A senior class of seven saw ample success in its final regular season home games on the Marshalltown High School baseball diamond on Monday night.
The Bobcats swept Ottumwa by scores of 4-1 and 11-0 in five innings to wrap up the home portion of the summer, with only tonight's doubleheader at top-ranked Ankeny remaining before the playoffs.
In an unusual turn of events, the fourth-seeded Bobcats (18-20) will host third-seeded Des Moines Roosevelt in Friday's Class 4A Substate 6 first-round game at 7 p.m. because the Roughriders' field does not have lights.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
Marshalltown’s Ryan Mitchell (16) comes in to score beyond the outstretched tag attempt by Ottumwa catcher Lucas McIntosh during the third inning of Monday’s opening game at the MHS diamond.
So the Bobcats tried to build some momentum against Ottumwa (19-18) on their home diamond on Monday night, and got the performances they needed out of their veteran leaders.
Kyle Carnahan (6-4) pitched 4 1/3 perfect innings before allowing an Ottumwa baserunner, and the Indians broke through with two hits in the fifth to stop the shutout bid. Carnahan finished having allowed only three hits and no walks with nine strikeouts for the complete-game victory.
"It's nice to send our seniors out with a couple of wins," said MHS head coach Steve Hanson. "Kyle did a nice job in game one. He made one mistake and Ottumwa made him pay, like good teams will."
The top three hitters in the Bobcat batting order accounted for all four runs, all coming in the first three innings. Ryan Mitchell walked and back-to-back singles by Carnahan and Blake Judkins led to the first two runs of the game in the bottom of the first.
In the second, Alex Thompson led off with a bunt single and Mitchell was hit by a pitch. Thompson took third on a flyout by Carnahan and scored when Ottumwa's catcher threw wide of second base on Mitchell's stolen base attempt. Mitchell then came plateward on what appeared to be a missed suicide squeeze play, but scored safely when Kyle Keck's pitch bounced away from the catcher.
MHS managed just five hits against Keck, scoring four unearned runs. Keck, a left-hander, walked three and struck out six.
Thompson, Carnahan, Judkins, Paul Fienup and Tre Blackford each singled for the Bobcats. Mitchell stole two of the team's five bases.
The second game was a stark contrast offensively, though not until the fourth inning. Marshalltown scored 10 times in the fourth to support Fienup (1-0), who went four innings for the win. He struck out one and walked one, allowing only five hits in his first start of the season.
Bennett Mann finished 3-for-3 with two doubles and a solo homer, which at the time gave the Bobcats a 1-0 lead in the second inning. He doubled twice in the 10-run fourth, in which Marshalltown amassed nine hits to go along with four Ottumwa errors.
Hunter Hillygus had an RBI single and a run-scoring groundout in the frame, while Thompson had a two-run single.
Mann had three of Marshalltown's 12 hits. Mitchell went 2-for-2, Hillygus was 2-for-3, while Carnahan doubled. Thompson, Judkins, Fienup and Tyler Moranville each contributed singles in the drubbing.
"Paul did a real nice job to start game two and Bennett swung it well," said Hanson. "We finally got some offense going and did a good job on the bases for the most part."
Tonight's doubleheader at Ankeny starts at 5:30 p.m.
"We have a huge challenge (tonight) and then a couple days to get ready for the tournament," added Hanson. "It's time to shift gears and get ready to play. I'm sure our guys will be ready."