Wilson’s one-hitter propels MCC past Southeast again

With the way his squad had dominated the Lady Storm in four previous meetings, Tyrone Robinson wanted to make sure his Tigers didn’t let up for a fifth and sixth.

After outscoring Southeast Community College 48-3 in the season series, the Marshalltown Community College softball team’s bats didn’t exactly pick up where they left off to start Friday’s doubleheader.

Fortunately for the Tigers, Sarah Wilson made the early offensive woes irrelevant.

Fanning a career-best 15 batters and retiring the last 21 in order, the sophomore tossed a complete-game one-hit gem in the opener as MCC’s offense finally got on track late for a 6-0 win.

Wilson struck out another six batters in three innings of relief for game two and hit the walk-off single to send the Tigers (20-14) to a 10-2 six-inning victory and sweep at home.

After giving up a walk and a single to start the opener, Wilson never let another runner on base and improved to 10-7 with the win, while pushing her season strikeout total to 147 – tops in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference and third among all NJCAA Division II pitchers.

“I just needed to get more focused,” Wilson said of SECC’s quick start. “I settled down and I zoned in. I was working the curveball and changeup, a couple of screws in there and just throwing them off-balance.”

While the Tigers never fully got their offense on track until the sixth, Wilson made MCC’s 2-0 lead through five innings seem much larger.

“She was hitting her spots today, her curveball and changeup were outstanding,” Robinson said. “She kept their hitters off-balance and when you can do that as a pitcher, you’re going to be successful.”

Southeast still trailed by just two entering the bottom of the sixth before helping the Tigers’ cause with three errors. McKenna Hotopp and Emmeline Huffaker both benefitted from errors to reach home, before Lexie Biehl’s two-run single plated Shaiann Treu and Brooke Dunkin to set the final margin.

Hotopp finished 3-for-3 and scored once while her run-scoring double pushed the lead to 2-0 in the third. Dunkin hit 2-of-4 with a pair of runs and an RBI, Biehl brought in two runs and Treu drove in one, while Gott plated the team’s initial tally with a single in the first.

Kamie Fuller threw all six innings for Southeast (2-31) in the loss and allowed just two earned runs as the Tigers took advantage of some extra outs.

“Early on we were swinging at pitches that were uncharacteristic of us and just trying to do too much,” Robinson said. “(Fuller) was only throwing at 54-55 miles per hour and we were just out front a lot. You have to have a lot more patience when you’re facing slower pitchers.”

Gott sparked the Tigers again in the second game with her RBI-groundout scoring Dunkin before Biehl also came across on an error to make it 2-0. Southeast tied it up briefly in the next frame with back-to-back run-scoring singles from Mallory Dorn and Fuller before a mishandled fly ball allowed Huffaker to put MCC back up 3-2 in the bottom of the second.

Wilson replaced starter Brianna James to begin the third and retired the side before increasing her team’s advantage to 4-2 on wild throw from catcher Tara Dethlefs back to the circle. The Lady Storm committed five errors in the game and nine on the day.

MCC put things out of reach with four more runs in the fourth with Dunkin, Biehl and Wilson each delivering RBI singles before one more run came across when Hotopp’s liner was dropped.

The Tigers ended the game early in the sixth as Gott drove in Dunkin on a groundout, before Wilson plated Biehl with a walk-off single. Dunkin, Gott and Wilson (2-for-3) each drove in two runs, while Biehl (2-for-3) scored three times and Huffaker (2-for-2) and Dunkin both crossed home twice.

Hayley Carlsen, who had Southeast’s lone hit in the opener, tallied two of her team’s seven in the nightcap. James, who returned the circle in the sixth, earned the win surrendering two earned runs on six hits in three frames, while fanning five. Wilson gave up one hit in three scoreless frames.

Robinson expected a bit of a lull from his team but addressed it before the game by imploring his players to disregard the score or the Lady Storm’s record and instead focus on their own performance.

“When you play a team four, five, six times, there’s going to be some errors in there where you’re going to get kind of relaxed and you could see that today out of our players,” Robinson said. “A win is a win no matter who you play against. You continue to do the right things, whether you’re playing great competition or lesser competition. Sometimes you have to play not the scoreboard and not the talent, you go out and do the right things all the time.”

Notebook

MCC heads to Iowa Lakes Community College for an ICCAC doubleheader today starting at 3 p.m.