Prep baseball: Ottumwa opens baseball season with split at Valley

May 15—WEST DES MOINES — No lead proved to be safe on Tuesday as Ottumwa and West Des Moines Valley battled right down to the final pitch in a thrilling season-opening doubleheader.

Not once, but twice, the visiting Bulldogs erased late Tiger leads scoring seven runs in the final two innings including a six-run rally in the seventh lifting Ottumwa to a 9-3 win in the first game of the season for both teams. The Bulldogs came within one pitch of pulling off another comeback win in game two, rallying from a 3-1 deficit in the seventh to take a 4-3 lead over Valley before a two-out RBI double by Kaleb Juull tied the game, setting up Charlie Krueger for a walk-off two-run home run that clinched a 6-4 win for the Tigers to secure a split.

Daltin Doud led Ottumwa at the plate in the first game of the season, going 3-4 while scoring two of Ottumwa's nine runs. Tucker Long drove in Doud in the opening inning of the season, giving the Bulldogs a quick 1-0 lead in the opening contest before Dawson Weller came home to score on a double steal in the second inning, tying the score at 2-2.

Logan Hicks homered over the fence in left in the bottom of the third, giving Valley a 3-2 lead that would remain in tact until the top of the sixth. Consecutive two-out hits by Braylon Griffiths and Doud, followed by a walk drawn by Matt Mitchell, loaded the bases moving Griffiths into position to score the tying run on a wild pitch.

Ottumwa (1-1) continued the opening-game rally in the seventh inning with hits by Brayden Larking and Cameron Manary along with a walk to Andrew Evans loading the bases. Consecutive fielding errors by the Tigers allowed all three baserunners to score before consecutive bases-loaded walks by winning relief pitcher Landon Boney and Long lifted OHS to an 8-3 lead without recording an out.

Long picked up another run-scoring hit in game two of Tuesday's doubleheader, driving in state long jump qualifier Chase Thompson in the third inning of the nightcap with an RBI infield single tying the game at 1-1. Jacob Koerselman's RBI double in the fourth put Valley (1-1) back on top before Colton Roemmich's RBI double to left in the bottom of the fifth put the Tigers up 3-1.

Ottumwa again stepped up in the seventh, opening the final inning with three hits and a walk cutting Valley's lead to 3-2 on an RBI single by Weller with one out. Down to their final out with two runners in scoring position, Jace Mitchell hit a ground ball to second base that led to a throwing error that brought Larkin and Manary home, giving the Bulldogs a 4-3 lead.

After traveling to Indianola on Wednesday night for a single varsity contest, Ottumwa will be off until opening the second week of the regular season welcoming in Ames for a home-opening varsity doubleheader on May 22 starting at 5 p.m.