Sixth-ranked Jaguars halt Bobcats’ win streak

The quickest way to figuring out how the Marshalltown-Ankeny Centennial baseball doubleheader went Wednesday night was to look at the numbers.

And numbers never lie.

The Class 4A No. 6 Jaguars collected 25 hits, received 13 free bases and took advantage of seven Marshalltown errors in sweeping the Bobcats during a non-conference matchup at the MHS baseball diamond.

Centennial also got a dominant performance on the mound from Keenan Jones in game one and Brent Jones collected six hits and drove in six runs in the two games as the Jaguars beat Marshalltown 8-0 in the opener and then swept the twinbill with a 10-6 victory in the nightcap.

“Add up all of those and that’s the story,” said MHS coach Steve Hanson of the final numbers. “If you want to spot someone 40 baserunners, that’s a difficult task anytime. They are a quality team and you can’t give them extra outs. If you give a team with some firepower extra outs, it just becomes Russian roulette.”

Brent Jones hit a two-run home run to open the scoring in the first inning of game one and the Jaguar senior continued to torment the Bobcats with another RBI in the third and his RBI single in the fourth was part of a four-run fourth that saw Centennial plate all four runs with two outs.

“He’s got great balance and he doesn’t get himself out,” said Ankeny Centennial coach Mark Hey. “He doesn’t chase pitches out of the zone and takes what the pitchers give him.”

Brent Jones took more than that Wednesday. His final hit in game one was a double in the sixth inning and he stayed hot in the nightcap with a two-run double in the second, a single in the fourth and another single in the seventh.

Collin Olson also had two doubles, and four RBIs in the nightcap, while four other Jaguars collected two hits in the victory.

The four runs Centennial (14-6) scored in the second inning of game two also came with two outs and another four-run frame in the fourth inning put the game away after Marshalltown rallied to get within 5-3 following a pair of runs in the second and another one in the third.

“We are getting better and better at that,” said Hey of coming through with clutch two-out hits. “We work on situational hitting a lot and we are getting better as the year goes on.”

The story of game one for the Jaguars – besides the hot bat of Brent Jones – was the arm of Keenan Jones. The Jaguar senior scattered just four hits, struck out three and walked just one while inducing 12 fly-ball outs.

He improved to 5-1 on the season and lowered the already-miniscule 1.46 earned run average he came into the game with.

“He had a lot of his pitches working,” said Hey of Keenan Jones. “He hit his spots with the fastball and then his off-speed pitches were in the right spots. Marshalltown is a great hitting team and that was an impressive outing for him.”

Two of Marshalltown’s four hits were collected by Joe Rebik, who has been the team’s most consistent hitter over the past few weeks. He also had a single in game two and continues to work his way up the batting order for the Bobcats (11-10).

“He goes to the plate and swings the bat. And regardless of what happened the previous pitch or the previous at-bat, he doesn’t get overwhelmed. He just plays the game and is aggressive,” said Hanson of his sophomore. “He’s positioned himself very well and has climbed the ladder the last four weeks and now he is as good of a hitter as we have.”

The Bobcat bats found a rhythm in game two, but Centennial continued to hold the momentum with 15 hits of its own.

Dylan Diveney singled in the first inning of both games and added a two-run double in the second and an RBI single in the sixth to lead the offense. Austin Sowers had the fourth and final hit in game one and tallied three more hits in game two, while Ben Rebik singled twice, walked once and scored two runs.

Mason McCarville also walked twice and crossed the plate twice, but it wasn’t enough as the Jaguars hit several balls to the fence, took advantage of the seven free passes and capitalized on the three Bobcat errors.

Centennial scored four in the second to go up 5-0 and then another four-run inning in the fourth made it 9-3. Marshalltown trimmed the deficit to 9-6 in the sixth but an insurance run in the seventh helped the Jaguars complete the sweep.

“Marshalltown is a great team. It is nice to get two wins over here because it’s rare to do that,” said Hey. “I thought our guys had good approaches at the plate. Our guys made some adjustments, too.”

Jordan Smith took the loss for Marshalltown in game one after allowing six earned runs on 10 hits. He walked four and hit two batters while striking out one.

Sowers, who came into the game with an earned run average of less than 2, was knocked around by the Jaguars. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings after surrendering 11 hits and seven earned runs. Matt Battles also allowed a run in his 2/3 of an inning.

McCarville allowed the final run in the seventh inning but also fanned four and gave up just two hits in three innings.

Notebook

The only real threat the Bobcats had offensively in the first game came in the fourth inning when Sowers and Joe Rebik had back-to-back singles and Michael Schrempf drew a two-out walk. MHS standed the bases loaded though and was retired in order in the final three innings. … Centennial has now won seven of nine and nine of its last 11. … The Bobcats had won three straight games prior to the two losses to the Jaguars.