Missed chances trouble Trojans

STATE CENTER – In a tie game with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and his best hitter at the plate, there was no way Collins-Maxwell/Baxter coach Troy Houge was going to give Abbie Haupert a take sign with a 2-0 count.

West Marshall eighth-grader Brooke Snider had been falling behind in counts during her two innings of relief work, but the Raiders needed a run to advance in the Class 2A Region 6 playoffs.

And with a runner on third base, Haupert delivered, sending a bloop single into right field for the walk-off, game-winning RBI in a 5-4 victory over former conference rival West Marshall here Tuesday.

CMB will next play at Heart of Iowa Conference rival Colfax-Mingo (17-13) in the regional quarterfinals at 7 p.m. tonight. The two squads split two games in Collins back on July 2.

The Raiders led 4-1 after four innings and won the game despite getting out-hit 8-7 and committing five errors in the field. West Marshall stranded 10 runners on base in the loss.

“(Haupert) has been lights-out all year and has come up with big hits for us all year,” said Houge. “There is no one else I would rather have up than her. I trust all my players, but no matter what, I knew Abbie was going to give us a chance to win in that spot.

“I trust her too much to give her a take sign there. That may be the best pitch she’ll see. I probably wouldn’t have given her a take sign on 3-0 either. We need the run one way or another.”

It was Haupert’s only hit of the night, but it came at the biggest moment. The Raiders did though get plenty of offensive production from the bottom of their lineup as the 8-9 hitters combined for three of CMB’s seven hits and scored three of the five runs.

West Marshall (13-21), on the other hand, has to feel like it gave one away. The Trojans had the bases loaded with one out in the third inning but could not score as CMB freshman pitcher Heather Jessen struck out Karis Gibbs and Megan Ritter made a diving catch in left field on a ball that was poked down the line by Jennifer Davis.

West Marshall scored two runs on five hits in the fifth to cut its deficit to 4-3, but it could have been much better for the Trojans. They again had the bases loaded with one out but a line drive double play to third base got Jessen out of the jam. Another line drive to the CMB shortstop forced another double play and stranded another runner in the top of the seventh after West Marshall tied the game at 4-all. However, the Trojans had the bases loaded with no outs and scored only one run.

“We put ourselves in a hole early, but these girls proved they can battle back,” said West Marshall coach Jordan Bentley. “We have done that before. It was just disappointing because we show great potential at times, but we just come up short too many times.”

The Raiders (14-14) committed two errors in the second inning and that led to West Marshall’s first run of the game. They committed two more errors in the third but got out of the inning unscathed after stranding three Trojans on base.

“Our defense really kind of let us down but at the same time made huge plays to get out of innings,” said Houge. “Our errors allowed them to get some runners on and do some things, and then we made huge plays. That diving catch in left field was huge.”

Five of West Marshall’s seven hits came in the two-run fifth inning. Sadie Simatovich had two hits in the game, while Jennifer Davis added one hit, one walk and one RBI and Georgia Porter douled and scored a run.

But the difference in the game was CMB’s ability to come up with a big hit in crucial spots. All five runs scored by the Raiders came with two outs. West Marshall, on the other hand, was one for its first seven with runners in scoring position.

“It’s another example of us probably out-playing our opponent in how you’re supposed to play the game,” said Bentley. “You would think the team that commits five errors would be down three runs, but that wasn’t the case.”

Kallie Malloy started in the circle for the Trojans and allowed three earned runs in five innings. She gave up four runs in the second inning and pitched well before running out of gas in the fifth frame. She fanned six and walked three while surrending five hits. Malloy had missed most of the season with an injury and hadn’t pitched that many innings in several weeks.

Snider took the loss after allowing Haupert’s game-winning single in the seventh. She came on in the sixth inning and allowed three hits while striking out one in 1 2/3 innings.

“When you haven’t pitched that much this year, you’re going to get tired at some point, and I think she just got tired tonight,” said Bentley of Malloy.

Jessen (12-12) got the win for CMB after surrending two earned runs on eight hits. She walked three and struck out two.

“She just had the one bad inning where they got some hits off her,” said Houge. “The rest of the time, it was our errors that were putting their runners on. They had one hard hit off her all night. She pitched a great game.”

Hlavacek gave CMB a lead-off single in the bottom of the seventh and she went to second on a sacrifice bunt from Mackenzie Schmitz. Pinch hitter Jordynn Wesselink, an eighth-grader, advanced Hlavacek to third after a ground ball to first base and then Haupert delivered the final blow to the Trojans when she poked a 2-0 pitch into right field.

Notebook

The two teams used to be conference rivals when West Marshall was a part of the Heart of Iowa Conference. … Both teams limped into postseason play. It was the fourth straight loss for West Marshall and it lost six of its final eight games, while CMB came into the game having lost four of its last five.