwing three straight pitches in the dirt," Herzog said with a laugh. "But I was able to come back, get that batter and kind of settled in after that. My defense was great behind me all game long.
"My breaking ball was really working for me today and I was able to keep them off-balance, twisting and turning at it. Getting those two runs in the first were huge. it really took a lot of stress away going out in the second inning already with a lead."
Ottawa look stay hot as they host Geneseo today in Pirates final NIB 12 Conference game.
At Masinelli Field, Ottawa
Ottawa 6, La Salle-Peru 0
LA SALLE-PERU (0) — Hachenberger rf 3-0-1-0, Derlein lf 3-0-0-0, Reese ss 3-0-0-0, Dahl 1b 3-0-1-0, Weber 3b 2-0-0-0, Copeland ph 1-0-1-0, Yanish dh 2-0-0-0, Washkowiak p 0-0-0-0, Pohar p 0-0-0-0, Mitchell 2b 3-0-0-0, Rodriguez c 2-0-0-0, Lenkaitis cf 2-0-0-0. Totals 24-0-3-0.
OTTAWA (6) — Herzog p 3-0-1-1, Hill 3b 2-1-0-0, Rick ph 1-0-0-0, Lundy ss 3-1-1-0, Bruner dh 4-0-2-3, Mezel c 0-0-0-0, McCoy rf 2-0-0-0, Carson cf 2-1-1-0, Stevenson 1b 3-0-1-1, Ruger 2b 3-1-1-0, Walsh lf 2-1-2-0, Gould 1-1-0-0. Totals 26-6-9-5.
La Salle-Peru (13-13, 4-7) 000 000 0 — 0 3 3
Ottawa (13-13, 6-5) 200 211 x — 6 9 0
DPT — La Salle-Peru 1. LOB — La Salle-Peru 4, Ottawa 8. 2B — Hachenberger, Dahl, Bruner, Stevenson, Ruger. SB — McCoy.
La Salle-Peru ip r er h bb k
Washkowiak (L, 0-2) 4.0 4 3 6 4 1
Pohar 2.0 2 1 3 2 0
Herzog (W, 4-5) 7.0 0 0 3 1 4