Opportunistic Bobcats take two from Roosevelt

DES MOINES – Whether it was from a hit or a walk, the top of Marshalltown’s batting order set the tone against Des Moines Roosevelt.

Lead-off hitter Dylan Diveney had three hits, two walks and a hit by pitch and also scored three runs and stole five bases, while No. 2 hitter Grant Thimesch recorded two hits, three walks, a hit by pitch and scored twice while swiping four bases during the Bobcats’ sweep of the Roughriders here Tuesday.

Austin Sowers threw seven solid innings in the opener and the Bobcats cranked out 13 hits in a 9-3 victory and then Marshalltown took advantage of Roosevelt’s eight errors in the nightcap while also collecting six hits and drawing seven walks in a 12-2, six-inning win.

The games were originally scheduled to take place in Marshalltown, but poor field conditions forced a move to Des Moines.

That ended up being a non-factor for the Bobcats, who rallied from small deficits in both games to improve to 14-11 on the season.

“I applaud Roosevelt for getting their field ready because we can’t play at home right now,” said MHS coach Steve Hanson. “Our outfield is saturated to the point where you can’t go walk on it without getting wet up to your ankles. So, had they not been accommodating, we wouldn’t have been able to play. And we needed to play today.

“We have a full schedule now so you have to do what you can do when you get the opportunity and it worked out for us today, in large part because of Sowers on the mound in game one and we swung it OK in game two. We are happy to get out of here with a couple of wins.”

Michael Schrempf and Justus Bjelland both added two hits in the opener, while Sowers had a hit and scored twice. Bjelland also drove in two with a two-run double down the third-base line during the deciding five-run fifth inning.

Sowers gave up consecutive doubles and a single to the Riders during their three-run third inning, but the senior ace allowed just four hits and no runs in the other six innings while striking out eight and walking two in the win.

“Sowers did a good job in game one,” said Hanson. “Getting seven innings from your starter in a busy week like we have helps a lot.

“But we made things a lot more difficult than they had to be in game two.”

The Bobcats collected four hits and a walk in the second inning of game one but only scored twice and stranded three on base.

The Riders, after a stern discussion between innings from coach Ryan Fitzgerald, responded with a trio of runs in the third.

Foster Anshutz had one of his two doubles in the frame, while Michael Watson also doubled and Nick Ballard had an RBI single to give the visitors on the scoreboard their only lead of the game.

“With a young team, it’s tough to keep that consistency and every now and then we need a little bit of a shake-up,” said Fitzgerald. “And typically when we have that, we respond. We did it in the third inning in game one and we scored early in game two after having a similar discussion between games. We just didn’t hold on to it tonight.”

Brendon Patterson, who took the loss on the mound, retired the Bobcats in order in the third and fourth innings to hold onto the narrow lead, but the wheels came off in the fifth.

Diveney singled to start the rally and then scored on Joe Rebik’s RBI double. Colton Hanke reached on an error and Sowers followed with an infield single. Run-scoring singles from Schrempf and Mason McCarville gave the Bobcats another lead and Bjelland extended it to 7-3 with a two-run double that stayed just inside the bag at third base.

Rebik’s sacrifice fly to right and Hanke’s RBI single in the sixth capped the scoring. Hanke finished the night with three hits and five RBIs.

“We were able to piece together some innings that got us over the hump and that created a cushion for us that made it difficult for Roosevelt to run or bunt and play small ball with us,” said Hanson.

Roosevelt began game two with three consecutive hits off Bobcat starter Jordan Smith, but the junior only surrendered one run and left two on base in the inning.

That was the theme of the game for Roosevelt, which stranded 12 on the bases in all.

Two more runners reached base in the second, but the Bobcats got out of the jam with a double play to Sowers at shortstop.

Roosevelt (8-16) loaded the bases with no outs against Smith in the third, but Matt Battles came on in relief and forced a 1-2-3 double play and then got an inning-ending pop up to survive the frame with no damage. Battles (1-0) earned the win after allowing one run in 2 2/3 innings of relief.

McCarville helped Battles out of trouble in the fifth when he got out of another jam with a strikeout. The senior then walked the first three batters in the top of the sixth but came away unscathed after posting back-to-back strikeouts and a flyout to centerfield.

“We have had some games where we just haven’t been able to get that big hit to break things open and that happened again tonight,” said Fitzgerald. “We need some of our younger guys to step up and show us that they want to be up there in the key situations. I think we try a little too hard at times.”

The Bobcats wasted no time rallying from an early 1-0 deficit in their half of the first inning.

Diveney and Thimesch both walked to begin the rally and Joe Rebik reached on the first of eight Roosevelt errors in the game. Hanke then cleared the bases with a three-run triple and the Bobcats never trailed again.

Diveney walked and scored on a passed ball in the second to make it 4-1 and then a six-run third inning put the game out of reach. Schrempf, McCarville and Hanke all had RBI hits in the frame before Diveney ended the game early with a walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the sixth.

The game featured two of the schools currently in the process of trying to form their own athletic conference.

Marshalltown, Indianola, Ottumwa and the five Des Moines Public Schools are hoping to break off the CIML and form their own eight-team league, and the Bobcat baseball team improved to 5-1 against those schools.

And the 21 runs scored by Marshalltown on Tuesday were the most in a doubleheader since the Bobcats plated 42 against Des Moines North back on June 13.

Notebook

The Bobcats continue their busy week with a road doubleheader against Southeast Polk at 5 p.m. today. They also are scheduled to play at Ankeny on Thursday night. Monday’s postponed Central Iowa Conference Northern Division home doubleheader with state-ranked Fort Dodge has been rescheduled for July 10 at 5 p.m. Des Moines Roosevelt’s best player, Nick Biancalana, left the Riders’ squad early this season to attend the Air Force Academy. He has hopes of playing on the school’s baseball team as well.