Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Baseball: Ottawa comes back twice to beat Streator 7-6

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STREATOR – Anyone who has played the game of baseball knows it can have its ups and downs.

For Ottawa’s Adam Swanson, the past month or so proves that point.

But in Tuesday’s game against rival Streator, it was another day on the top of the roller coaster for the sophomore catcher.

Swanson’s two-out single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning off Streator relief pitcher Landen Cook gave the Pirates the lead for good in an 8-7 victory over the Bulldogs at the SHS Athletic Fields.

“I was looking to stay back and hit the ball to the right side,” Swanson said. “The first pitch was a fastball middle-out, a perfect pitch to do that on, and I was able to shoot the ball that way.

“A few weeks back I went through a stretch where I was hitting the ball hard but right at people. Now the last week or so those same hard-hit balls are finding the grass. That’s baseball sometimes, but I do feel like I’m really starting to see the ball better than I have all season and been fortunate to be able to come through for the team a few times in big spots.”

“Adam has been getting big hits for us all season, but they are now starting to come more often. He’s only a sophomore, but he’s one of the leaders on this team. You just have the feeling when Adam comes up in a clutch situation, he’s going to get the job done. He did it again today.”

—  Tyler Wargo, Ottawa baseball coach

The win – in the game that was moved to Streator after rain left Ottawa’s King Field unplayable – improved the Pirates to 15-16 on the season. Streator fell to 12-18.

Colin Fowler came on to fire a 1-2-3 top of the seventh with a pair of strikeouts to close things out.

Lucas Farabaugh (5⅓ IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) was another hero for the Pirates as he recorded the third out with the bases loaded in the first after Streator had scored five runs, then allowed only one run over the next five innings.

“Lucas hasn’t had a ton of time on the mound recently, so for him to step up and do what he did for 5⅓ innings was really impressive,” Ottawa coach Tyler Wargo said. “He kept us in the game and did what we needed him to do. He came in right away in a tough spot, got out of it and then things going.

“Adam has been getting big hits for us all season, but they are now starting to come more often. He’s only a sophomore, but he’s one of the leaders on this team. You just have the feeling when Adam comes up in a clutch situation, he’s going to get the job done. He did it again today.

“This was the second straight game where we’ve gotten off to a slow start at the plate, but like [Monday], when we adjust and start thinking about hitting the ball up the middle or to the right side, that’s when things turn around for us.”

Streator grabbed the first-inning lead off Pirates starter Cam Loomis on a passed ball and four consecutive bases-loaded walks before Farabaugh took the mound.

“[Lucas] just came in and hit every spot I gave him,” Swanson said. “As a catcher I felt like I could call any pitch in any location in any count and Lucas was going to put it there. He was huge for us today.”

Ottawa clawed back with two runs in the third on an RBI double by Swanson and a sacrifice fly by Jackson Mangold off Streator starter Jake Hagie (5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 9 K). Then in the fifth, a two-run double by Jace Veith and a wild pitch tied the game at 5.

Streator took a 6-5 lead in the sixth as Landon Muntz smacked an RBI single to left to score Zander McCloskey, who doubled.

“We just couldn’t tack on against [Farabaugh], and hats off to him,” Streator coach Beau Albert said. “We were fortunate in the first inning to get some runs with some walks, but other than the run in the sixth, just weren’t able to really get too much going.

“Jake didn’t have his best stuff today but really grinded for us. We had a couple errors that hurt us in some key spots, and Ottawa took advantage of them.

“We want to win every game we play, but this week is also about everyone getting a few more at-bats or a few more innings heading into regionals next week. This wasn’t our best game, but we did have a few positives that hopefully can carry over to the end of this week and the postseason.”

Streator is back in action Wednesday at Morris, while Ottawa travels to play Geneseo on Thursday.

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