MUSCATINE - The only two seniors on the Marshalltown softball roster did their part to lead their team to Saturday's upset victory.
The Bobcats knocked off third-ranked Muscatine behind Taylor Vaske's pitching and Hailee Beals' run-scoring hits, helping MHS to a 2-1 victory in the Class 5A Region 5 semifinals.
The reward for Marshalltown (20-21) is a trip into Tuesday's regional finals back in Muscatine against Burlington (27-12). The Greyhounds handled Iowa City High, 7-1, in their semifinal pairing.
A Muscatine team averaging 9.6 runs per game managed just seven hits off Vaske (12-10), though one of them was a solo home run. Kaylee Jones cut Marshalltown's lead in half with her solo shot in the bottom of the fourth, but the Bobcats stood strong.
"They can hit, they've got some quality players, but we did everything we needed to do to win," said MHS head coach Jeff Lamb. "When our defense plays the way that it is capable of playing, there's not a whole lot of teams better than us."
The Bobcats matched their season-best with their third straight win, getting out front in the second inning of this contest. Quinn Goodman doubled, Lauren Mazour's single moved Goodman into scoring position, and Beals brought her home with a hit.
Marshalltown vs. Burlington
Tuesday, 7 p.m.
In the fourth, Cassidy Blackford singled and stole second base and eventually scored on Beals' second single of the night.
The Muskies, who lead Class 5A in runs scored, had trouble piecing hits together against Vaske.
"She was as good as she's been all season," Lamb said of Vaske.
Taylor Wagner also had a hit for the Bobcats, who became the third CIML Iowa Conference team to defeat Muscatine in the Muskies' last four outings (Waukee, Valley).
Burlington was swept by Muscatine in their regular season pairing.
"They're a young team but they play well," Lamb said of the Greyhounds. "But we can't worry about what they do, we've just got to go out and do what we can do."
Tuesday's state-qualifying game in Muscatine begins at 7 p.m.
Marshalltown's last regional final appearance came in 2008.