Southeast Polk atones for shaky defense at expense of MHS

One by one, Southeast Polk’s defense continued to give up extra outs.

But for each defensive miscue, it’s offense had more than enough answers.

Totaling 24 runs on 26 hits, the Rams overcame a combined 10 errors to cruise past the Marshalltown baseball team in a doubleheader sweep at the MHS diamond Wednesday.

The Rams racked up 15 hits for a 12-4 victory in the opener, before tacking on another 11 in a 10-3 nightcap win.

“When you score that many runs, you can get away with some errors and inconsistencies on defense – we can’t,” MHS coach Steve Hanson said.

“We have to be efficient and consistent, and when we are – we’ll win. Until we are – we won’t.”

The Bobcats (9-12), who scored in just three of their 14 at-bats, suffered their seventh loss in nine games after putting together a season-best five-game win streak earlier this month. MHS led briefly in both contests, but couldn’t bring the same potency at the plate as the Rams, while also committing four errors of their own in the second game.

“They were more aggressive at the plate than we were,” Hanson said. “We didn’t throw strike one enough, we were behind hitters. When you get behind hitters in our league, you get beat up. And that’s what we got tonight.”

Dalton Mason sparked Southeast Polk (14-10) with three doubles, three runs and five RBIs in the opener, going 4-for-4 at the dish. Austin Pruitt doubled and drove in three runs, while Cody Hyler and Nick Arnold plated a pair. Five different batters had at least two hits for the Rams to go along with six doubles.

Garret Grove allowed four runs (none earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks.

Hunter Hillygus paced the Bobcats, hitting 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI, while Mason McCarville doubled and scored once. Grant Thimesch, Dylan Diveney and Michael Schrempf also reached home, while Derek Mann brought in a run.

Blake Judkins took the loss allowing eight runs (five earned) on 10 hits and a walk. He fanned five batters in five frames before Colton Hanke replaced him in the sixth. Hanke gave up four runs on four hits with a strikeout and walk and Mann threw the final shutout inning with a hit and a strikeout.

Taking advantage of two errors, the Bobcats plated three runs in the second inning, though a baserunning gaffe cost them a chance at more.

Mann drove in McCarville for the first run after reaching on an error, before the same scenario allowed Schrempf to score with Grant Mitchell reaching first. Dylan Diveney’s single up the middle had the runners moving though Derek Mann was tagged out at third with the base already occupied by Michael Schrempf.

Diveney later scored on a double steal with Thimesch swiping second to give the Bobcats a 3-2 lead. Mason’s three-run double put the visitors back on top at 5-3 in the top of the third, though the Bobcats couldn’t take advantage of their own opportunity in the frame.

With the bases loaded and no outs, MHS came up empty with a strikeout and two force outs.

Pruitt’s two-run double helped the Rams push the lead to 8-3 in the fifth, before consecutive RBI hits from Hyler, Mason and Arnold stretched the margin to 12-3 in the sixth. The Bobcats scored their fourth unearned run when Thimesch reached on an error and Hillygus brought him in with a double in the seventh.

The Bobcats had an early 3-0 edge in the first inning of the nightcap, but again it was short-lived. McCarville had an RBI groundout to plate Mitchell and Schrempf’s two-run double brought in Judkins and Hillygus.

Southeast Polk countered with four runs in the second – all with two outs – including a three-run homer by Philip Velez. The Rams tacked on five more in the fourth, triggered by a three-run double from Justin Sigmund. Velez scored from second in the sixth on an errant pickoff attempt at first to set the final margin.

Anthony Schneider hit 3-for-4, scored twice and drove in a run, while Velez plated three on two hits to go with three runs. Schrempf (two RBIs), Hillygus, Hanke and Mitchell provided the lone hits for MHS.

Gaige Thompson threw a complete game four-hitter for the Rams, surrendering three runs on three walks, while fanning three. Austin Sowers allowed 10 runs (five earned) on 11 hits and two walks. He struck out two in six innings for the loss, before Mann threw a no-hit, three-pitch final frame.

The Bobcats face Bettendorf (3 p.m.) and Pleasant Valley (5:30 p.m.) at the Brent Prange Classic Saturday in Ankeny before hosting Ames in CIC Northern Division play Monday.