Missed chances were the difference to start the night. Then a lack of chances led to the downfall in the finale.
Mason City jumped up Thursday and took a CIML Iowa Conference softball doubleheader, 3-1 and 2-1, on Senior Night at the MHS diamond.
The Bobcats (15-19, 6-12) had been playing at a good clip in the previous week, yet could not find a way to keep the Mohawks (21-16, 4-12) from leaving town with a sweep.
T-R PHOTO BY MARK PAWLAK
Marshalltown junior catcher Taylor Wagner applies the tag on the play at the plate as Mason City junior Brittani Sanchez slides in safely during the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader. Mason City swept the Bobcats, 3-1 and 2-1, at the MHS diamond.
Over the previous seven days, MHS had won seven of 10 games, including ended a decade-long losing streak to West Des Moines Valley. The Tigers are No. 3 in the latest IGHSAU Class 5A rankings.
Marshalltown stranded nine runners on base in the opener Thursday, then were held to four hits in game two.
"We had played well in the last week and to come out like we did, that's really not what you want to do. The confidence level was below what they needed it to be," said MHS head coach Jeff Lamb.
"We played like we weren't supposed to win and unfortunately when you do that, you don't win," he added.
Annika Angell was the winning pitcher for Mason City in game one and she drove in the game-winning run of game two with her third hit, a two-out single in the seventh inning.
The opener slid out of the Bobcats' grasp after five runners were left in scoring position.
"(On Wednesday against Benton) we did some things well with getting runs in any way we could," Lamb said. "Here we came out and we just didn't do anything.
"First game we had runners on second and third and nobody out, runners at second and third one out, runners at second with nobody out or one out, and we didn't score. We didn't do our situational hitting well."
Taylor Wagner had a double off the very top of the left-field fence for a double to go with a single in a two-hit game. Lauren Mazour added two hits, while Cassidy Blackford finished with a double. MHS outhit Mason City, 8-5.
Mazour struck out seven in the loss. Two of the Mohawks' runs came in the first after a two-out error extended the inning.
Both teams put a run on the board in the fourth inning of game two. Mason City won it in the seventh with Angell's RBI single to left.
Marshalltown got two runners on base in the bottom of the seventh before the Mohawks' Lexy Pederson got a pop-out to close it out.
Emily DeVenney had two of the Bobcats' four hits. Quinn Goodman had a double and run scored. Blackford added a base hit and Mazour drove in Goodman in the fourth inning on a groundout.
Taylor Vaske went all seven innings in the circle and was able to keep Mason City to two runs even with its 13 hits. Vaske struck out six.
Six games remain in the regular season for the Bobcats, starting with games today and Saturday in Iowa City at West's Rick Doran Classic. MHS today faces Davenport North at 4:30 p.m., followed by West Liberty at 6:15 p.m., at the University of Iowa complex. On Saturday, the Bobcats draw Charles City at 9 a.m. and Waterloo East at 10:45 a.m.
CIML Iowa Conference play wraps up on Monday as Marshalltown travels to Fort Dodge. The two teams came into Thursday's play tied for third in the league race.
Regional action kicks off next Thursday with the Bobcats at Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
"It's getting close to the end. We're going to play some quality teams," Lamb said. "It doesn't matter who we play at this point to me, if we come out and do what we're supposed to do, we can beat anybody."
"But at the same time, we've got to be a little more consistent."