Self-inflicted wounds extended Marshalltown's losing streak to five games.
The Bobcats committed eight errors, walked 12 and hit two batters Thursday as they dropped a pair of games to Class 4A No. 7 Waukee on Thursday night in CIML Iowa baseball play.
MHS (14-20, 5-15) held leads in both games, but were undone as the Warriors (25-9, 13-7) capitalized on Bobcat miscues.
T-R PHOTO BY TRAVIS HINES
Marshalltown’s Tre Blackford, left, speeds past Waukee catcher Jordan Niehaus on Thursday afternoon in the first game of a CIML Iowa baseball doubleheader. The Class 4A No. 7 Warriors swept the Bobcats, 8-4 and 13-4, on the day.
Marshalltown held a 4-3 edge after two innings in the nightcap that disappeared with Austin Battaglia's two-run homer in the third, but it was the six-run sixth that was ultimately the Bobcats' undoing.
A walk and two errors exacerbated four Warriors hits as they built on a three-run lead to put the game away.
In the opener, it was a four-run fourth buoyed by two walks and an error that turned a 4-3 MHS lead into a 7-4 deficit.
"That's a ranked team in 4A baseball. It's easy, you can't allow 11 free bases and four errors (in game two) to extend innings that stretch pitchers, that extend you defensively. You can't," said MHS head coach Steve Hanson. "Game one wasn't much different in that (starting pitcher) Tre (Blackford) didn't help himself early, and then we didn't help Tre out.
"You can't extend it, you can't give a good team extra opportunities, and Waukee certainly is the Number One seed in its district, it's good."
Blackford went just three innings in the opener, allowing six runs (three earned) on seven hits and two walks.
Bennett Mann gave him the lead with a run-scoring double in the third, but that was the last time MHS crossed the plate in the opener as Waukee continued to stack up tallies.
Alex Thompson had three hits and an RBI out of the leadoff spot for MHS while Kyle Carnahan had a pair of hits and two runs scored. Mann had two RBIs.
Waukee got four innings out of starter Zach Schraff in the opener while the senior also had three hits and drove in a run at the plate to get the win. He went 2-for-2 with four RBIs and two walks in the nightcap.
Jordan Niehaus caught both games from behind the plate and had three hits and three RBIs.
Carnahan, Blake Judkins and Mann each drove in one run in the nightcap, with Colton Hanke tagged with the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) in 2 1/3 innings of work. He struck out one and walked five.
Marshalltown will try to earned its first win of the week tonight with a doubleheader at 5:30 p.m. at Des Moines Hoover.
The Bobcats lost games to rated Fort Dodge and Dowling Catholic earlier this week and have lost nine of their previous 11 contests.
They had their chances to steal one from Waukee, which they split with in their earlier doubleheader this season, but were unable to quell the issue of free bases and extra outs that has surfaced from time to time throughout the season.
"Our guys are intelligent. They know. It's not a matter of recognition, it's not a matter of understanding," said Hanson. "It's just a matter of execution. There were a couple handful of plays where simple execution gets you out of a whole bunch of trouble. It's not a lack of effort, our guys worked hard all night.
"Our guys competed hard. We just didn't compete real well. And when you don't compete well against a good team, it just gets ugly."
Blackford and junior catcher Connor Ruddick both left the MHS diamond early to go to the hospital Thursday night, Blackford for potential heat exhaustion and Ruddick for dehydration on a day where the heat index approached 110 degrees.
The site for MHS' substate opener against Des Moines Roosevelt next Friday had still not yet been determined as of Thursday night. Roosevelt is the higher seed and would normally host, but the Roughriders' diamond is not equipped with lights, an IHSAA requirement for hosting substate action.
According to the Iowa High School Athletic Association's postseason manual, Roosevelt will "need to find a facility that does have lights and would not increase travel distance between the two participating schools," however, "In the event the higher seeded team can not locate a lighted facility, the game would be played at the lower seeded team's facility that does have lights."