Hillygus rips homer, ’Cats sweep Ames

AMES – The Bobcats didn’t strike first, but they struck the hardest.

Marshalltown sent 10 batters to the plate in the top of the second inning, scoring seven times to help spark a doubleheader sweep of Ames in Monday’s Central Iowa Conference Northern Division baseball pairing.

The Bobcats (7-4, 2-2) got back to even in conference play with wins of 14-5 and 4-1.

“Any win on the road in the CIML is hard earned, and these games certainly were all of that,” said MHS head coach Steve Hanson.

Ames tallied two times in the home half of the first but quickly fell behind 7-2 when the Bobcats erupted for seven runs. The first eight batters in the second inning reached base for MHS, with doubles for Dylan Diveney and Michael Schrempf and a two-run home run by Hunter Hillygus to cap the scoring.

Hillygus finished the opener 5-for-5 with three doubles, his first home run of the season, four runs scored and four RBIs as Marshalltown (7-4, 2-2) achieved its high scoring output.

Blake Judkins was the recipient of all the run support, allowing five runs – only one earned – on five hits and four walks over six innings. He struck out three, and Tyler Moranville walked one in a scoreless inning of relief.

Judkins was 3-for-5 with a double, while Grant Thimesch, Diveney and Schrempf had two hits apiece for MHS. Jacoby Jay doubled in his only plate appearance as well for the ‘Cats, who tallied 17 hits.

“We did a decent job on the bases and the guys in the middle of our order were productive,” credited Hanson. “We now need to build on that and keep it going.”

In the nightcap, the Bobcats made the most out of their four hits and benefitted from each of Ames’ three defensive miscues in a 4-1 victory.

Marshalltown carried a 2-1 lead into the sixth before scoring twice, both on errors for the Little Cyclones (5-5, 2-2).

The Bobcats took a 1-0 lead in the first when Judkins doubled with two out and scored on a single by Hillygus. Moranville walked to lead off the second, took second base on a wild pitch and third on a groundout before scoring when Derek Mann’s line drive to right was misplayed.

Both Bobcat runs in the sixth came via errors.

Colten Hanke got the win, going 4 2/3 innings on the mound for MHS. He allowed two hits and one unearned run while walking two and striking out one. Moranville went the final 2 1/3, striking out three. He took over with two Little Cyclones on base and two outs in the fifth, retiring No. 2 hitter Toran Shahidi on strikes to end the threat.

“We got great performances from our seniors tonight, from Judkins to Jay they all contributed,” said Hanson. “One of the best contributions came from Tyler Moranville on the mound. He finished up game one for Jud(kins) and then stepped into a pressure-packed game two and shut the door.”

Marshalltown overcame seven errors in the twinbill to win their fifth straight heading into Wednesday’s home doubleheader against Class 4A No. 3 West Des Moines Valley. The Bobcats host Class 2A No. 2 North Polk on Friday night.

“We’re very pleased to go on the road and win but we also know that we need to throw more strikes and make the routine plays on defense,” Hanson said. “The rest of our week is challenging – with two ranked teams – but that’s the only way to get better.”