’Cats break through with 2

Marshalltown softball scores first two wins

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Marshalltown second baseman Bridget Carroll, right, throws to first to try to complete a double play against Sumner-Fredericksburg during the BCLUW Comet Softball Invitational Tournament on Saturday in Conrad. Sumner-Fredericksburg’s Krayton Allen, left, was out on the play. The Bobcats beat the Cougars, 4-2, for their first win.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Marshalltown second baseman Bridget Carroll, right, throws to first to try to complete a double play against Sumner-Fredericksburg during the BCLUW Comet Softball Invitational Tournament on Saturday in Conrad. Sumner-Fredericksburg’s Krayton Allen, left, was out on the play. The Bobcats beat the Cougars, 4-2, for their first win.

CONRAD — Nine times in the first 12 games of the summer softball season, Marshalltown head coach Jim Palmer preached to his players about staying in the game mentally in spite of losses by seven runs or more.

On Saturday, his persistence paid off in the form of the Bobcats’ first two wins.

A pair of clutch two-run hits helped Marshalltown slip past Sumner-Fredericksburg, 4-2, and Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s bewildered pitching staff contributed a total of 12 walks as the Bobcats notched a 14-3, four-inning victory over the Rebels during the BCLUW Comet Softball Invitational Tournament.

Fourteen hours after narrowly falling to the host BCLUW Comets, 4-3, Marshalltown returned to the diamond with the right mindset — the one Palmer had been pestering his players about during double-digit defeats at the hands of Ottumwa, Fort Dodge, Waukee and Urbandale. And he was doing it again as the Bobcats (2-12) tried to protect a 4-0 lead against Sumner-Fredericksburg.

“I was screaming at them, ‘don’t relax, stay focused,'” said Palmer. “I talk to them all the time about mentally staying in the game, and I really think they have done that. Today feels good to them, they’re happy with the wins.”

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Marshalltown head coach Jim Palmer, left, congratulates senior Aspen Chadderdon as heads home on her first-career home run, a two-run shot that provided the eventual game-winning margin in the Bobcats’ 4-2 victory against Sumner-Fredericksburg on Saturday.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Marshalltown head coach Jim Palmer, left, congratulates senior Aspen Chadderdon as heads home on her first-career home run, a two-run shot that provided the eventual game-winning margin in the Bobcats’ 4-2 victory against Sumner-Fredericksburg on Saturday.

Ciara Feldman’s two-run double down the left-field line gave Marshalltown the upper hand in the bottom of the first inning against Sumner-Fredericksburg (5-8), driving in Regan Mazour and Madi Finch for a 2-0 lead.

The Cougars were forced to make a pitching change in the fourth inning after their starter Kaylyn Hoth was hit on the hand while swinging at a pitch, and Mariah Nuss took over in the bottom of the fourth. She walked Bridget Carroll to start the inning, and Carroll’s pinch-runner Emma McWherter stole second. Nuss retired the next two Bobcat batters on strikes, but No. 9 hitter Aspen Chadderdon delivered what would later prove to be the game-winning runs with her first-career home run — a two-run shot — to put MHS up 4-0.

“That’s great for that kid,” said Palmer. “She works her butt off. She’s one of those kids who stays after practice to take extra batting practice and we work on those things.”

But when you’re trying to snap a 19-game losing streak (dating back to last season), nothing comes easy.

Sumner-Fredericksburg battled back, benefitting from a pair of Marshalltown errors, to push two runs across. Jaydlin Seehase’s hard-hit single to right plated the first, and an errant throw plated another for the Cougars. With two on, two across and only one out, Palmer went out to the circle to talk with his left-handed hurler McKaylee Dawson and his infielders as they clinged to a 4-2 lead.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

“We knew they were strong hitting the ball, and we knew the wind [blowing out] was going to be an issue,” Palmer said. “We talked about using a lot of drop balls and to be careful about leaving fastballs in the [strike] zone.

“The girls responded and made some good plays defensively.”

Dawson got the next batter swinging, and Carroll fielded a grounder for the third out. Sumner-Fredericksburg put runners on in each of its last two at-bats, but Marshalltown made the defensive plays to secure the team’s first win of the season.

“It’s a validation for the hard work these girls put in and they keep striving for it, for perfection,” said Palmer. “We’re never going to be perfect, we know that, but we keep working toward it.”

Mazour accounted for three of Marshalltown’s five hits in the win, scoring once, while Feldman and Chadderdon had the others. Dawson walked only one — the leadoff batter in the seventh — while striking out seven. She surrendered only five hits and two unearned runs.

The Bobcats rounded out their tournament stay by routing winless Gladbrook-Reinbeck, 14-3 in four innings. Marshalltown scored 10 runs in the second inning and benefitted from 12 walks by Rebel pitchers and two G-R errors.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck (0-9) actually outhit MHS, 7-5, but was no match for the Bobcats. The Rebels also lost earlier in the day, 14-4 in five innings, to Cedar Falls (2-13).

“For the most part they want to compete,” said G-R head coach Paula Kelley. “We laugh and we joke and we dance on the bus, it’s pretty lighthearted, but we have to be. We take the games seriously and we’re learning. We know there’s going to be some hard games but as long as we learn from them, it’s all good.”

Feldman hit an inside-the-park, two-run home run in the top of the first inning. In the Bobcats’ 10-run second, Mazour had an RBI single and McKenna Major drove a two-run double.

Kyra Feldman collected her first varsity RBI with a third-inning single to left, and Kailee Pollard added a run-scoring groundout to close the scoring. Madi Finch walked and scored in all three plate appearances.

Pollard also pitched three innings in relief of Dawson, allowing three unearned runs on six hits while striking out two.

Taylor Gienger led the Rebels with a two-run single. Marissa Berendes was 2-for-2 with an RBI, while Rachel Cooley, Brianna Strohbehn, Sadie Cahalan and Alyssa Morgan each contributed singles.

Marshalltown will try to carry some of the momentum from its two-win weekend when it goes to Johnston for a CIML Iowa Conference clash with the Class 5A No. 5 Dragons.

“Going back into conference play is going to be tough,” said Palmer. “We need to stay the course, keep competing, do what we do as a team to keep getting better. We want to crescendo at regionals.”

BCLUW Comet Invitational

At Conrad

Friday’s Games

Waterloo West 16, Gladbrook-Reinbeck 6

Sumner-Fredericksburg 5, Cedar Falls 4

BCLUW 4, Marshalltown 3

Saturday’s Games

BCLUW 10, Cedar Falls 2

Cedar Falls 14, Gladbrook-Reinbeck 4

Marshalltown 4, Sumner-Fredericksburg 2

Union 7, Waterloo West 3

Sumner-Fredericksburg 9, Waterloo West 7

BCLUW 8, Union 1

Marshalltown 14, Gladbrook-Reinbeck 3

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BCLUW 10, Cedar Falls 2

BCLUW 110 80 — 10 13 2

Cedar Falls 000 20 — 2 3 4

Lauren Anderson and Kate Goecke; Tjaden Petersen, Tehya Tournier (4) and Cara Forsblom. W–Anderson. L–Petersen. 2B–BCLUW: Jordyn Beeghly. LOB–BCLUW 4, CF 4.

Cedar Falls 14, Gladbrook-Reinbeck 4

G-R 013 00 — 4 9 4

Cedar Falls 019 13 — 14 10 2

Rachel Cooley and Taylor Gienger; Avery Canfield and Lex Hesse. W–Canfield. L–Cooley. 2B–G-R: Haleigh Berendes; CF: Lean Forsblom. 3B–CF: Lily Becker, Ashton Syharath. LOB–G-R 6, CF 4.

Marshalltown 4, Sumner-Fredericksburg 2

S-F 000 020 0 — 2 5 1

MHS 200 200 X — 4 5 5

Kaylyn Hoth, Mariah Nuss (4) and Kylie Hoth; McKaylee Dawson and Erica Johnson. W–Dawson. L–Nuss. 2B–MHS: Ciara Feldman. HR–MHS: Aspen Chadderdon (1). LOB–S-F 9, MHS 4.

Marshalltown 14, Gladbrook-Reinbeck 3

MHS 2(10)2 0 — 14 5 1

G-R 030 0 — 3 7 2

Dawson, Kailee Pollard (2) and Johnson, Kyra Feldman (2); Sasha Nagle, Gracey Nagle (2), Alyssa Morgan (3) and Gienger. W–Pollard. L–S.Nagle. 2B–MHS: McKenna Major. HR–MHS: Feldman (1). LOB–MHS 1, G-R 5.

BCLUW 8, Union 1

BCLUW 104 003 0 — 8 9 2

Union 000 001 0 — 1 5 3

Samantha Ubben and Goecke; Justine Nagel, Natalie Tecklenburg (4) and Jordyn Nagel. W–Ubben. L–Ju.Nagel. 2B–BCLUW: Beeghly 2. HR–U: Peyton Parker (3). LOB–BCLUW 7, Union 7.