East Marshall closes in on conference title

ELDORA – The East Marshall baseball team moved within three wins of clinching the NICL West Division title thanks to Tuesday’s doubleheader sweep of South Hardin.

Sam Benzing tossed a two-hitter and drove in both Mustang runs in a 2-1 win in the opening game, and Josh Benzing’s two-run single spelled the end of South Hardin’s upset bid in a 10-4 nightcap.

In game one, Sam Benzing struck out eight and allowed a pair of singles, a walk and a hit batsmen in going the distance on the mound for East Marshall (20-6, 14-2). His RBI groundout gave the Mustangs a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and his run-scoring double in the third made it 2-0.

South Hardin (2-14, 2-14) cut the deficit in half in the fourth. After a walk and a hit batter, Alex Gustafson got one of the Tigers’ two hits to drive in their only run.

San Shindelar had South Hardin’s other hit, while Ty Cook went the distance in the loss.

Caleb Benzing had two of East Marshall’s seven hits and also scored once. Zach Rubenbauer had a double, while Josh Benzing, Nick Mommer and Austin Briney added singles.

The Mustangs got out to another 2-0 lead after the first inning, but South Hardin went in front 3-2 after the second. East Marshall pulled even in the fourth, and a three-run fifth proved to be the difference. Josh Benzing’s two-run single sparked the comeback, and a four-run seventh capped it.

Rubenbauer went all seven innings for the win, scattering 10 hits while striking out five. Shindelar took the loss.

Nate DeBondt and Josh Benzing both had two hits and two RBIs, while Caleb Benzing and Sam Benzing had two hits and one RBI. Austin Briney doubled, drove in two and scored twice, while Nick Long had an RBI double and scored a run. Rubenbauer was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and Ryan Puumala added a run-scoring single.

BCLUW 3, Grundy Center 2

BEAMAN – Tyler Lutes hit a walk-off home run with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, lifting BCLUW to a 3-2 win over Grundy Center in NICL West Division baseball.

The solo shot, Lutes’ second of the season, made a winner out of pitcher Conner Ubben. Ubben went all seven innings, allowing eight hits and three walks while striking out a season-high 13.

Grundy Center (8-11, 8-6) tied the game at 2-all with a run in the seventh, but the Comets (6-14, 4-10) broke the tie on Lutes’ one-out homer off Austin Burroughs.

Lutes and Taylor Sams both had two hits for BCLUW. Ubben, Lane Caster, Max Callaway and Troy Dolphin each had a single.

Bryce Moats had two hits, including a double, and scored twice to lead Grundy Center offensively.

GMG 13, Colo-NESCO 2, 5 innings

GREEN MOUNTAIN – GMG scored six times in the first inning and seven more in the third, putting an early end to an Iowa Star Conference clash with Colo-NESCO.

The Wolverines (12-7, 9-3) needed just five hits to notch 13 runs. Bridger Claassen was 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI and a run scored, while Chad Plaehn was 1-for-2 with a triple, a run and two RBIs. Brandon Weitzell was 1-for-2 with a double and two RBIs, and Cole Langenbau was 1-for-1 at the plate.

Jacob Burt got the win, allowing two runs in three innings. He walked five, struck out three and did not allow a hit. Claassen pitched two frames, striking out two.

Taylor Hill and Christian Reischauer both had singles for the Royals.