MHS ends drought vs. Dodgers

FORT DODGE – Colton Hanke hit a two-run home run and went the distance on the mound as the Marshalltown baseball team snapped a 20-game losing streak against Fort Dodge by winning the opening game of Monday’s Central Iowa Conference Northern Division doubleheader, 5-4.

The Class 4A No. 8-ranked Dodgers returned fire in the second game of the league twinbill, prevailing 8-5.

The Bobcats (5-3, 1-1) had not defeated Fort Dodge on the diamond since the 2008 postseason until a pair of two-run home runs and an unearned run got the Bobcats over the top in the opener.

Michael Schrempf connected for a two-run blast in the fourth inning to tie the score, and Hanke’s two-run shot in the top of the sixth gave the Bobcats a shortlived 4-2 lead. Fort Dodge (10-2, 1-1) answered with two runs in the home half, but its defense made its only two errors of the first game in the final frame.

Dylan Diveney and Grant Thimesch reached on errors, moved up on a wild pitch and scored when the Dodgers were unable to turn a double play one out later on a grounder off the bat of Hanke.

Hanke finished with three RBIs, while Schrempf was 2-for-4. Austin Sowers was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

On the mound, Hanke scattered 11 hits – five of them for extra bases – in allowing three earned runs. He walked none and struck out none.

“We’re happy to go on the road to a ranked opponent and come away with a tough win in game one,” said MHS coach Steve Hanson. “Colton Hanke battled on the mound and gave us a chance to win. We had some timely hitting as well.”

In the second game, the Bobcats battled back to tie the game at 4-all with a run in the sixth before Fort Dodge poured on four runs in the bottom half. After a two-run double by Sam Cook, the Dodgers used a pair of bunts to push across two more runs.

Diveney got the loss, allowing six earned runs on 5 1/3 innings on eight hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Jordan Smith got the final two outs, but not before committing an error and hitting two batters.

“Dylan Diveney took a 3-2 lead to the bottom of the fifth in game two, but our inability to handle their bunt game cost us a couple runs,” Hanson said. “We still climbed back to even in the top of the sixth before the roof caved in.

“Roofs cave in from time to time, but it’s troubling how it caved in today. Dylan probably deserved a better fate, but give Fort Dodge credit for outplaying us down the stretch. We simply didn’t execute as well as Fort Dodge.”

The Dodgers outhit MHS 8-5 in the second game, getting two hits apiece from Austin Halligan and winning pitcher Drew Hansen.

Sowers was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Mason McCarville had an RBI double for the Bobcats. Diveney was 1-for-2 with two walks, two runs and two stolen bases. Joe Rebik contributed an RBI single as well.

The Bobcats are back at home for a non-conference doubleheader tonight against Waterloo East, and third-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy comes to Marshalltown for one game on Thursday night.

“It’s a busy week but we’re anxious to get back home and work at improving,” said Hanson. “We have a long way to go, but I like how our guys are competing for the most part.”