Ott leading the way for undefeated Warriors

Logan Ott appeared at ease last week. Whether allowing just one run in six innings or going 5 for 7 offensively, the Montoursville sophomore looked like a 15-year-old simply enjoying the game he loves.

That is exactly how he planned it.

Ott verbally committed to play baseball at Maryland last fall. Just like that, Ott mapped out his future. Just like that, any stress worrying about where he might go disappeared. The future is bright, but Ott can really savor these next three seasons.

And right now there is a lot to enjoy. Ott has built off a strong freshman season, is developing into one of the district’s premier players and Montoursville is 4-0 for the first time this decade.

“It takes a lot of pressure off. I don’t have to worry about it the next two years,” Ott said following a 6-3 win against Milton. “I don’t have to be in a rush to decide and gets a lot off your shoulders.”

Ott is off to a super start. The left-hander is 2-0 on the mound, allowing just one run and five hits in 11 innings while striking out 20. He threw four shutout innings against defending District 4 Class AAA champion Loyalsock and threw five shutout innings Wednesday against Danville when he struck out nine. Ott throws hard, but is a pitcher’s pitcher who effectively mixes pitches, moves the ball all over and can paint the corners.

Oh yeah, Ott can hit, too. He went 4 for 4 against Danville and is an extra-base hit threat in the middle of the order. Ott sprays the ball to all fields and just missed two home runs in each of Montoursville’s first two games.

Baseball runs through Ott’s blood. His uncle Ed won a World Series playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979, his father Tom was a part of some terrific Montoursville teams, and his brothers Cameron and Nolan both were standout catchers at Montoursville earlier this decade. Ott followed his brothers around, learned from his entire family and has put all that knowledge, all that talent to good use.

“He’s been groomed since Day 1. It’s a baseball family and he grew up with it,” Montoursville coach Jeremy Eck said. “He is different. He’s one of these guys you can to and say, ‘Ok Logan, go out there and find a way for us and get it done,’ and he does.”

Ott has been doing that since he first learned to throw and hit. He stood out on a Little League team that captured Montoursville’s first Section championship since 2002 and then began playing for U.S.A. Elite Travel Baseball, competing against some of the country’s best teams and players. That is where Ott was really discovered as Division I schools started taking significant interest.

That also is where Ott really started taking his game to the next level.

“We go all down the East Coast and across the country,” Ott said. “It’s a lot of exposure when you play travel ball. You play the best of the best, so it makes you better, too.”

That travel ball experience opened many doors. Ott had several options and more might have become available had he waited longer.

But Maryland proved especially appealing. Ott liked the coaching staff and really liked the idea of playing fairly close to home. Maryland is looking at Ott as both an outfielder and a pitcher and it feels like a perfect fit. There really was no reason to wait, so Ott verbaled.

“It was mostly the coaching staff. It’s the youngest coaching staff in college baseball and they are really good coaches,” Ott said. “It’s really close for my family to be able to watch. Having the coaching staff they do and the location is what really got me.”

Montoursville also features a strong coaching staff that includes a two-time state champion, a state finalist and a potential future Hall of Famer, among others. Eck coached three players who received Division I scholarships at Loyalsock and the staff knows all about big-time baseball.

The goal now is to make sure Ott is ready when he becomes a Terp. That should not be a difficult challenge either. Ott is a hard worker who remains unsatisfied.

The work continues. But now Ott can fully enjoy the journey.

“As a coach, I’ve been through it and I want him to be able to enjoy this. I talk to these guys about how there’s nothing like high school baseball. When you go to college and play, especially at the Division I level, now it is a job,” Eck said. “We have to continue to challenge Logan to make sure he’s getting better so we’re preparing for the next level. I think our staff is capable of doing that for him but, he’s just a big kid. You watch him and he wants to win, but he’s out there having fun.”

EXTRA BASES

Montgomery (4-3) has turned its season around following a slow start and won three games in four days to end its week. The Red Raiders highlighted that resurgence with a comeback win against St. John Neumann and a 6-3 win over Warrior Run Saturday at Bowman Field. Gage Yohn struck out 11 against Neumann and Brayden Strouse and Hunter Budman combined on a six-hitter against Warrior Run. Eithan Marino had two hits in each of those three wins … Lewisburg rallied late for a second straight year to beat Loyalsock in walk-off fashion, edging it 4-3 after trailing 3-0 in the fourth inning. Lewisburg (3-4) capped its week with a 9-3 win over Milton as freshman Josh Heath homered and drove in four runs. Dakotah Snyder and Aaron Hoover threw complete-games in the wins … Loyalsock (3-2) bounced back from the Lewisburg loss in impressive fashion, handing Mifflinburg its first loss in six games and winning, 7-2. Eric Holz threw a complete-game 5-hitter and improved to 2-0 while also collecting three hits. Mitch Klingerman doubled twice an Logan Edmonds hit a 3-run home run … North Penn-Mansfield scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to edge Towanda, 5-4. Dylan Williamson hit two doubles, Kipp Hillson had two hits and Dewey Wise ripped a walk-off single … Muncy sophomore Christian Good hit a home run and struck out six in three strong innings of relief as Muncy rallied late to beat Benton, 9-7 … South Williamsport pitchers Tripp Breen and Peter Sinibaldi combined to throw a no-hitter in a 5-0 win at Bloomsburg and first baseman Ben Johnson went 5 for 11 with two doubles in three games last week.

Dr. Masse’s Top 5 Baseball Teams

1. Montoursville (4-0)

Ott, Owen Kiess and Gabe Phillips all are pitching well, allowing just five runs in four games. Each pitcher has a save and Kiess is 2-0. Montoursville broke out offensively in 10-0 and 7-3 wins at Danville and Lewisburg, delivering 27 hits. Freshman Dylan Moll is making a nice impact, hitting a go-ahead, 2-run single against Milton and added a double and three stolen bases against Lewisburg. Ryan Kessler is coming on as well and delivered a two-run triple in that win. The Warriors lead the HAC-II, but have challenging games coming Wednesday and Thursday against Central Mountain and league rival Mifflinburg (5-1).

2. Jersey Shore (4-1)

The Bulldogs are winning games in different ways, using stellar pitching to beat Central Mountain, 2-1 and erupting for 13 hits in a 7-6 win over Shamokin. Jersey Shore has won four straight and the Central Mountain win was especially impressive, coming against a team with which it shared last year’s HAC-I championship and that had been looking dominant. Timmy Saar and Brandon DePasqua combined on a 5-hitter in that win and Aaron Best was brilliant in wins against Shikellamy and Shamokin, allowing no runs in 6 1/3 innings while going 1-0 with a save. Koby Peacock homered against Shamokin and both DePasqua and Colby Willits went 3 for 4.

3. Central Mountain (5-1)

One should take some time and admire the 23-game hitting streak catcher Asher Corl put together between early last season and this year. The streak ended against Jersey Shore, but he was still productive in that game, drawing three walks and stealing two bases. Corl has been one of the area’s most complete players the last two seasons and went back to hitting in Friday’s 12-2 win against Midd-West, finishing 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Central Mountain features one of the area’s deeper pitching staffs and Aaron Swartz has 15 strikeouts in his last two starts. Zane Probst has been stifling in relief, not allowing a hit and striking out seven in 6 2/3 innings.

4. Williamsport (3-4)

A return to Pennsylvania has done the Millionaires wonders. After struggling at the Mingo Bay Classic, Williamsport won its first two in-state games by a 23-1 margin, battering league rivals Hollidaysburg and Punxsutawney. The Millionaires pounded out 28 hits and six players recorded multi-hit performances. Brayton Rowello and Riley Hilner had three hits in the 13-1 win at Hollidaysburg and Cam Pardoe delivered two hits in each game. Kyle Caringi threw six shutout innings, Cody Shimp was strong in relief against Punxsutawney and Tanner Esposito struck out 11 in four innings at Hollidaysburg. District 2 bases seeding upon league records and being 2-0 in the Central Penn League provides a strong start to build upon.

5. Wellsboro (4-1)

Sophomore Carson Davis threw a 3-hit shutout in a 2-0 win against defending District 4 Class AAAA champion, making him the third Green Hornets pitcher to throw seven innings and allow one run or no runs in a start. Two days later, Wellsboro’s offense showed it can do damage as well, producing 12 hits in a 10-6 win over Towanda. Kaedenn Mann hit his first scholastic home run and sophomore Billy Lechler was 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs. Caleb and Cameron Tennis are having good seasons and both had two hits. Wellsboro has won three straight and battered rival North Penn-Mansfield, 17-0 last Monday as Caleb Tennis went 3 for 3 with a grand slam and five RBIs.

Players of the Week

Quentin Brown, Williamsport and

Hunter Corbin, South Williamsport

Brown developed into one of the area’s top hitters last season and has started his senior season in torrid fashion. The senior outfielder went 6 for 8 with a home run, two doubles and six RBIs in two games last week. Brown had three hits in each game and is hitting .524 with two home runs, five doubles and eight RBIs. Corbin delivered with his arm and his bat last week, throwing nine strong innings and allowing only an earned run. Corbin shut down Montgomery in a 9-2 win and went 4 for 7 with a home run, two doubles and three RBIs against Bloomsburg and undefeated Central Columbia.

Game of the Week

Holy Redeemer at Williamsport

It is tempting to go with either Jersey Shore-Loyalsock or Wellsboro-Jersey Shore here, but Holy Redeemer reached last year’s Class AAA state championship and Wednesday’s game will be played under the lights at Bowman Field so it earns the call. Williamsport has turned it around after returning to Pennsylvania and this will be a good test against a team that blanked Loyalsock, 4-0 in last year’s state semifinals.

Masse may be reached at cmasse@sungazette.com. Follow him on Twitter at @docmasse

COMMENTS