’Cats catch J-Hawks in Game 2
Marshalltown softball splits Senior Night doubleheader with Urbandale
The wins have come few and far between for the Marshalltown softball team, but that only makes the Bobcats savor them more.
Marshalltown got a strong pitching performance from eighth-grader Ella Grife and scratched out a split against Urbandale on Thursday night, taking a 5-3 victory in the second game after suffering a narrow 6-5 loss in the opener of the cross-CIML doubleheader at the MHS diamond.
One night after getting nary a run in a pair of lopsided losses to Class 5A No. 3 Fort Dodge, the Bobcats (6-24) challenged Urbandale from the outside. Marshalltown scored first in both games and gave the extra effort to get the split on a Senior Night celebration that honored just two seniors. Marina Rosalez and Alyvia Chadderdon each had a single in the first game, but the Bobcats couldn’t overcome two unearned runs that tipped the scales in the J-Hawks’ favor in the first game of the evening.
“I was very proud of how we responded tonight after some tough games against Fort Dodge,” said MHS head coach Jim Palmer. “The ladies were much more intense and played with effort through both games.
“Game two we did a better job eliminating errors. Take away the errors in the first game and the results may have been much different.”
Urbandale (12-17) got to Marshalltown freshman Avery Mull for 11 hits, three walks and one hit batsman in the opener, scoring four times in the fourth inning to take a 4-1 lead. The Bobcats answered with two of their own on an RBI double from Mull and a run-scoring single by Gabby Himes in the home half.
The J-Hawks tacked on two more insurance runs in the fifth that came in awfully handy by the time Marshalltown had scored two more in the bottom half. Chadderdon got her single, Himes did too, and Rosalez reached on a fielder’s choice that plated Chadderdon. Another fielder’s choice allowed Erica Johnson to reach base, and she eventually came around to score on Paige Wertzberger’s single.
Two runners were left stranded, however, and the Bobcats went down in order in the bottom of the seventh for a one-run loss.
In the second game, Marshalltown jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a four-spot in the second inning and never relinquished the lead. Madi Finch singled, Wertzberger moved her up with a bunt, and Autumn Finch was hit by a pitch. Emma McWherter belted a single up the middle that scored two and Grife helped her own cause with a run-scoring single up the middle. Grife eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Himes, just beating the throw home.
The Bobcats got an insurance run in the sixth when Wertzberger walked and matriculated around on wild pitches, and Kailee Pollard pitched the last two innings to save the game for Grife’s first varsity win.
“Ella Grife came into game one and worked us out of the [seventh] inning and started game two and threw five innings,” said Palmer, “and she matured more on the mound tonight. Ella is a competitor and loves the pressure. She really competed at a high level tonight.
“And Kailee Pollard had great command of her pitches to tonight to get the save in game two.”
Grife allowed five hits over five innings, walking two and striking out two in the win, while Pollard gave up two hits, walked one and struck out one for the save.
Offensively, McWherter was 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI to lead the Bobcat bats in the nightcap.
Marshalltown’s only games next week are a doubleheader at Mason City on Wednesday night in CIML Iowa Conference play.