MHS snaps seven-game skid, splits with SE Polk

T-R PHOTO BY ANNE VANCE • Members of the Marshalltown baseball team celebrate the Bobcats’ 4-3 win in the nightcap of Thursday’s cross-CIML doubleheader against Southeast Polk in Pleasant Hill.

PLEASANT HILL — Marshalltown sophomore Dylan Eygabroad drove in the go-ahead run with his two-out single in the top of the seventh inning and then turned a double play to end the game, helping the Bobcat baseball team salvage a split at Southeast Polk on Thursday night.

The host Rams (13-8) rattled off six runs in the fifth inning of the opener to break open a close game for a 7-0 victory, but Marshalltown scored last to break a 3-all tie in the second game for a 4-3 triumph.

The win ended a seven-game losing skid for the Bobcats (9-12) and stopped Southeast Polk’s seven-game winning streak all at once, giving MHS a chance to end the week on a high note with tonight’s home game against North Polk.

“Southeast Polk has been playing very well the past 10 days and had run off a bunch of wins in a row, so to go on the road and battle out a win is really big for us,” said MHS head coach Steve Hanson. “The past week we’ve taken some lumps but our guys deserve a lot of credit for keeping their noses down and continuing to work hard.”

Marshalltown suffered its fourth-straight shutout loss in the opener as Southeast Polk’s Brody Gardner twirled a five-hitter for the win, walking one and striking out one. The Rams defense did not make an error behind him, and the Bobcats’ five hits were all singles.

Wade Canaday went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead MHS, while Nate Vance, Sam Irwin and Eygabroad each had one hit in the loss. Vance pitched all six innings in a losing cause, allowing five earned runs on seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts.

In the nightcap, Marshalltown ended a 28-inning scoreless drought with two runs in the top of the second inning. Dru Dobbins reached on an error and Irwin doubled to put two runners on for Canaday, who drove in Dobbins and reached safely on the fielder’s choice. One out later, Noah DeVenney grounded out to short, plating Irwin, but Canaday was cut down trying to advance from second to third for the final out of the frame.

The Bobcats tacked on another run in the third to take a 3-0 lead, but the Rams responded with two runs in the fourth and the tying run in the sixth.

Pinch-hitter Blake Trowbridge singled to lead off the top of the seventh for MHS, and he moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Miguel Torrez and DeVenney’s groundout. Eygabroad delivered a single that plated Trowbridge as the eventual game-winning run.

Southeast Polk threatened in the home half of the seventh as Shane Starcevich reached with a one-out double. Tate Kuehner took over on the mound in relief of Jordan Smiley, but a passed ball moved Starcevich to third and Adam Schneider walked. Cole Hassman’s 1-0 grounder up the middle took Eygabroad to the bag at second, and he threw to first for the game-ending double play.

Smiley pitched 6 1/3 innings for his first win of the season, allowing one earned run on seven hits and one walk with two strikeouts. Kuehner walked one but got the double play for the save.

“Tonight our guys showed some grit after getting shut down in the first game,” said Hanson. “Jordan Smiley did a real nice job on the mound and just kept plugging along to give us a chance to win. Tate Kuehner closed things up in the bottom of the seventh but not without a great defensive play by Dylan Eygabroad, who also had the go-ahead hit in the top of the seventh.”

Eygabroad was 2-for-3 in the nightcap, accounting for two of the Bobcats’ five hits. Irwin doubled while Dobbins and Canaday singled.

At Pleasant Hill

Game One

Southeast Polk 7, Marshalltown 0

MHS 000 000 0 — 0 5 1

SE Polk 000 160 X — 7 7 0

Nate Vance and Miguel Torrez; Brody Gardner and Chase Wheeldon. W–Gardner (1-1). L–Vance (3-2). 2B–SEP: Aaron Lang, Devin Creger, Adam Schneider. LOB–MHS 4, SEP 3.

Game Two

Marshalltown 4, Southeast Polk 3

MHS 021 000 1 — 4 5 3

SE Polk 000 201 0 — 3 7 3

Jordan Smiley, Tate Kuehner (7) and Wyatt Himes; Shane Starcevich, Ethan Timm (4), Payne Roberts (7) and Wheeldon, Wieslander (5), Wheeldon (6). W–Smiley (1-2). L–Starcevich (0-1). Sv–Kuehner (1). 2B–MHS: Sam Irwin; SEP Starcevich, Evan Martin. 3B–SEP: Lang. LOB–MHS 3, SEP 5.