Waukee walks around Bobcats
One team’s weakness is another team’s strength.
Still struggling to consistently get ahead of hitters, the Bobcats’ season-long bugaboo resurfaced against a red-hot Waukee squad that wielded that advantage against Marshalltown Wednesday.
Issuing a total of 12 walks and committing a combined five errors in the field, the Marshalltown baseball team dropped both ends of a Central Iowa Conference cross-divisional doubleheader at the MHS diamond.
Picking up its 12th win in 15 games, Waukee made the most of two effective outings on the hill to claim a 6-0 victory in the opener, before earning a 12-6 nightcap win.
“Our pitchers haven’t been good enough to throw a strike,” MHS coach Steve Hanson said of his team, which has claimed just one victory in its last seven outings.
“It’s not one pitcher, it’s a bunch of pitchers.”
The Warriors relied upon their top two arms to keep the Bobcats off the board in all but one of a combined 11 innings, before Marshalltown made some headway late in game two against the Warriors’ bullpen.
Malik Moore (5-0) turned in a commanding first game performance, fanning nine batters and walking just one in a five-hit shutout. Addison Meyers (7-0) kept the Bobcats largely in check through four innings in the late game, allowing three runs – all in the first – on five hits. The right-hander struck out six and walked one.
“Those were their best two guys that they’re going into the tournament with,” Hanson said of Moore and Meyers, who combined to throw 110 of their 148 pitches for strikes. “We had five hits in the first game and that’s not enough to win. We had a couple flurries in the second game but nothing real consistent.”
Waukee used four extra-base hits to cruise in game one as Matt Rushenberg went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, 3 RBIs and a walk, while Matt Hoeg added a solo shot in the fifth.
Mick Price’s RBI single gave the Warriors a 1-0 edge in the first, before Rushenberg’s two-run double stretched it to 3-0 in the fourth. Matt Corbett followed Hoeg’s solo homer with a run-scoring double in the fifth, before Rushenberg plated another run with a two-bag hit in the sixth as the visitors made the most of their eight hits.
Blake Judkins led the Bobcats (15-19) in the opener with two hits, while Michael Schrempf doubled but was thrown out trying to stretch it for a triple. Colton Hanke and Connor Ruddick each singled for MHS.
Waukee sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs in the first inning of the nightcap to chase Bobcat starter Mason McCarville. Jordan Niehaus sparked the surge with a two-run triple, before Price plated another run with a single and two more came across on an error.
Hunter Hillygus belted a two-run double in the bottom half to plate Grant Thimesch and Austin Sowers. Michael Schrempf drove in Hillygus with a single though Waukee negated the runs with four more in the second and another quartet in the fourth.
Mann’s RBI groundout brought in Judkins and Matt Battles scored on a passed ball in the sixth before Battles drove in Sowers in the seventh.
Niehaus hit 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs to lead the Warriors, while Corbett doubled twice and plated a run. Fegen and Hoeg each had two hits, two runs and an RBI as the visitors had six extra-base hits. Kyle Kubiak threw the final three frames giving up three runs on four hits and three walks.
Hillygus had two RBIs and scored one, while Judkins and Battles each had two hits and crossed home once. Austin Sowers drew three walks and reached the plate twice.
McCarville allowed five runs off three hits and two walks in 1/3 inning for the loss. Ruddick and Hillygus each tossed 3 1/3 frames of relief. Ruddick allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits and three walks, while Hillygus gave up a run on three hits, a pair of walks and five strikeouts. McCarville and Ruddick each fanned one.
Marshalltown hosts Class 4A No. 5 Des Moines East Friday at 7 p.m. before taking on sixth-ranked Fort Dodge on the road Saturday in a twin bill for the CIC Northern Division Crown.
Though two top-ranked teams loom on this week’s schedule, Hanson and the Bobcats apply the same mantra each time they take the field.
“Every game is a big game,” Hanson said. “Every chance you get to go compete, it’s a big game. … I don’t think you can vary your approach from game to game because it’s a game. We intend to go out and play as well as we can and tonight we didn’t do that.
“I would hope our guys are eager to come and play because in most cases they have a lot invested in it. Our belief is that the more you invest, the tougher it should be to loseOur goal is simple – to come back tomorrow and put ourselves in the best position that we can on Friday.”
Nine of Waukee’s 12 losses this season have come against teams currently ranked, including four to top-ranked Ankeny. Its only three losses during a 12-3 streak have included two defeats to Ankeny and one to Class 3A No. 3 Davenport Assumption.