WATERLOO - The first six batters reached base as the opening frame set the tone for the Marshalltown High School baseball team's doubleheader sweep of Waterloo East on Thursday night.
The Bobcats (11-12) scored five times in the top of the first inning, got five more in the second and cruised to a 12-2, five-inning win in the first game. The Marshalltown bats got it going again late in game two, handing the Trojans their 10th straight loss with an 11-2 triumph.
"It's always nice to go on the road and win two games, especially coming off of two losses to Southeast Polk," said MHS head coach Steve Hanson.
The opener was Marshalltown's first five-inning victory of the season, sparked by a game-opening triple for Ryan Mitchell. Tyler Moranville followed suit with an RBI single, Blake Judkins walked and Hunter Hillygus loaded the bases with a bunt single.
Mason McCarville singled to plate the Bobcats' second run, and Dylan Diveney's fielder's choice grounder got another run across. Derek Mann's groundout plated Hillygus, and a balk brought Diveney home for a 5-0 Bobcat start.
Three Waterloo East errors, three walks and singles for Mitchell and Moranville led to another five-spot for the Bobcats in the top of the second.
MHS took a 12-0 lead in the fourth after a single by Judkins, an RBI double for Hillygus, a hit batsman and a pair of groundouts got two more runs on the board.
All the offense was plenty of support for Judkins and Hillygus, who toed the rubber in game one. Judkins allowed one hit and struck out one in 1 1/3 innings, while Hillygus allowed six hits and two earned runs while striking out five in 3 2/3 innings in relief.
Mitchell led MHS at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a triple, a stolen base, two runs scored and an RBI. Moranville and Hillygus both had two hits. Mann drove in two runs without a hit, while courtesy runners Grant Thimesch and Michael Schrempf both scored once.
The Bobcats again struck for the go-ahead run in the first inning of the second game. Hillygus was plunked with two out, stole second and then scored on Judkins' single to center.
Hillygus led off the fourth with a double, Judkins reached on a bunt single, and an error brought in a run. After loading the bases with a pair of walks, Schrempf brought in Judkins with a sacrifice fly and Mann drove in Colton Hanke with a single.
Waterloo East (2-19) scored twice in the fourth to cut Marshalltown's lead in half, but the Bobcats picked up three more two-out runs in the sixth to go in front 7-2. Thimesch plated Schrempf with a single and Hillygus doubled home Mann and Thimesch.
Schrempf's two-run single and another run-scoring hit for Mann highlighted Marshalltown's four-run seventh, serving as the finishing touches on the host Trojans.
Diveney (2-1) went six strong innings for the win, allowing two unearned runs on two hits, a walk and two hit batsmen with a season-best eight strikeouts. He started 12 of the 23 batters he faced with a strike. Mitchell pitched a perfect seventh in relief.
"Hunter and Dylan did a nice job and gave our bullpen a break, which is important considering our upcoming schedule," Hanson said. "Dylan was in command most of the way and we enjoyed some timely hitting as well."
Judkins and Mann both went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead Marshalltown's 12-hit attack. Hillygus was 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and two RBIs, while Schrempf was 1-for-1 with two runs scored and three RBIs.
Matt Battles also had a hit for the Bobcats, who are back in action Saturday at the Brent Prange Classic in Ankeny. Marshalltown faces Bettendorf at 3 p.m. and Pleasant Valley at 5:30 p.m. MHS entertains Central Iowa Conference Northern Division rival Ames for a doubleheader Monday starting at 5 p.m.
"We still need to focus on making improvements in all phases because we're turning the corner on the season," Hanson said. "We have a bunch of little things to clean up. We have two tough opponents on Saturday and we'll have to play better to win."
The Marshalltown High School baseball program will host Bev Ingledue Night on Monday at the MHS diamond. At the intermission between games against Ames, Bev will be recognized for her devotion to Bobcat athletics and support of MHS baseball. Ingledue will officially retire on Sunday after starting her work with the MHS cafeteria snack bar in 1967. She took over duties as director of concessions in 1972 and has held the position since. In 1996, Ingledue retired from her post in the cafeteria but remained with the concesssion stand. Weather-permitting, Bev will be on hand during the first game to meet and greet well-wishers.