As the nightcap wore on and the sky darkened, it seemed only a matter of time before the rain would fall.
Instead, another element came into play - the wind.
Fly balls hit an imaginary wall, grounders took some funny bounces and once pleasant temperatures quickly cooled.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
Marshalltown Community College freshman Emmeline Huffaker reels in a fly ball at the fence in right field during the fourth inning in game one of Monday’s ICCAC Division II softball doubleheader against DMACC. The Tigers lost the opener 5-2 but came back with a 3-2 victory in eight innings over the eighth-ranked Bears in the nightcap.
None of it seemed to throw the Marshalltown Community College softball team, which escaped a few jams and came through with enough timely offense to rally past NJCAA No. 8 ranked DMACC 3-2 in eight innings to split an ICCAC Division II doubleheader on Monday.
The Bears (30-2, 17-1) won the opener, 5-2, before seeing their 16-game win streak snapped.
Hitless in her previous three at bats, MCC's Alexis Farren drilled a two-out grounder that bounced off Bears shortstop Katlin Briley to bring home Erica White for the winning run.
"I'd been hitting crappy all day so I just needed to step up to the plate and do what I needed to do," said Farren, who heeded the advice of MCC coach Jeff Lamb for her final at-bat. "Jeff told me I was pulling my head so I just tried to stay in as tight as I could and hit the ball."
White (3-for-4, run) started the inning with another hard-hit grounder at Briley, before a sacrifice bunt from Mackenzie Gott and a groundout by Brianna James advanced White to third.
The sequence was indicative of the Tigers' small ball strategy at the plate after belting a pair of homers Sunday.
"We're a good team no matter what the wind is doing," Lamb said of the strong winds that knocked down numerous fly balls.
"We made some adjustments to that. The girls showed today that they could do some different things at the plate against a couple really good pitchers."
Marisa Basham advanced two bases on a pair of wild pitches before Sarah Wilson brought her home with a groundout to put the Tigers in front in the bottom of the first.
The Bears overtook the lead in the third with a solo shot form Allie Fitzgerald and an RBI single by Ali Miner, though Stacy Roggentien got out of the bases loaded, one-out jam with MCC trailing by just a run.
"Stacy is just huge for us in those situations where she has runners on base," Lamb said. "She just knows how to pitch."
The sophomore hurler escaped a similar scenario in the fourth, before Basham (3-for-3, 2 runs) knotted the score on a hard grounder by James in the fifth.
"We're not going to pull anything out of the park today," Lamb said. "Some of their batters got some really good swings on the ball and they didn't go far. Our big hitters were putting down some bunts and some of our other ones were hitting it hard."
Roggentien picked up the win allowing just two runs (one earned) on seven hits, while striking out five and walking three in eight innings as MCC (17-17-1, 12-8) picked up its sixth win in its last seven games.
Brittney Lee took the loss giving up three earned runs on 10 hits. The sophomore fanned eight batters and walked one in 7 2/3 innings.
Before the wind picked up, the teams combined for three homers in the opener. DMACC's Jayden Ott and MCC's White (1-for-3, run, 2 RBI) traded two-run homers in the first, before Fitzgerald's solo shot in the second put the Bears in front for good. Fitzgerald capped DMACC's scoring with an RBI double in the sixth.
The Bears outhit the Tigers 11-3, while also taking advantage of three MCC errors, though Lamb still had positives to take away for his young squad including the effort of James, a freshman, from the circle.
"We have some really good sophomore leaders with Stacy (Roggentien), Erica (White) and Marisa (Basham), but the younger girls are really coming along," Lamb said. "We worked through them and really competed against their best pitcher."
Mari Silliman tossed a complete game giving up two earned runs on three hits, while fanning 12 batters and walking one.
James was on the losing end allowing five runs (three earned) on 11 hits. James finished with one strikeout and one walk in seven frames.
The Tigers continue their busy week against Muscatine CC in a doubleheader on the road today starting at 4:30 p.m.
Both the Tigers and Bears donned pink jerseys for cancer awareness. The back of both dugouts displayed pictures of relatives and family members that have battled cancer.