ANKENY - He made weak contact, the ball fluttering toward second base. He then flung his bat in disgust before a stroke of luck allowed the ball to find the infield dirt for a run-scoring single.
The next time Kyle Carnahan stepped into the batter's box, he made sure he left it much happier.
The Marshalltown senior hit a home run and drove in three runs to help the Bobcats defeat Waterloo West, 4-1, to complete an undefeated Saturday at the Brent Prange Classic.
T-R PHOTO BY TRAVIS HINES
Marshalltown second baseman Tre Blackford, right, applies a tag to a Waterloo West baserunner after catching him in a rundown Saturday in the Bobcats’ 4-1 victory in their second game of the Brent Prange Classic in Ankeny. MHS defeated Des Moines Lincoln, 4-0, earlier in the day.
MHS topped Des Moines Lincoln, 4-0, in the day's opener behind a complete game on the mound by Tre Blackford.
Carnahan's flare up into the sun and out of sight for the Wahawks' second baseman in the fifth inning scored Blackford to break a 0-0 tie in the nightcap.
"I hadn't been hitting the ball well all day, got a little aggravated," said Carnahan. "I wasn't staying back real well - which is something we've been trying to emphasize - and I just got underneath. I was really just trying to drive the run in, and when I didn't think I was going to do that, I got pretty upset.
"I saw it (land) and it was kind of a little sigh of relief there, a little thankful they didn't make a play on it."
The Bobcats (14-15) added another run in the frame when a balk call on West pitcher Alec McClain brought home Ryan Mitchell.
West sliced the lead in half, however, in the home half of the frame when Donald Tricknor led off with a single and moved all the way around to third after two pickoff attempts went awry before Nathan Heyerhoff brought him the last 90 feet home with a single to chase MHS starter Colton Hanke from the game.
Connor Bueghly came in and retired the side to preserve the lead, and Blake Judkins got the Bobcats into the seventh, still clinging into a one-run lead.
In the seventh, Mitchell earned a walk and then a jog after Carnahan unleashed a two-run homer to left to give the Bobcats some breathing room.
"I saw it coming in at about chest high and knew it was a pitch I wanted to hit," said Carnahan, the game's MVP, "and it felt good."
Hanke earned the win, going four innings with seven hits and one run allowed. He struck out two without walking a Wahawk batter.
Blackford won MVP honors, given out to a player after each game, in the opener by hurling the Bobcats to their first shutout victory of the season.
The senior allowed just six hits and struck out six while walking two in his outing to keep the bullpen inactive on a day where the heat index neared 100.
"He kept (Lincoln) off-balance," said MHS head coach Steve Hanson. "Blackford was in control ... which is good on a day like this one when you never know what kind of demands could be placed on your pitching. To get a complete game in the first one, that leaves you everybody else."
Bennett Mann, Judkins and Paul Fienup all drove in a run against the Railsplitters while both Judkins and Carnahan had a pair of hits to send Lincoln's Mason Downing to a loss.
McClain went the distance in game two for the Wahawks, allowing four earned runs on five hits in the loss.
The Bobcats are now free from a four-game losing streak, with the two most recent setbacks coming against Mason City, which entered Thursday's doubleheader losers of eight consecutive.
"After Mason City we were really disappointed in how we played, definitely not as good as we are capable of," said Carnahan. "We needed to come back and these are two good wins for us today."
MHS, however, yet again looks at a week ahead full of ranked opponents, with No. 4 Fort Dodge, No. 2 Dowling Catholic and No. 6 Waukee all on the docket.
"We always seem to get through it," said Hanson of MHS' daunting schedule, "and that's a credit to the work our pitchers do."