Fort Dodge's Tyler Vaughn and JC Hatcher went a combined 16-1 on the mound last year as the Dodgers marched to the Class 4A title game.
Both Vaughn and Hatcher brought their 'A' games against Marshalltown on Monday as the Dodgers won both games of the Central Iowa Conference Northern Division doubleheader at the MHS diamond.
Vaughn allowed three hits in six innings in the opener as Fort Dodge won 5-0 and then Hatcher surrendered just one earned run on six hits in the Dodgers' 9-2 victory in the nightcap.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown sophomore Nick Thimesch, left, attempts to turn a double play at second base in front of MHS shortstop Blake Judkins and Fort Dodge’s Parker Van Zyl (17) on Monday night during the Bobcats’ two losses to the Dodgers at the MHS diamond.
"Their pitchers were very good tonight," MHS coach Steve Hanson said. "They threw a lot of strikes. They got the ball over the plate with regularity. And they can make an offense look bad in a hurry."
The Bobcats fell to 2-4 overall and 0-2 in division play, while Fort Dodge improved to 5-2, 2-0 on the season.
The Bobcats were out-hit 18-10 in the doubleheader, committed five errors in the two losses and gave up too many free bases on the mound.
"Our inconsistency right now is at the plate," Hanson said. "We can't make mistakes and still win. We can't give away little things when you aren't scoring runs. And we did that tonight."
Vaughn, who will pitch for Iowa Central Community College next season, had a no-hitter going through four innings.
Sophomore Michael Schrempf ended the no-no in the fifth with an infield single. Two of the three hits Vaughn gave up were infield singles. Connor Ruddick's single in the sixth got through the infield cleanly.
Nick Thimesch also singled in the seventh off reliever Brandon Archibald, but Marshalltown never got a base runner past second base in the loss.
"We have six weeks to get better," Hanson said. "We knew we lost some guys and had some significant holes to fill. It's a growth thing but it's an execution thing too. We have guys plenty talented to get the job done. It's still early though. We'll get better."
At the plate, the Dodgers plated a single run in the first following an RBI groundout by Tommy Halligan. Fort Dodge made it 4-0 in the fourth off RBI singles from Vaughn, Nathan Sunken and Cory Alexander and then the lead grew to 5-0 in the fifth after Halligan struck again with an RBI single.
The Bobcats managed to plate two runs in the nightcap, both of which were scored off Hatcher, who went 6-0 last year with an opponents batting average of .162.
Derek Mann singled and scored off a Thimesch RBI hit in the third and then Mason McCarville singled and scored in the fifth following Blake Judkins' RBI groundout.
That production wasn't enough though as the Dodgers plated three runs in the third and four in the sixth to pull away.
The Dodgers hit six doubles in the win. Hatcher helped himself with a bases-loaded two-bagger in the third and then added an RBI double in the four-run sixth inning. Alexander also doubled twice in the win, while Austin Halligan had an RBI double in the fourth and then singled and scored in the sixth.
Austin Halligan, Hatcher and Alexander combined for six hits and five RBIs in the victory for Fort Dodge.
"We walked a lot of guys and hit too many tonight, but it wasn't only that," Hanson said. "We also had to groove in some pitches on 3-1 and 2-0 counts and that hurts against a team like (Fort Dodge). We did that with regularity in that second game."
The Bobcats had chances to score in the nightcap. They stranded six runners on base and had two runners on with no outs in the fourth but did not score. MHS also scored just a single run in the fifth despite leading off the frame with back-to-back singles.
"We have a lot of young guys in the lineup," Hanson said. "We have a lot of inexperienced players out there. We just have to get better."
That run in the fifth for Marshalltown made it 5-2 but Fort Dodge stole back momentum with four more runs in the top of the sixth.
McCarville walked in the seventh against Cole Kampen but was left stranded on the bases.
Colton Hanke threw the first five innings of the opener and took the loss on the mound for the Bobcats. Austin Sowers allowed the first three runs of the second game in that loss. Tyler Moranville saw action in both games as a reliever, while Ruddick and Dylan Diveney also pitched in the nightcap.
"We made physical errors and mental errors," Hanson said. "We've practiced the things we weren't good at tonight and that's a concern. The guys have to be better in those situations and as soon as they are better, we'll have a better chance to win."
Vaughn was 10-1 last year with an earned run average of 2.31. He earned first-team all-state honors as well. He was coming off a loss to Clinton as the LumberKings swept a doubleheader from Fort Dodge last week. ... All three of Marshalltown's errors in the first game came in one inning. ... The Dodgers lost to Ankeny in last year's state championship game at Principal Park. ... The Bobcats will try to make up a suspended game with Newton tonight as MHS travels sorth for a 7:30 p.m. contest with the Cardinals. MHS lost the opener of a doubleheader to Newton but leads the second game 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning. ... The next home games for Marshalltown will be Friday in a doubleheader against Des Moines North beginning at 5 p.m.