NEWTON - The best news about Marshalltown's 6-3 win over Newton on Tuesday night is that the Bobcats can and will get better as the season progresses.
Madi Bellile had three hits, Maggie Carnahan added two hits and two runs and Taylor Wagner threw in a two-run double at the plate, while senior Lauren Mazour earned the complete-game win in the circle.
"We have to get a little better offensively, but we played really well defensively and had some good at-bats at the plate," MHS coach Jeff Lamb said. "You can't ask much more from Lauren. She was not great but she was definitely good. I'll take that anyday."
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown senior Madi Bellile, left, slides past Newton freshman catcher Sydney Jenkins during the Bobcats’ 6-3 win over the Cardinals on Tuesday night at Berg Middle School in Newton. It was the season opener for both teams.
The senior-laden Bobcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning against Newton, which fields just two seniors and plays several underclassmen in the starting lineup.
Quinn Goodman began the frame with a double and then scored on Carnahan's RBI single before Wagner's two-run double plated Carnahan and Emily DeVenney.
Newton made it 3-2 in the fourth when Madison Bagnall and Sarah Kalkhoff both reached with no outs and eventually scored to cut the Cardinals' deficit to one.
The Bobcats extended the lead to 4-2 in the fifth following a Newton error. And then pushed the advantage to 6-2 in the sixth with two more runs. Kaley Mead and Carnahan both singled and Wagner's RBI fielder's choice plated the first run, while Madi Bellile also had an infield RBI single.
Bellile finished with three hits, one run and one RBI, while Carnahan added two hits, two runs and one RBI. Wagner knocked in three runs in the win.
Mazour gave up six hits and four walks in seven innings. She struck out five and worked her way through traffic in the second, fifth and the seventh.
The first two Newton hitters reached base in the second inning but couldn't score and then the Cardinals left the bases loaded in the fifth inning. Elizabeth Stock and Sarita Smith had back-to-back singles to begin the frame and then a Marshalltown error loaded the bases.
The Bobcats recorded two outs at home and Mazour eventually got out of the jam with a groundout to first base.
"We had a few miscues and they were in the same inning. That happens in the early stages of the season," Lamb said. "We're going to make mistakes, but as long as we put the effort in to make the plays I am OK with it."
Newton also threatened in the seventh with two walks and two Bobcat errors but Mazour pitched around the mistakes, allowing just one run of damage.
Smith led Newton with two hits, a walk and a run scored, while Kalkhoff had a hit, a hit by pitch and a run scored. Stock also had two hits and Bagnall walked twice.
Lamb thought his entire squad needs to be better offenisvely but added that 1-9 the at-bats were good.
"We haven't seen a lot of live pitching for awhile, but I liked how they handled themselves," Lamb said. "I expect big things out of all of them. The seniors come from a great class and the younger girls will come through too for us. I am excited about all of them. Once we see more at-bats we'll be a lot better off."
The Bobcats are coming off a 21-21 season and a trip to the state tournament ... Wagner is coming off a season in which she hit .459 at the plate. Lamb likes having her in the lead-off spot because she comes to the plate with no outs and does a good job of setting the table for the rest of the team. "That is a key point for us. If the 7-8-9 can get on base she hit like she is a 3 hole hitter. I am glad we had the chance to put her in those situations," Lamb said. "I have to get somebody on base. I like to have my best hitters in the lead-off slot. She has power but she has the intelligence to steal some bases. We get Taylor on so she can score. I would rather have her on second with no outs rather than with two outs. ... Newton went 21-11 last year but graduated Courtney Meyer, who hit .512 at the plate and went 16-9 with an earned run average of 1.56 in the circle. ... MHS next plays in a home doubleheader against Waukee at 6 p.m. Thursday.