Tigers find pair of paths around NIACC

Even when its offense is largely absent, the Marshalltown Community College softball team finds ways to win.

Taking advantage of a couple North Iowa Area Community College miscues with some aggressive baserunning, the Tigers rallied for an 11-6 victory in the opener before hanging on for a 3-2 win behind a stellar outing from Stacy Roggentein in the nightcap.

The Iowa Community College Athletic Conference Division II sweep helped the Tigers move to 6-4 in the conference and 11-13-1 overall.

Though quiet for much of game one, the Tigers’ bats came alive in the bottom of the fifth.

Trailing 6-3, Erica White got things started with a single, before a double from Alexis Farren and a walk to Brianna James loaded the bases. Whitney Baker cleared them with a grounder past NIACC shortstop Hailey Eckstein – one of two Trojan errors on the play, to knot the score. Pinch runner Erin Huffaker tied it on a misplay by NIACC catcher Anna Shurtz.

The Tigers added to their tally as Baker scored on a passed ball and Marisa Basham reached home on a wild pitch. The latter play dealt another blow to the Trojans as pitcher Paige Thompson – a Gladbrook native – reinjured her knee while trying to make the tag at home and was helped off the field.

Brooke Dunkin reached home on a double steal, before White – in her second plate appearance of the inning – capped the flurry with a RBI double to push the margin to 10-6.

“That’s our game,” MCC coach Jeff Lamb said of his team’s comeback win in the first game.

“We’ve just got to put the ball in play and make (the defense) make plays. We know we’re going to get some kind of power from our bats, but we also need to run the bases effectively.”

Farren added some cushion with a solo shot in the sixth as Taylor Vaske picked up the win allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits, while striking out six and walking two in seven innings.

Despite another double-digit scoring effort, Lamb wanted to see more adjustments from his team at the plate.

“We’ve really got to adjust better,” MCC coach Jeff Lamb said of his team’s performance at the dish. “The first time through the order I’m okay with not having our best at bats, but the second and third time through we’ve got to do a better job.”

Outside of their seven-run surge, MCC’s other three runs came on a solo shot from Basham in the first and a two-run homer by Mackenzie Gott in the third as NIACC (6-10, 1-7) never trailed until the fifth. White finished 4-for-4 with two doubles and two runs, while Farren finished 3-for-3 with two runs and a RBI. Janae Annetts took the loss allowing six runs (one earned) on four hits, while walking four and striking out one in 2 and 2/3 innings.

The Tigers didn’t need much from their offense in the nightcap as Stacy Roggentein kept the Trojans’ bats at bay throughout.

“You know when you put Stacy on the mound you’re going to get one hell of an outing,” Lamb said of the Marengo sophomore who allowed just two earned runs on five hits, while striking out six and walking three.

“I feel like she can pitch against anybody and I think she’ll be able to carry us a long way.”

MCC gave Roggentein all the run support she’d need in the bottom of the first after Harley Lindell’s RBI single plated Cassie Pappas in the top of frame. Sarah Wilson’s double brought home Basham to even the score before White added a two-run shot.

Though the Trojans threatened with a one-out RBI double from Lindell in the top of the sixth, Roggentein calmly retired the next two batters on strikes.

The sophomore’s cool composure came as no surprise to Lamb, who noted his pitcher’s easy-going demeanor and energy in keeping the defense relaxed.

“When I come out to the circle and say something, she’s always got a nice little comment for me. She is very interactive and funny and that helps a lot with the defense,” Lamb said.

“Stacy has taken over a leadership role and when she’s in the circle, everyone wants to be behind her.”

The happy-go-lucky approach also seems to keep Roggentein relaxed, but still focused on the task at hand.

“I just focused on hitting my spots and not letting (NIACC) take control of the game,” said Roggentein, who keeps things light with teammates so that her defense doesn’t tighten up.

“I like keeping it friendly and joking around and stuff. When someone makes a mistake they just get back up again.”

Farren batted 2-for-3 to account for half of the Tigers’ hits, while Wilson and White each went 1-for-3. White drove in two runs and Wilson plated one.

NIACC’s Nicole Duford took the loss allowing three earned runs on four hits, while striking out two and walking two in six innings.

The Tigers continue league play with a doubleheader at home today against Iowa Lakes with first pitch set for noon.