Marshalltown's baseball team had more hits and provided itself with more chances to score runs than its opponent Monday, but costly mistakes in the field, on the bases and on the mound doomed the Bobcats during a 4-2 loss to Newton at the MHS diamond.
The Bobcats had five more hits in the game than the Cardinals but also committed more costly errors in the season opener for both squads.
"We walked more batters than they did, and we made more critical errors than they did and they got more key hits than we did," MHS coach Steve Hanson said. "When that happens in a baseball game - no matter what level - you are going to have to really, really get after it to win."
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
MHS senior Ryan Mitchell, middle, turns a double play to Bobcat first basemen Hunter Hillygus, left, in front of Newton’s Jeff Stanton during the first game at MHS diamond on Monday. The Bobcats lost the opener 4-2 and play was suspended in the fourth inning with MHS up 2-1 in the second game.
The two teams were supposed to play a doubleheader but lightning, rain and tornado warnings suspended the second game with the Bobcats up 2-1 after three innings. Hanson said the two teams may eventually make up the second game.
The Bobcats finished with eight hits at the plate and also walked four times but stranded eight runners on base, including leaving the bases full in the bottom of the third inning.
Marshalltown also was picked off the bases twice after recording a single and drawing a walk in the sixth. Couple that with several other base running blunders, and the Bobcats ran into too many outs on the basepaths.
"If we get picked when we are stealing, then fine we got picked when we are stealing," Hanson said. "If we get picked when we are not stealing, those are things that we can't tolerate. We're not good enough to make those kind of errors. You can't get picked off like that and we did tonight. So that's disappointing."
Newton didn't get its first hit until Chandler Sturtz singled in the fourth frame. But the Cardinals led 1-0 after the first at-bat following a two-base error by Marshalltown. Tyler Wood then went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Sturtz and an RBI groundout by Taylor Field.
"Our kids competed," said Newton co-coach Pat Riley. "I love how we have started out. We've been working hard the first two or three weeks of practice. I like where this team is headed. We have a couple more nonconference games this week that aren't near the cailber that Marshalltown is. How do they respond when they are expected to win is going to be interesting to see."
Marshalltown waited until the third inning to get its first hit. Connor Ruddick had a one-out single and then stole second before taking third on Tyler Moranville's bunt single. Austin Sowers then walked with two outs to load the bases but the Bobcats couldn't get the big hit against Newton starter Derek Wrage.
Newton then came right back with three runs in the fourth inning. Sturtz's lead-off single was followed by an MHS error and walk by Bobcat starter Blake Judkins. Wrage then walked with the bases loaded and Jacob Hill's RBI groundout plated the final run. Field also scored earlier in the inning on a balk.
"The thing about it is, if we don't cough it up and give them run three and run four, we still have a chance in the seventh inning to do some good - to win the game," said Hanson.
Marshalltown got on the board in the fourth inning off Newton reliever Wood. Mason McCarville singled and Dylan Diveney walked with one out to put a runner in scoring position. Mann's RBI double plated McCarville and cut the Newton lead to 4-1.
Mann came through again in the sixth when his RBI hit scored Hunter Hillygus, who reached base with a single and then took second on a Newton error.
The Bobcats though stranded two runners in both the fourth and sixth innings to end the threats and any chance to rally for the win.
"Give our guys some credit for hanging in there," Hanson said. "But give Newton more credit. They made plays, they threw strikes."
Field, who will play at Division II Winona State next season, got out of a jam in the seventh inning to earn the save. Colton Hanke and Blake Judkins each walked with one out to put two more runners on base. However, neither runner made it any further after Field induced a game-ending double play.
"The guys are still trying to figure this co-coach thing out but we had some timely hits today," Riley said. "We scored when we needed to and made the outs when we needed to - like that double play in the seventh."
Judkins took the loss on the mound after allowing two hits and four runs - two earned - in six innings. He also struck out five and walked three. Wood earned the win after tossing three innings of relief and allowing two earned runs.
Hillygus and McCarville scored the Bobcats' two runs, while Austin Sowers walked twice. ... Wood, Sturtz, Field and Evan Shimon plated the Cardinals' four runs, while Field, Wrage and Jacob Hill were credited with an RBI each. ... Hanke also pitched for Marshalltown, allowing one hit in the seventh inning. ... Newton plated one run but stranded two in the first inning of the second game. The Bobcats also had an error and walked two Cardinal hitters in the frame. ... Marshalltown lined into a double play to end the second inning of the second game, but Judkins' two-run triple put the Bobcats in front 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning. ... The game was delayed before Newton's first hitter completed his at-bat in the top of the fourth inning and then was later suspended. ... Newton is in the first year of co-coaches with Riley and Darin Tisdale. They took over for Jim Marter after last season. ... The Bobcats next play a doubleheader at Des Moines Hoover beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday.