Two wins keep Tiger softball alive

FORT DODGE – The Marshalltown Community College softball team has its most wins in the Region XI Tournament since 2000 after the Tigers collected two more victories Saturday at the Harlan Rogers Sports Complex.

Marshalltown got a two-hit gem in the circle from sophomore Mackenzie Gott and a first-inning grand slam from sophomore Sarah Wilson during an 8-0 win over seventh-seeded North Iowa Area Community College in the opener.

Lexie Biehl’s three-run blast in the second inning of game two powered the Tigers to a 10-5 upset win over third-seeded Iowa Central.

The three wins so far in the tourney are the most for the program since 2000 and it was just the second time MCC has beaten Iowa Central in tournament action.

The Tigers (33-17) will take on top-seeded and NJCAA Division II No. 4 Kirkwood at 1 p.m. today. The Eagles (51-7) defeated MCC 3-0 on day one of the tournament Friday.

The winner will advance to play No. 2 seed Des Moines Area Community College at 3 p.m. while the loser is eliminated. The 16th ranked Bears (39-10) upset Kirkwood, 5-1, on Saturday to advance to the championship game(s) of the double-elimination tournament.

If DMACC loses its game today, the final game to decide the regional championship will be played at 1 p.m. Monday.

The Tigers were playing in elimination games in both contests Saturday but early starts helped propel them to victory.

MCC jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings in both games and never looked back.

Wilson’s grand slam was her ninth homer of the year and it gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead in the first inning of the opener against NIACC and then Holli Baker made it 6-0 with a two-run double.

The Tigers ended the game early in the sixth when they plated two more runs. MCC had 13 hits in the win and were helped by two NIACC errors.

Wilson finished with six RBIs in the win, while Lexie Biehl was 3-for-4 with three runs and Brooke Dunkin also went 3-for-4. Tacie Blunk had two hits and a run as well.

Gott (8-3) had a perfect game through 3 2/3 innings and the only blemishes on her line were two hits and two walks. Emilie Sterling had a hit and walked once to lead NIACC at the plate. Gott improved to 2-0 in the tourney and has allowed just one earned run in 10 innings of work.

Kimberly Wedeking took loss in the circle for NIACC (15-22), allowing six earned runs and eight hits while walking three in two innings.

Facing elimination one more time, the Tigers plated three runs in each of the first two innings against Iowa Central (41-16).

Blunk got the scoring going with a two-run single in the first and then Wilson scored on one of four Iowa Central errors. The 3-0 lead grew to 6-0 in the second after Biehl blasted a three-home run. Biehl is hitting a team-bes .506 on the year with a team-high nine home runs and 63 RBIs.

The Tigers plated two more runs in the fifth and single runs in the sixth and seventh innings and that was enough to hold back a late Triton rally. Iowa Central scored two runs in the fifth and three in its final at-bat but Wilson (16-8) got out of the jams and recorded another win in the circle after surrendering two earned runs on 10 hits. She fanned six and walked six.

Dunkin had three of the Tigers’ seven hits in the game, while Biehl also had three walks and scored two runs. Gott, Blunk and Wilson all had two walks and Emmeline Huffaker scored twice.

The Tigers were walked 11 times by Iowa Central pitching, including nine times by Maricarmen Rivera. Allie Ingalls took the loss after allowing four hits and five earned runs in 1 1/3 innings.

The Tigers first two batters – Dunkin and Biehl – were a combined 10-of-15 at the plate with 10 runs scored.