STREATOR — For the second consecutive afternoon, the Ottawa baseball team put together a solid all-around effort and were rewarded with a victory.
The Pirates (4-4) used a strong complete-game performance on the mound from junior left-hander Tyler Carson and a trio of hits, plus a pair of outstanding catches in center field, from classmate Jared Herzog to hand rival Streator (2-1) its first loss of the season by a 5-2 count here Thursday at SHS Athletic Fields.
"This has been a nice two-game stretch for us, winning back-to-back close games," said Ottawa coach Tom Hart, his club getting a 3-2 win at St. Bede on Wednesday. "We scored a little earlier than we did (on Wednesday), which was a good confidence builder for Carson. We just want to keep working day after day to improve. Right now we are a .500 ballclub, but we have played pretty well the last couple of days for sure."
Carson allowed just two runs on four hits in his seven innings of work, walking four and striking out five. He retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced, sealing the triumph by fanning the final hitter of the game.
"T.C. had worked in relief for us a couple times this season and look good so we gave him a start today," said Hart. "He was really excited today and came out motivated. I thought the biggest key for him today was that he was around the plate. He was able to get ground balls and stayed below the barrel. His rhythm was great today."
Herzog put the Pirates on the board with two outs in the opening frame when he took a fastball the other way from Streator starter and losing pitcher Joey Byers (5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) down the left-field line to plate Ben Lundy, who had smacked a one-out single. The Pirates junior then made a diving catch to rob Bulldogs leadoff hitter Peyton Phillis to start the bottom of the frame.
"(Herzog) made an outstanding web-gem type of play against a really good hitter to start things off for us," said Hart. "(Streator) has guys up and down the lineup that are good line-drive hitters, so when you can get outs, especially on great plays like that, it just keeps everyone up."
Herzog began a Pirates' three-run third with a one-out, infield base hit. Drew Doermann followed with a come-backer to Byers, who turned and threw to second, but the ball was dropped for an error. Byers was able to get the second out, but Carson helped himself by driving a ball into the right-center field gap for a double to score both Herzog and Doermann. Logan Cheatham made it 4-0 by driving in courtesy runner Brad Ruger with a double of his own.
Streator answered in its half of the third to cut the margin in half. Mitch Vickers drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a single to right by James McGurk. Then, with two away, John Benckendorf and Byers lined back-to-back RBI singles to draw within 4-2.
"You have to tip your hat to (Carson), he was really good today at keeping us off-balance," said Streator coach Beau Albert. "We were able to hit a few balls well into the gaps, but it it just seemed like they hung up. I was really happy with our third inning at the plate with the bottom of the order setting things up for the top and then those guys coming through.
"I thought Joey threw the ball pretty well for us, but we also had a couple of errors behind him that Ottawa was able to take advantage of."
At SHS Athletic Fields
Ottawa 5, Streator 2
OTTAWA (5) — Weitzel 2b 3-0-0-0, Lundy ss 4-1-1-0, Sauvegeau 1b 4-0-1-0, Herzog cf 4-2-3-1, Doermann rf 3-1-1-0, Bruner 3b 4-0-0-0, Carson p 3-0-1-2, Ruger cr 0-1-0-0, Cheatham lf 3-0-2-1, Mezel c 3-0-0-0. Totals 31-5-9-5.
STREATOR (2) — Phillis cf 4-0-0-0, Benckendorf c 3-0-1-1, Colter cr 0-0-0-0, Byers p/ss 3-0-2-1, McKinnley cr 0-0-0-0, Grabowski dh 2-0-0-0, Ramon rf 0-0-0-0, Sharisky 2b 2-0-0-0, Cantrell ph/2b 1-0-0-0, Sember 3b 2-0-0-0, Gonzalez 1b 3-0-0-0, Vickers lf 1-1-0-0, McGurk ss 2-1-1-0, Bemont p 0-0-0-0, Dresbach ph 1-0-0-0. Totals 24-2-4-2.
Ottawa (4-4) 103 000 1 — 5 9 0
Streator (2-1) 002 000 0 — 2 4 2
DP — Ottawa 1. LOB — Ottawa 7, Streator 5. 2B — Herzog 2, Carson, Cheatham. HBP — Doermann (by Byers).
Ottawa ip h r er bb k
Carson (W) 7.0 4 2 2 4 5
Byers (L) 5.0 7 4 1 1 9
Bemont 2.0 1 1 0 0 4