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Lamb's new lineup paying off so far

July 2, 2013 - Andy Heintz
With Cassidy Blackford out for a few games this past week due to illness, Marshalltown softball coach Jeff Lamb was forced to shift around his lineup.

The Bobcats are better with Blackford in the lineup, but when she was not on the lineup card, Taylor Wagner was moved out of her lead-off spot and into Blackford's 3 position.

Another move included moving Emily DeVenney -- who play CF in Blackford's absence -- to the top spot in the order. DeVenney has come on strong lately and gives the Bobcats two strong left-handed slappers in the top two spots in the order.

"Emily is coming around as an outstanding player," Lamb said. "She has developed into a good hitter and a good slapper. She does a lot of good things for us and Taylor can now drive in runs. Cassidy provides (Wagner) with good protection and that has helped her. We are playing pretty well with that lineup right now."

Blackford returned to the lineup Saturday when the Bobcats beat Class 1A No. 11 Lisbon but Lamb stuck with the new lineup and just inserted Blackford into the clean-up spot, which also moved Quinn Goodman and Lauren Mazour each down a position.

So far, the change is paying off.

The Bobcats only had four hits in their opener against Ames on Monday but recorded 13 hits in the nightcap to split a twin bill. Prior to those games, the Bobcats won all three of their games in the Iowa City West Tournament Friday and Saturday and have won four of their last five since Lamb made the change to his card.

Wagner said she had never led off in Marshalltown's lineup until Lamb took over the Bobcat program last year. Wagner became the school's first all-state player in a decade and the program advanced to the school's first-ever state tournament. But Wagner likes hitting in the 3 hole.

"I like how the team is working with this new lineup," Wagner said. "I like leading off, but I feel like we get more players on base when I am hitting third. It has been fun so far."

As I said in last night's recap of the Ames split, the Bobcat feel like they are peaking at the right time again. Another good test comes Wednesday when they host Class 4A No. 10 Benton at the MHS diamond beginning at 7:30 p.m.


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