Marshalltown got a solid start from freshman Colton Hanke, Blake Judkins and Alex Thompson both drove in three runs and the Bobcats claimed an 11-4 victory Wednesday against Waterloo East in non-conference baseball action.
After going through its entire pitching staff with games against Class 4A No. 1 Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Johnston on Monday and Tuesday, the Bobcats (5-3) turned to the youngster to stop a three-game slide.
Hanke struck out three, walked one and allowed five hits while surrendering three runs, all unearned, in five innings of work to take the victory.
T-R PHOTO BY TRAVIS HINES
Marshalltown senior Alex Thompson rips a single up the middle during the first inning of the Bobcats’ 11-4 win over Waterloo East on Wednesday at the MHS diamond.
"We played three games against real good teams Monday and Tuesday and depleted a good portion of our pitching staff. Everyone on our staff had pitched prior to tonight," said MHS head coach Steve Hanson. "Hanke, because he was fresh, got a chance to start. It was pleasing to see him throw the ball over the plate.
"If he works at it and continues to improve, he's got a chance to be a good pitcher."
Marshalltown got on the Trojans (0-4) early, getting run-scoring singles from Judkins and Bennett Mann in the first and a bases-loaded triple from Thompson in the second.
Judkins and Hunter Hillygus followed in the frame with an RBI apiece to give the Bobcats a 7-0 cushion.
An error in the top of the fourth inning cleared the way for Waterloo East to plate three runs, but Hanke settled back in for a 1-2-3 fifth before Judkins came on in relief to finish the game.
The Bobcats committed two errors on the night after putting 10 in the scorebook the day prior in two games against the Dragons.
"Generally, we threw more strikes tonight and we played a little better defense tonight," noted Hanson.
Alex Schutte took the loss for the Trojans, giving up seven runs (six earned) in 2 1/3 innings. He allowed 10 hits and walked one.
Thompson finished the night 3-for-4 with three runs scored while Mann also had three hits on the night. Catcher Paul Fienup was 2-for-4 and drove in one.
Mann and Connor Bueghly both had a double on the night.
MHS stole seven bases on the evening with Thompson and Mann both swiping a pair. Mann even stole home in the bottom of the fourth inning.
"We had a lot of guys on, put a lot of pressure on and actually did some good things," Hanson said. "The last couple days we haven't had many baserunners, and tonight we had many more.
"And by in large, our base-running was much better tonight than it has been."
Hanson tweaked his batting order just a bit, moving Kyle Carnahan, who is hitting .591/.679/.955 with six extra-base hits on the year, up from the three-hole to leadoff. He went 1-for-4 with a run scored.
"We had struggled Monday, Tuesday and conference begins Monday so you don't have much time to experiment," said Hanson, adding he may try a few other new wrinkles Friday against Indianola. "The experimentation period is about over, so if you weren't going to do it tonight, when were you going to do it?
"(Carnahan) is a valuable player and a great offensive tool so you just try to get him up to the plate as much as you can."
After hosting the Indians at 7:30 p.m. Friday, the Bobcats head west to face rival Ames in a doubleheader to open CIML Iowa Conference play at Ray Smalling Field.