Bobcat baseball finally close out Newton, 5-3

NEWTON – The long-awaited completion of the Marshalltown baseball team’s season-opening home doubleheader finally met its end Tuesday in Newton, with the Bobcats picking up a 5-3 victory.

Rain forced the two teams off the MHS diamond during the top of the fourth inning on May 20, not long after the Cardinals had captured the opener, 4-2. With the continuation game postponed twice, Tuesday’s third scheduling turned out to be the charm despite rain during the day.

The Bobcats (3-4) scored three times in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 2-all tie, and senior Blake Judkins closed out Newton’s comeback attempt for junior pitcher Dylan Diveney by converting his second save of the season.

The win ended a brief three-game skid for Marshalltown.

“Coming off of a couple losses on Monday, it was nice to get a chance to play and win tonight,” said MHS coach Steve Hanson.

When they first met, Judkins had just given the Bobcats a 2-1 lead with his two-run triple in the bottom of the third. Michael Schrempf, who had singled, and Grant Thimesch, who had walked, scored ahead of the hit to center field.

Now playing as the visitors on its home field, Newton (3-3) notched the tying run in the top of the fifth. Levi Michener walked and Mike McCormick doubled with no outs, but Diveney got a strikeout before Chandler Sturtz drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Another flyout ended the inning.

Marshalltown finally broke free in the sixth, starting with a leadoff walk to Mason McCarville. Diveney’s sacrifice bunt moved him into scoring position, and an error on Colton Hanke’s hard-hit grounder put runners on the corners.

Derek Mann loaded the bases when he reached on a catcher’s interference call, and the Bobcats got the go-ahead run when Newton had nowhere to go but second base for the force-out on Schrempf’s batted ball.

After Hanke swiped home plate, Ryan Mitchell doubled in Schrempf to give MHS a quick 6-3 advantage.

Diveney walked the leadoff batter in the seventh but the Bobcat defense erased it with a double play. Another walk and Tyler Wood’s single brought Judkins to the mound, but Sturtz greeted Marshalltown’s closer with a run-scoring single.

With the tying run at first base, Judkins got Taylor Field to ground into a fielder’s choice for the final out.

Michael Barr went the last three innings on the mound in taking the loss for Newton. Wood went 3-for-3 to account for half of the Cardinals’ hits.

For Marshalltown, Judkins finished 3-for-3 at the plate with a double, a triple and two RBIs. Mitchell doubled, while singles came from Thimesch, Mann and Schrempf.

Diveney struck out six and walked six, allowing three earned runs on six hits for his first win as a Bobcat.

“Dylan did a decent job and we got some things going offensively in the sixth,” Hanson said. “Our guys are fully aware that we have a long way to go from a developmental standpoint, and that process begins Wednesday in practice.

“As long as we continue to work at it we’ll be OK.”

Marshalltown is back on the field Friday with a home doubleheader against Des Moines North set to begin at 5 p.m.