No. 12 Wabash needs 12 innings to oust Tigers

COUNCIL BLUFFS – The Tigers’ 3-4-5 hitters combined for nine hits, two home runs, seven runs scored and four RBIs, but the Marshalltown Community College baseball team still could not extend its season Saturday during day two of the NJCAA Region XI Division I Northern District Tournament at Doc Ross Field.

Marshalltown finished with 13 hits but struck out 17 times and No. 12-ranked Wabash Valley College ended the Tigers’ season, 10-9 in 12 innings.

It was the first-ever appearance in the district tournament for the Tigers but it ended after just two games. MCC also lost 12-4 to South Suburban College on Friday. No. 3 Iowa Western pasted the Bulldogs in the winner’s bracket, 10-2 in seven innings, Saturday to advance to the district championship today.

The Reivers (50-10) will face Wabash Valley in the first championship game at 11 a.m. today. The Warriors eliminated South Suburban, 10-5, in the final game Saturday. Wabash Valley will have to beat Iowa Western twice to advance to the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., on May 24-31.

The Tigers (22-35) tried to extend their trip West as long as they could, but the Warriors eventually plated the winning run in the top of the 12th inning. Wabash had 12 hits at the plate but also struck out 13 times.

Both teams got off to fast starts. The Tigers answered a three-run first inning by Wabash with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Ty Russell, Ryan Thrasher and Pedro Lopez all collected RBI singles to even the score.

The Tigers took a 7-6 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Daryl Blaskovich double to start the threat and then Eric Kent drove him home with another double. Kent came around to score during the next at-bat as Marshalltown native Bennett Mann blasted his team-leading 14th home run of the season.

Wabash Valley (46-12) plated two runs in the fifth and another in the sixth to take a 9-6 lead. But MCC got within two when Russell connected on a solo homer. Blaskovich smashed another solo shot in the eighth to force extra innings.

Parker Rolfes (1-3) kept the Tigers in the game as he threw 7 1/3 innings in relief on the mound and allowed just one earned run. He fanned three, walked five, gave up three hits and took the loss. Richard England was pulled with one out in the fifth inning after allowing five earned runs, but he also struck out a career-high 10 Warrior batters.

Blaskovich, Russell and Kent went a combined 9-for-14 at the dish. Blaskovich scored four runs and had two doubles and a homer, while Kent scored twice and Russell had two RBIs.

Kevin Suarez, Angel Alicea, Josies Estrada and Claudia Rubiera all had two hits for the Warriors. Suarez tripled and added three runs, while Alicea, who homered, and Estrada each scored twice and Rubiera contributed two RBIs. Tim Barry chipped in a home run and two RBIs as well. The winners also had seven steals as a team, too.

Wabash Valley starter Matt Pletzke didn’t make it out of the first inning as the Warrior starter after allowing three runs and four hits. Jacob Murray allowed four runs and five hits in more than three innings and Clay Chandler surrendered a single run and fanned five in his three frames of work. Reigning NJCAA Pitcher of the Week Zach Lewis threw the final five innings, allowed one earned run on three hits and struck out seven while earning the win.

Lewis entered the game with a record of 11-0 and an earned run average of 1.84.

The game started at 9 a.m. and lasted 4 hours, 28 minutes. The teams combined to leave 20 runners on base.