Rejuvenated offense drives MCC softball to decisive sweep of Tritons
The bats never got going Wednesday.
On Friday, they rarely let up.
Jumping out to big leads in both games, the Marshalltown Community College softball team pounced on Iowa Central winning a 10-2 six-inning opener and a 12-0 five-frame rout in the nightcap at home.
Just two days removed from a hitless doubleheader defeat against then-ninth-ranked ranked Kirkwood, the Tigers took out their offensive frustrations on the Tritons early totaling 22 runs and 23 hits, while scoring in 9 of their 10 at-bats.
“When you get that (early) lead it’s a lot easier to pitch and play defense,” MCC coach Jeff Lamb said. “You’re a lot looser and you can do some different things. I’d rather play this way, but at the same time I think we’re a pretty good team to play from behind.”
MCC (8-11, 4-4) didn’t have an opportunity to show their rally capabilities in either game of the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference Division II twin bill. The Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 advantage two innings into the opener before blitzing to a 6-0 lead in the first frame of the nightcap.
Scoring all three of its runs with two outs in the first inning of game one, MCC stretched the margin to 7-0 in the second. Marisa Basham highlighted the burst with an RBI double before two more runs came in on a Triton error and passed ball.
A solo shot from Sammie Hildreth put Iowa Central (9-15, 1-5) on the board in the top of the fourth, but MCC countered with a run from Brooke Dunkin in the bottom of the inning. The Tritons tacked on one more run in the fifth, but MCC answered again by plating Whitney Baker.
Using small ball through much of the game while taking advantage of four Triton errors, the Tigers left with the long ball as their calling card as Sarah Wilson cranked a walk-off homer for the run-rule shortened victory in the bottom of the sixth.
Wilson, Basham and Erica White each batted 2-for-4, while Wilson drove in two runs. Basham and Alexis Farren each plated one run as the Tigers won for the sixth time in their last eight games.
Wilson and her cohorts picked up where they left off in the next game as the Ottumwa freshman crushed a three-run homer in the bottom of the first to push MCC’s lead to 6-0.
Brianna James added a two-run shot in the second, before Dunkin plated Basham in the third. The Tigers pushed past the 10-run threshold in the bottom of the fourth stringing together an RBI double from Wilson and an RBI single from Bear before Wilson scored the final run on a fielder’s choice.
“Sarah had a big day,” Lamb said of Wilson, who finished 5-of-7 with two home runs and six RBI. “She’s starting to get on top of balls rather than popping them up. She’s got to start pulling in a little bit and she did that a couple times.”
It was one of many minor adjustments Lamb has seen from his ever-improving offense.
“Marisa is always going to be Marisa, but Hailee has a made a huge adjustment with her offense and Brianna is getting her front foot down so she’s loaded early,” he said. “They’re just getting some little things done and that’s helping them out a lot.”
Wilson and Brianna James each went 3-for-3 at the dish, while Basham was 2-of-3. Wilson drove in four runs and James knocked in three. Dunkin, Mackenzie Gott, White, Jacklyn Bear and Holli Baker each brought in a run as well, as the Tigers pounced on four more Triton errors. James and White both scored three runs, while Wilson and Basham crossed the plate twice and Dunkin and Gott each added a run.
Mackenzie VanDenBerg broke up Taylor Vaske’s no-hitter, slapping a double in the third. The sophomore was saddled with the loss from the circle in the early game giving up 10 runs (four earned) on nine hits, while walking two and striking out three in five and two-thirds innings.
Stacy Roggentein was on the winning side of the first game allowing two earned runs on seven hits, while striking out four in six innings. Vaske tossed a one-hit shutout and retired two batters on strikes in five innings as neither Tiger hurler gave up a walk. Defensively, the Tigers also were sharp committing just one error in the doubleheader.
“We’re getting a lot better defensively, but we’ve got a lot of room to grow,” Lamb said. “Our pitching is solid all the way around. Stacy and Taylor have been just unreal at this point. They’re going to continue to give us what they got and when we get to May, hopefully they’re stronger than they are now.”
Iowa Central’s Kaitlyn Morris took the loss in the nightcap allowing 12 runs (seven earned) on 14 hits, while striking out one and walking one in four innings. The Tritons have lost five straight and nine of their last 11.
The Tigers head to Southeastern today for a twin bill starting at 1 p.m, before facing Carl Sandburg College on the road Sunday in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.
Both teams were coming off the short end of double-dip sweeps against No. 9-ranked Kirkwood. … Play was suspended briefly in the bottom of the first inning of the opener when a cat crept into center field before being carried off. … Dunkin scored twice in game one, while Basham, Gott, White, Alexis Farren, Wilson, Emmeline Huffaker and Beals each crossed home once.