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The Ottumwa High softball team is headed to the state tournament for the third time in the past four seasons, beating Iowa City West 5-4 in a thrilling regional final Tuesday night at Huston Field.  The Bulldogs will enter the state tournament with a 36-6 record, while the Women of Troy end their season at 22-20.

Playing as the visiting team on its home field for the second straight game–having lost the pregame coin toss–OHS got off to a quick start with two runs in the top of the first, with the first run scoring on an error and the second on an RBI groundout by Beth Overturf.  Ottumwa couldn’t get a hit for the next three innings, however, and Iowa City West took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the fourth.

The Bulldogs had their backs against the wall, but responded in the top of the sixth.  Alex Winn led off with a single, and pinch-runner Ashlyn Thompson went to second on a sacrifice bunt.  An infield single by Sydney Strunk put runners on the corners, and after Strunk stole second, Kassadi Henderson hit a two-out, two-run double to put OHS back in front.

Winn would add an RBI double in the top of the seventh, which proved to be crucial when the Women of Troy plated a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.  Pitching with the tying and winning runs on base, Mandi Moore got the last batter to ground out to second, preserving the 5-4 victory.

Ottumwa will enter next week’s state tournament as the #2 seed in Class 5A.  They’ll face a familiar opponent in the quarterfinals next Tuesday: Cedar Rapids Jefferson, which upset top-ranked Muscatine in their regional final.  OHS has beaten Jefferson twice this season, with a 4-2 win in 13 innings at Jefferson in June, and a 10-5 win over the J-Hawks in the Ottumwa Classic.

The Bulldogs play at 7:30 Tuesday evening on Diamond 2 at Rogers Park in Fort Dodge.  The game and all of Ottumwa’s state tournament games will be broadcast on 1240 KBIZ.

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