Bobcats trip Indians with walk-off win

Coming off two straight losses to two perennial Central Iowa Metropolitan League powers, the Marshalltown baseball team was in desperate need of a win Friday against Indianola.

Some way, somehow the Bobcats looked to end their short losing streak.

Against the Indians, the Bobcats pounced for three quick runs before being forced to battle through a little adversity.

In the end, though, Marshalltown found a way to win, scoring a walk-off run without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the eighth inning in a 4-3 win over the Indians at the MHS diamond.

Senior Mason McCarville reached on an error to begin the inning, stole second and then went to third on another Indianola error. He scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Michael Schrempf one batter later.

“It was really important after we dumped two to start the week,” said Marshalltown coach Steve Hanson. “Our guys have always been pretty resilient. We have always had guys in the program who were willing to compete and get after it and we needed that tonight.”

The Bobcats scored three first-inning runs to take an early lead but four errors allowed the visitors to rally. Indianola scored the tying run in the seventh inning, but Marshalltown refused to quit and made enough plays down the stretch to extend Indianola’s losing streak to six games.

“We just did some things execution wise to push us over the hump. We were able to execute and that was key,” said Hanson. “From where we were Tuesday to where we ended up tonight, I think we got better.”

Austin Sowers gave the Bobcats six solid innings before Colton Hanke and Jordan Smith came on to each throw an inning of relief.

Sowers allowed five hits and two earned runs, while striking out six and walking just one. Three of the five hits he surrendered came in Indianola’s two-run fourth inning. Before that, he held the Indians hitless.

Indianola’s tying run came off Hanke in the seventh, but the Bobcat junior didn’t give up a hit. Smith got out of a tight jam in the eighth when he got Tanner Ortlund to pop out to the shortstop with runners on first and third.

“Sowers gave us a great effort and gave us a chance,” said Hanson. “He just kept hanging and hanging and hanging. We just didn’t swing it very well. We got three quick ones and then went to sleep.

“Hanke gave us a chance to extend the game. I am pleased that he was able to give us an inning.”

Dylan Diveney laced a double to the gap in left-center field to begin the game. He went to third after Grant Thimesch’s bunt single.

Diveney gave the Bobcats a 1-0 lead when the Indians, who are the only team to beat Class 4A No. 6 Ankeny Centennial this year, failed to execute a ground ball hit in front of the plate by Hanke. Sowers then made it 2-0 with an RBI groundout and McCarville pushed it to 3-0 with a sacrifice fly to left field.

Indianola’s first hit came in the fourth inning when Cooper Royer singled. Jake Sickels put runners at second and third with a double and then both runners crossed the plate following an RBI sacrifice fly by Michael Harmison and an RBI double by Ortlund.

Indianola was not fortunate enough to cash in on another opportunity against Sowers in the fifth. Another error gave the Indians (5-7) a base runner with no outs and then Cameron Loew walked.

A failed attempt to sacrifice bunt by the Indians led to a second out at third base and then Austin Marchant’s hard line drive to left found Schrempf’s glove for the final out.

Marshalltown (4-2) got two-out singles from Sowers and McCarville in the fifth and a pair of one-out singles from Justus Bjelland and Matt Battles in the sixth but came away empty.

Joey Giofreddi led off the top of the seventh with a single and then went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jack Jensen. Giofreddi moved 90 feet closer to homeplate when Hanke’s attempted pick off throw to second went into center field.

That made things easier for Manning, who tied the game with a sacrifice fly to right field.

“Any mistake is too many for my liking,” said Hanson. “We are always trying to play the perfect game, trying to compete against the game and attack perfection. You probably won’t ever get to that point, but you have to keep trying to get there and keep plugging away.”

Smith wound up the winning pitcher in his first appearance of the season. Manning took the loss.

Marshalltown’s seven hits were recorded by seven different hitters and four different Bobcats also collected an RBI each. Hanke had an RBI and scored a run in the three-run first.

Notebook

Both teams stranded six runners on base. … McCarville had one of the Bobcats’ seven hits and also collected an RBI. He is now hitting a team-best .412 and leads the team with six RBIs. … Marshalltown returns to action Monday when they head north to take on Central Iowa Conference Northern Division rival and 10th ranked Fort Dodge in a doubleheader at 3:30 p.m. … Hanson thought his squad got a boost from a former player before the game. The 2008 MHS graduate and first-team all-state first basemen Tyler Peschong “injected some life and some energy into a process that he did many times.” “It’s always nice to have former players come back, especially those who approached the game as competitively as he did,” said Hanson. … Indianola will cap an extremely busy week with two more games in Mason City today. The Indians split a doubleheader with Des Moines Lincoln on Monday but were swept in doubleheaders against No. 4 Dowling Catholic and Urbandale on Wednesday and Thursday.