LE GRAND - East Marshall senior Katie Roseland's bat is starting to catch fire.
The 2012 first-team all-state catcher crushed two more home runs Saturday to help the Mustangs finish the 4th Annual East Marshall Mustang Classic Tournament undefeated.
The Class 3A No. 6 Mustangs took care of Albia 8-4 in their opener and then finished off the day with a 7-2 victory over Colo-NESCO.
East Marshall senior Paige Miller drops down a bunt during the Mustangs’ 7-2 win over Colo-NESCO on Saturday at the East Marshall Mustang Classic Tournament in Le Grand. Class 3A No. 6 East Marshall is now 9-1 on the season.
"I think she was trying too hard earlier in the season," East Marshall coach Jary Hoskey said about Roseland's effort at the plate. "She is finally getting dialed in. She is taking her pitches and not just hitting any pitch."
The Mustang bats plated 15 runs on the day, but East Marshall also got two strong pitching performances from Mariah Fritz and Haley Long and played mistake-free defense in the field to push its overall record to 9-1.
"We got excellent pitching from Mariah in that first game and excellent pitching from Haley Long in the second game," Hoskey said. "It is very fortunate to have two pitchers like that. And they are both back next year. Our pitching is keeping us in games and our bats are winning them."
The Mustangs beat Albia 8-4 in their morning game.
Roseland's homer got things going in the first inning for the Mustangs and then Kylee Hoskey's two-run single in the sixth inning put East Marshall up for good.
"You compare last year's offense to this year's offense, and we are growing," Hoskey said. "We have the potential to be a pretty good offensive team and you add the pitching in there, and we could give teams trouble down the line."
Roseland had three hits in the win over Colo-NESCO. Her RBI double in the first inning scored Paige Miller and then her two-run blast in the third inning pushed the Mustang lead to 4-1.
East Marshall scored three runs on five hits and took advantage of two Royal errors to grab a decisive lead and never looked back.
"I was happy with the effort," Colo-NESCO coach Stan Oppedal said. "We are not very experienced. Our hitting is getting better. We need to tighten up our errors and limit the walks."
Two more runs were plated in the fourth inning when Fritz and Miller recorded back-to-back singles. Both runners came around to score after Ashley Allen's two-run double and then Taylor Fricke's RBI single in the sixth capped the scoring.
The game was stopped in the bottom of the sixth with East Marshall still batting due to the 90-minute time limit.
Colo-NESCO fields just one senior on the roster. That is Erica Babinat, who took the loss in the circle for the Royals.
The Royals tied the game at 1 in the third inning when Hannah Buseman reached on a bunt single and then scored after Shayla Dean reached on an East Marshall throwing error. Sam Riese walked and scored on a wild pitch to cap the Royals' scoring in the sixth inning.
Dean left the game though in the third inning with a hand injury.
"Hopefully she can come back soon," Oppedal said. "We are already short-handed and she is one of my best players."
The top of the lineup for the Mustangs proved to be the difference in the two wins.
Against Colo-NESCO, Roseland had three hits and three RBIs, while Fritz, the lead-off hitter, had three hits and scored twice. Miller, the No. 2 hitter, added two hits and two runs and Allen contributed three hits and two RBIs. Clean-up hitter Fricke also had two hits.
"We call them the table setters or the little rabbits," Hoskey said of the first two hitters in his lineup. "When they get on, the big uglies knock them in.
"Paige and Mariah have done their job this year. Both are very fast and both hit from the left side. When they set the table, it allows for our big bats to bring them home."
Long was the winner in the circle against the Royals. She allowed two runs on five hits and struck out 10, while walking two and hitting another. Babinat took the loss, allowing six earned runs.
Callie Roseland had three hits and three RBIs against Albia in the opener, while Madison Hinegardner added two hits. Katie Roseland walked twice after the homer in the first inning as the Mustang offense compiled 11 hits at the plate.
The game was tied at 3 after five innings, but the Mustangs plated two on the Hoskey hit in the sixth and then added three runs in the seventh to put the game away.
Fritz was the winning pitcher in the opener as she allowed eight hits and three walks in seven innings. She also struck out eight.
Sydney Weldon entered the weekend with a .556 batting average and had three doubles, two RBIs and a walk against the Mustangs.
"She has such a good approach right now," Albia coach Mitch Chance said. "She is just not missing pitches. Every time she gets up you think it's going to be a hit. She has great discipline at the plate.
Albia 10, Colo-NESCO 7
The Lady Dees rallied past the Royals thanks to a grand slam from Rechelle Hindman in the second inning.
The Royals scored four runs in the first inning but lost the lead after Albia plated three in the first and five in the second to go up 8-4.
"She has that power. She got the arms extended on that one," Chance said. "Her eyes lit up when she walked up there with the bases loaded. She has the capability to do that and it came at the right time of the game."
As good as Weldon was all day for the Lady Dees, Chance said the play of the day was Hindman's grand slam. It put Albia up for good and allowed the Lady Dees to push their record over .500 for the first time this season.
Babinat was pulled in the second inning after Hindman's grand slam and Sam Riese did a nice job of keeping the Royals in the game.
Kylie Sarver trimmed Albia's lead to two when she blasted her first career home run over the left-field fence in the fourth inning. But the Royals left the bases full, trailing 8-7 heading into the fifth inning.
"She was excited about that. She just met the ball and hit it," Oppedal said. "Our hitting isn't bad, but when you have ducks on the pond, you have to drive them in. We don't always do that. That's what we have to work on."
Weldon capped off her huge day with an RBI double in the fifth to make it 10-7. She was retired just once by Colo-NESCO's pitching.