STATE CENTER - The second-to-last week of the baseball regular season saw West Marshall drop a pair of one-run games and see its NICL West championship aspirations disappear.
The final week of the regular season has started on the other end of the spectrum.
The Trojans claimed a 13-10 victory over Class 2A No. 9 Hudson on Monday at Schilling Field.
T-R PHOTO BY MARK PAWLAK
Jared Johnson of West Marshall rips a three-run double during the Trojans’ 13-10 victory over Hudson on Monday in State Center.
West Marshall (15-7) jumped out to a 7-0 advantage and held off the Pirates (20-5) - the top hitting team in all of Iowa high school baseball.
"Hudson is a really quality team. They've won a lot of games and they're ranked in the state at this point in the year," said Trojans head coach Jerod Brown. "It's nice to get this one from a confidence standpoint. We had those two tough losses late last week so getting one in the win column against a quality team does feel really good and should give us some confidence going into later this week and district play following."
West Marshall closes out the regular season on Thursday at Nevada. The Trojans begin district play July 10 in Alleman against the winner of the Roland-Story/CMB opening round pairing on Saturday.
Each of the seven total runs in the first two innings for West Marshall came with two outs.
After Hudson pitcher Aaron Marcellus walked the bases loaded to start the game, Jared Johnson laced a three-run double.
Two walks and a base hit by Jake Pszanka filled the bases again in the second inning. Nolan Sinning and Garrett Goodwin both delivered two-out two-run singles as the Trojans led 7-0.
"The two-out hits were key for us," Brown said. "Last week we had a lot of situations where we just couldn't seem to get that key hit with two outs to get guys in. (Monday) early on we got those seven runs just on two-out hits and that was a really good thing to see."
Hudson pitchers walked 12 and hit one batter in a two-and-half hour contest. Braydn Beals drew four base on balls and scored three runs for West Marshall. Goodwin had a pair of hits.
Pszanka picked up the win on the hill for the Trojans, throwing 2 2/3 innings of relief, allowing four runs. Starter Beals went 2 1/3 innings. Jared Riemenschneider entered in the sixth and got the save.
The Pirates outhit West Marshall, 8-7. The Trojan pitchers kept the free passes down (a combined six walks and hit batters) and limited Hudson's biggest rally to a three-run inning.
"We talked against a team like that, you're going to give up runs. No matter how well you pitch, you're going to give up some runs," Brown said. "I thought we did a pretty good job most innings minimizing the damage."
"When they got two or three we limited it to three and didn't let it get to six or seven," he added. "That was key for us to keep it at those relatively small numbers."
Hudson, which came into the night leading Iowa with a .419 team batting average, cut the West Marshall lead to 8-7 after a run in the sixth.
The Trojans responded in the bottom half of the inning with a five-spot. Two runs scored on wild pitches and another on a balk. Cody Beckham had an RBI single on a squeeze bunt, while Riemenschneider added an RBI single.
Austin Goodnight drove in four runs for the NICL East champion Pirates, which saw a five-game winning streak snapped.