DES MOINES - Instinctive on the basepaths and good enough on the mound, the Marshalltown High School baseball team got a pair of road wins on Thursday at Des Moines Hoover.
The Bobcats swiped a total of nine bases, advanced when Hoover had trouble holding onto the ball and scored wins of 9-6 and 10-4.
"We made several improvements over our performance last Monday night against an aggressive and well-coached team in Des Moines Hoover," said MHS coach Steve Hanson. "Our guys were much better at doing little things on the bases and at the plate, which helped us extend leads against their best pitching."
Hunter Hillygus drove in three games in the opener, while Ryan Mitchell and Blake Judkins both plated three in the nightcap.
Marshalltown stole a total of six bases in the first game in order to get to Hoover starter Colton Blackford and his defense. Three walks and three Huskies errors played a factor, too, as MHS got out to a 4-1 lead and tacked on from there.
Two runs scored when a Hillygus grounder was misplayed in the third, sparking the four-run surge. Both teams scored three times in the fifth, Hoover added one in the sixth and the Bobcats got two insurance runs back in the seventh.
Tyler Moranville, Austin Sowers, Mitchell and Hillygus each had two hits - including a double for Moranville - while Grant Thimesch was 1-for-1 with three runs scored. The nine runs of support got the win for Austin Sowers, who surrendered four runs - one earned - on six hits and three walks with three strikeouts in four innings.
Dylan Diveney tossed two innings of relief and Judkins came on in the seventh, retiring the side for the save.
Colton Hanke also went four innings for the win in game two, allowing less resistence from the host Huskies (0-2). Hanke allowed three runs - two earned - on two hits and two walks with three strikeouts, while Connor Ruddick and Mitchell finished it off.
Judkins finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a two-run double in the third and an RBI single in the fifth. The Bobcats trailed 1-0 before scoring three times in the third to go in front for good.
"We got decent starts from Austin and Hank (Henke) which allowed the bullpen guys to get a little work, but we still gave up too many free passes," Hanson said.
Mitchell also was 2-for-3 with two walks, a run, two stolen bases and three RBIs. Mason McCarville, Diveney and Justus Bjelland each had an RBI as well.
The Bobcats (2-1) turn toward a busy week which starts with Monday's 3 p.m. home game against Cedar Rapids Kennedy, a Class 4A state semifinalist a year ago. MHS will make up its suspended game against Newton on Tuesday before going to Waterloo East on Wednesday and Indianola on Friday.
"The biggest thing for us is that we got better this week as a team and now we have to continue that momentum into a huge eight-game week starting Monday with state qualifier Kennedy," Hanson said. "It will be a busy week for our entire squad, but the four junior varsity and four varsity games will allow us to see a lot of all of our players as we head into conference play."