Tigers remain calm after winless weekend

T-R PHOTO BY STEPHEN KOENIGSFELD • Shortstop Courtney Fudge thorws a ground ball to first baseman Tess Cheetham during a contest in Sunday’s double header against Indian Hills Community College. Fudge was 4-for-7 with a double between the two games, as MCC dropped both conference contests.

There’s no such thing as a panic button.

Marshalltown Community College softball head coach Garland Shirley is preaching that message and the team is buying into it.

After a pair of losses to Indian Hills Community College, 5-0 and 8-5 in a Sunday doubleheader, the Tigers (13-13, 0-6 ICCAC) posted their seventh loss in the last eight games. But the focus isn’t on coming away with big wins or getting on streaks right now.

“Anybody who’s playing for right now, they don’t understand what’s coming up,” Shirley said. “We’re trying get our team ready for the regional tournament. Our defense was there, our hitting was a little off. Our pitching hasn’t peaked yet. Our pitchers are going to peak at the right time, our defense is looking good. We get our offense going, and Indian Hills, Iowa Western and Southeastern are going to have a battle on their hands.”

IHCC freshman Olivia Goodale was brilliant in game one, facing the absolute minimum 21 batters in the seven-inning contest, giving up two hits in the process. But IHCC catcher Sierra Walton was able to pick off Lexie Valentine in the second inning, and a 4-3 double play erased Courtney Fudge in the fourth to keep the bases clear in a hurry.

T-R PHOTO BY STEPHEN KOENIGSFELD • Marshalltown Community College pitcher Paige Taylor flips a ground ball to first baseman Tess Cheetham during a contest on Sunday’s doubleheader with Indian Hills Community College. The Tigers dropped both games, 5-0 and 8-5.

Sophomore Paige Taylor (7-8) did her best to keep pace with Goodale, going seven innings as well, giving up just four hits and four earned runs in the 5-0 loss. Taylor struck out two while walking three in the first game.

Freshman Shaena Robinson said Goodale threw some pitches the Tigers’ order wasn’t used to seeing, giving way to the two-hit affair that saw Robinson go 0-for-3 with a strikeout in game one.

“We are not used to a slower speed like hers,” Robinson said. “What she was was very slow and liked to throw a lot of inside [pitches]. That’s why we were pulling them down the [third-base] side of the field. Normally, we’re used to a lot of hard-throwing, fast pitches. Not something so slow like that.”

Game two started off to be a much different story, with sophomore Jordan Carter starting in the circle. She went 3 1/3 innings before being relieved by Taylor in game two. Carter got through her first three innings with just two hits and two runs, with the Tigers holding a 4-2 lead.

But when she hit Courtnee Hahn to lead off the fourth inning, that set in motion an eight-hit, six-run inning for the Warriors.

T-R PHOTO BY STEPHEN KOENIGSFELD

But Shirley recognized it wasn’t all on Carter’s hands, who started the season 5-2 and fell to 5-5 after Sunday’s loss, but rather a team effort of failing to limit damage that occurs early.

“It had a little bit less with how I thought Jordan started off that inning, but we’ve had an issue finding that toughness, when we start off an inning like that,” Shirley said. “We’ve got to do a better job of minimizing that type of damage, especially that late in the game.”

The Warriors (19-9, 4-2 ICCAC) got through their order-plus two batters, and strung together five consecutive hits culminating in a three-run homer by Shyanne DuBois in the fourth.

Robinson answered with her 14th homer of the year in the bottom of the fourth, a solo shot to left field that exited in a hurry.

Robinson said she’s been in a bit of a slump lately, but with Abby Straight at the circle for IHCC in game two, it was just the recipe she need to cook up another shot that left the park.

T-R PHOTO BY STEPHEN KOENIGSFELD

“When it’s good and high in the count, I really go after those,” Robinson said. “Lately, I’ve been finding myself going down in a bit of a [slump], but I’m coming out.”

The Tigers collected 10 hits, but scored five runs and left nine runners on base in game two. The Warriors capitalized on their offense, knocking in their eight runs on 13 hits, but also leaving nine runners on the bases.

As a team, the Tigers will try to put an end to their yips when they hit the road for a doubleheader Wednesday against Mount Mercy in Cedar Rapids. MCC won’t return home until a twinbill against Iowa Western CC on April 23.

At Marshalltown

Game One

Indian Hills CC 5, Marshalltown CC 0

IHCC 200 003 0 — 5 4 0

MCC 000 000 0 — 0 2 4

Olivia Goodale and Sierra Walton; Paige Taylor and Josie Carpenter. WP–Walton. LP–Taylor (7-8). LOB–IHCC 5, MCC 2.

Game Two

Indian Hills CC 8, Marshalltown CC 5

IHCC 002 600 0 — 8 13 0

MCC 013 100 0 — 5 10 0

Marissa Promes, Abby Straight (4) and Lexi Smith; Jordan Carter, Taylor (4) and Carpenter. WP–Straight. LP–Carter (5-5). 2B–IHCC: Keagan Helson; MCC: Courtney Fudge. HR–IHCC: Shyanne DuBois; MCC: Shaena Robinson (14). LOB–IHCC 9, MCC 9.