Rams forfeit, ’Cats sweep conference road games

Joseph Harris

PLEASANT HILL — The Marshalltown baseball team benefited from a pitch count rules violation to win a game it lost, then rode the change in momentum by completing the sweep of Class 4A No. 4 Southeast Polk in the nightcap of Monday’s CIML Iowa Conference doubleheader.

The Bobcats filed their official protest after Southeast Polk junior pitcher Mason Porepp had already thrown nine pitches in the top of the first inning of Game 1, thereby disqualifying the Rams because of pitch count rules that came into effect in 2017. Porepp threw 99 pitches Thursday in Ottumwa, which mandates four days of rest before he’s legally allowed to pitch again. He only got three days off in between, thus forfeiting the game for Southeast Polk (19-7, 6-4).

The two teams finished out the opening game, but both made a mass of substitutions in a contest they knew wouldn’t count after it had ended. The Rams capitalized on five Marshalltown errors to score a 7-1 win that will instead be categorized as a 7-0 forfeit victory for the Bobcats (15-10, 6-6).

MHS rode the tide to a convincing victory in Game 2 as Joseph Harris, Wade Canaday and Tate Kuehner combined on a five-hit shutout, striking out 11 batters in a 6-0 triumph.

“We’re not real happy with how we played in the first one, but rules are rules and we’ll certainly take the win,” said Marshalltown head coach Steve Hanson. “We’re obviously very pleased to go on the road against a tough team and pull out a couple wins, but it’s especially pleasing to actually play well in all phases for a change.”

Tate Kuehner

The Bobcat defense played error-free ball in game two and the offense struck first, scoring three times in the top of the first inning. One-out walks to Dylan Eygabroad and Canaday set the table for Harris, who hit an RBI single. Will Van Buren’s single up the middle loaded the bases, and the Bobcats got a clutch two-out, two-run single from Dru Dobbins to make it 3-0.

Harris held the Rams down for his four innings on the mound, allowing just four singles and two walks while striking out four. The Rams didn’t reach second base against him until back-to-back singles by Aaron DuToit and Carter Oleson chased him from the bump in the bottom of the fifth.

Kuehner kept the inherited baserunners from scoring, getting an infield flyout and a strikeout before walking the No. 9 batter to load the bases. He escaped any damage by striking out Southeast Polk’s leading hitter Evan Martin, then retired the side in order — two on strikeouts — in the sixth.

In the meanwhile, MHS had tacked on another three runs. With Blake Trowbridge reaching on a fielder’s choice grounder, Kuehner doubled and Eygabroad was intentionally walked to load the bases in the top of the sixth, but Canaday ruined the strategy with a two-run double to left. Harris followed with another run-scoring single to make it 6-0.

Canaday sealed it shut in the seventh, allowing a two-out single to Porepp but striking out the other three batters he faced.

“Game two was very different in that we received outstanding starting pitching from Joseph Harris, who was followed by Tate Kuehner and Wade Canaday,” said Hanson. “Our pitching and defense in game two was as good as it’s been all year — so that’s an encouraging sign.

“We also did a nice job putting up some runs in the first [inning] with timely hitting. We were able to tack on three more runs late in the game which gave us some breathing room.”

Harris finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs to lead the Bobcat bats in Game 2, and got the win on the mound to improve to 3-1 this summer.

In the opener, starting pitcher Carson Williams allowed six runs — all unearned — over two innings in a game that had already been decided by the time Joe Barnes came on in relief. Barnes allowed one run on one hit over four innings, walking two.

The Rams rattled off six runs sparked by five Marshalltown errors in the second inning.

The Bobcats got just two hits off five Southeast Polk pitchers in the opening game, scoring their lone run in the sixth when Canaday’s sacrifice fly plated Kuehner, who had singled. Harris had the only other MHS hit.

“Two different games, although we got pretty good pitching in both,” said Hanson. “Carson Williams did a nice job starting things out and we really didn’t give him any support. Four or five extra outs in any inning will put you behind the eight ball in this league. Joe Burnes did a nice job in relief.”

The Bobcats come back home for the remainder of the week, hosting Fort Dodge for a conference doubleheader on Wednesday and eighth-ranked Urbandale for a cross-CIML twinbill on Thursday.

“Things don’t get any easier and we’ll need continued effort on Wednesday to be successful,” added Hanson.

At Pleasant Hill

Game One

*Southeast Polk 7, Marshalltown 1

MHS 000 001 0 — 1 2 5

SE POLK 060 100 X — 7 6 1

Carson Williams, Joe Burnes and Will Van Buren, Aidan DeVolder (4); Mason Porepp, Evan Gjersvik (3), Austin Enos (4), Cale Raasch (6), Anthony Dennis (6) and Aaron DuToit. W–Porepp (5-1). L–Williams (1-3). 2B–SEP: Adam Schneider. LOB–MHS 5, SEP 5.

(* — Marshalltown wins 7-0 by forfeit)

Game Two

Marshalltown 6, Southeast Polk 0

MHS 300 003 0 — 6 9 0

SE POLK 000 000 0 — 0 5 1

Joseph Harris, Tate Kuehner (5), Wade Canaday (7) and Van Buren; Calvin Harris, Jack Allison (2), Schneider (3), Gjersvik (6) and DuToit. W–J. Harris (3-1). L–C. Harris (0-1). 2B–MHS: Kuehner, Canaday. LOB–MHS 12, SEP 4.