Carter Church returned to the dugout with a request.
“I need a towel, or something, please,” Ogden’s relief pitcher exclaimed Tuesday after working through a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the sixth inning.
It was a sticky situation, on an evening when temperatures hovered in the mid-90s, but Church recorded two strikeouts and induced a pop up in foul territory, keeping the Bulldogs on track for a 6-3 win over Woodward-Granger in a Class 2-A District baseball semifinal.
“I was cramping up pretty bad,” Church said. “I was overheating a little bit.”
Ogden starter Jacob Craven worked out of multiple tight spots during the first five innings, preventing Woodward-Granger from avenging a pair of regular-season losses.
After the Hawks scored twice in the first inning, Craven squelched other potential rallies in the third inning (with runners at first and second and just one out), fourth inning (runner at third, one out) and fifth inning (runner at second, no outs).
“Just concentrating on what I need to do,” Craven said of his approach. “Having confidence in myself, having confidence in what I do.”
Craven ended up the winning pitcher, improving to 8-1 on the season, after striking out eight and walking one.
Church earned the save after closing out the last two innings with three strikeouts and no walks.
Ogden will take a 23-5 record into Saturday’s District championship game at Van Meter.
Woodward-Grange (19-10) finished with a total of six hits.
“These seniors, we want to let them keep playing,” Church, a junior, said of advancing. “That’s our goal.”
Church also contributed to a four-run, first-inning by Ogden’s batting lineup, delivering a two-run double.
“First pitch, he threw me a curve ball,” Church said of Woodward-Granger’s Brandon Worley. “So, I figured he’d try to grove a fastball to get up in the count.
“Sure enough, he did. And I drove it into the gap.”
Kayden Kruse plated the Bulldogs’ first run with a double off the right-field fence. Woodward-Granger’s early 2-0 advantage disappeared.
“We knew we had to answer right back on them,” Craven said, “get them down, again.”
The Bulldogs seemed comfortably in control, leading 4-2, until the sixth inning, when a miscommunication on a grounder to first, a double and a fielder’s choice put the tying and lead runs on base for Woodward-Granger.
A timeout was called and Church took a few moments to refocus.
“I just figured, hit my spots,” Church said. “If I hit my spots and trust myself enough, I’ll get them out.”
He did, and Ogden moved on.
“It feels even better knowing that we can play another day,” Craven said. “We have a few days off.
“Kind of relax, get some practice in, get done what we need to get done.”