Sophomore Mackenzie Gott saved the Marshalltown Community College softball team from getting swept by Des Moines Area Community College on Wednesday afternoon.
The former Oskaloosa standout snatched a fly ball hit to deep left field and prevented the hard-hit ball from going over the fence in the fifth inning and then recorded the game-winning hit in the sixth inning of the Tigers' 5-4 victory in the home opener.
The 15th-ranked Bears recovered in game two though as Cailey Schlenker held the Tigers to just one hit during a 7-0 win. DMACC took three of four from MCC this season and is now 12-4 in Iowa Community College Athletic Conference play.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown Community College catcher Tacie Blunk, left, gets in position to slap down the tag on DMACC’s Rachel McPherson at home plate during game two of a doubleheader at MCC on Wednesday evening. The Tigers rallied to win the opener 5-4 but lost the nightcap 7-0.
"It was good to get home. I told the girls that it will feel like a road game because we just haven't played at home and are accustomed to playing on the road," said MCC coach Tyrone Robinson. "It was a good chance to be home and get a win."
The Tigers trailed by one in the fifth inning of game one when Gott made the miraculous catch over the wall in left field. A two-run homer would have put the Bears up 6-3, but Gott kept the ball in the field of play and Sarah Wilson (9-7) got the final out of the frame with a ground ball. She stranded two runners on base in the process.
MCC evened the game at 4-all after an RBI single from Emmeline Huffaker in the bottom of the fifth and then Gott's RBI single in the sixth scored Brooke Dunkin, who walked on four pitches and then stole second and went to third on a wild pitch.
Marshalltown CC 5, DMACC 4
Riley Fisher, Amanda Widener (3), April Brown (3) Alyson Netty (6) and Jamie Reynolds; Sarah Wilson and Brooke Dunkin. W - Wilson (9-7). L - Netty. 2B - DMACC: Jessica Bastian; MCC: Dunkin. LOB - DMACC 12, MCC 9.
DMACC 7, Marshalltown CC 0
Cailey Schlenker and Reynolds; Mackenzie Gott and Tacie Blunk, Brooke Dunkin (4). W - Schlenker. L - Gott (1-2). 2B - DMACC: Katlin Briley. 3B - DMACC: Kaylee Buch. HR - DMACC: Jamie Reynolds, Allie Fitzgerald. LOB - DMACC 8, MCC 6.
"We talk a lot about situational hitting - moving runners over and stuff," said Robinson. "That was the key to getting that first victory. The girls had some quality at-bats and moved runners over and got the job done that way."
The Bears were able to spoil MCC's first home doubleheader of the season with an impressive victory in the nightcap.
Schlenker, an all-state pitcher from Bondurant-Farrar who guided the Lady Jays to the Class 3A state title in 2013, kept the Tigers off balance with an effective change-up that was paired with an impressive drop ball.
Wilson singled with two outs in the sixth inning to collect the Tigers' only hit of the game. Gott walked twice and Huffaker walked once, but MCC was unable to get a runner past second base in the loss. The Tigers had two on with one out in the fifth, but Schlenker got out of the jam by inducing a fly ball to center and a ground ball back to the circle.
"She is a decent drop ball pitcher. Her drop ball was working well for her tonight and she pitches to contact," said Robinson. "We had some good hits on her, but they were right at people. You can't do much about that stuff."
The Bears scored four of their seven runs in the first inning off Gott, who took the loss in the circle. Katlin Briley led off the game with a double and then scored when Jamie Reynolds blasted a two-run home run to left.
The Bears sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning and added another run with three more singles later in the frame.
It stayed 4-0 until the fourth. Allie Fitzgerald connected on a two-out, solo blast to right and then Amanda Widener walked and scored following an RBI triple by Kaylee Buch. They added an insurance run later in the inning to make it 7-0.
"When pitchers don't hit their spots early and you make an error, then it's like a double jeopardy," said Robinson. "When you get behind, you need to focus more at the plate and try to take that drop ball away from her."
The Tigers failed to do that against Schlenker and dropped to 18-14 on the season and 6-8 in Division II play of the ICCAC. Second-place DMACC is now 22-8 overall and 12-4 in league play.
Gott was tagged for 13 hits in the game-two loss. Reynolds and Buch each had two hits and two RBIs to lead the Bears at the plate, while Hannah Swafford, Jessica Bastian, Riley Fisher and Briley all had two hits apiece.
In the opener, Wilson earned her ninth victory despite allowing eight hits and six walks. The sophomore stranded 12 runners on base as DMACC threatened in all but one inning.
Gott had two hits and an RBI at the plate to lead the way. Dunkin added a hit, a walk, a run, an RBI and two steals, while Tacie Blunk and Whitney Baker each had a hit and a walk. Blunt scored a run and Baker had an RBI.
DMACC used four pitchers in the opener and Alyson Netty took the loss after allowing the game-winning run in the sixth. Briley had two hits at the plate, while Reynolds scored two runs and Swafford and Bastian each had an RBI.
The Tigers are just 2-7 in their last nine meetings with DMACC, which started its softball program just three years ago. The Tigers will continue its homestand with two games against Southeast Community College on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The Bears swept the Tigers 6-2 and 3-0 in Boone back on April 1.