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SPORTS SHORTS: Swanson, Comets beat Mustangs on walk-off

CONRAD — For every East Marshall punch, BCLUW had the counterpunch. And then Easton Swanson landed the knockout.

With two runners in scoring position in a one-run game, Swanson laced a double to left-center field, driving in Parker Scurr and Olivia Hughes as the tying and game-winning runs as Class 1A No. 5 BCLUW beat 2A No. 10 East Marshall 7-6 to complete the NICL West Division sweep in thrilling walk-off fashion.

East Marshall (13-4, 6-2) entered on a 10-game winning streak and jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first half inning, powered by Madison Farrington’s two-run home run. The Mustangs made it 5-0 in the top of the fifth on Farrington’s RBI double, but that’s when BCLUW (14-6, 7-0) started its comeback.

Kennedy Williams reached on a leadoff single, moved up on Jaelyn Allen’s sacrifice bunt and scored on an errant pickoff attempt. With two outs, East Marshall starting pitcher Kodie Hoskey walked No. 9 hitter Parker Scurr, and Comet junior Kiersten Kruse came through with her first career home run, a two-run shot to make it 5-3.

Still reeling, Hoskey walked Hughes before Swanson blasted her second home run of the season to tie the score at 5-all.

The Mustangs fought back to regain the lead in the top of the seventh on back-to-back two-out doubles by Maria Rasmusson and Reagan McIlrath, making it 6-5 going into BCLUW’s last at-bat.

The Comets capitalized on the chance, as McIlrath — who relieved Hoskey after the Swanson homer — walked Scurr with one out in the bottom of the seventh. McIlrath settled to strike out Kruse for the second out, but Hughes advanced into scoring position with a stolen base on the first pitch to Swanson, and the second pitch ended up in the gap in left for the walk-off winner.

Swanson finished 4-for-4 at the plate with two doubles, a homer and four RBIs.

Comet hurler Bailey Ashton allowed five earned runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out 11 in the win.

Farrington finished 2-for-3 with a double, her fifth dinger of the season and three RBIs, while Melinda Puumala had two hits and a run scored, Rasmusson had two hits and three runs scored, and McIlrath had two hits, a run and an RBI. Hannah Birks had the only Mustang hit that didn’t come from the top half of the batting order.

McIlrath got the loss in relief of Hoskey, allowing two runs on two hits and one walk over two innings, striking out three. Hoskey struck out two and walked three, surrendering five runs on five hits over 4 2/3 frames.

Three of the four BCLUW batters issued free passes by Mustang pitching eventually scored.

The Comets have a two-game lead in the conference race with a sweep of East Marshall and one win in the bag against 1A No. 6 AGWSR (5-2 NICL West).

AGWSR 2, West Marshall 1

ACKLEY — The Class 1A No. 6 AGWSR softball team scored twice in the bottom of the third inning and withstood West Marshall the rest of the way for a 2-1 victory in Thursday’s NICL West Division showdown.

The Cougars (12-3, 5-2) got three of their eight hits in the home half of the third, starting with Carrinton Hunt’s single. Alyssa Hames was hit by a pitch, Hannah Homeyer loaded the bases with a bunt single, and Ali Gerbracht broke the scoreless tie with her one-out single. Rachel Sicard plated another on a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 advantage.

West Marshall (6-8, 2-5) mounted its only scoring threat in the top of the seventh starting with Loran Nicholson’s leadoff double. She moved up on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch, but that was all the Trojans could muster.

Taryan Barrick struck out 13 in her two-hitter for the Cougars, walking three in her first seven-inning appearance this season since returning from injury last week. Josie Winterberg was 3-for-3 and Taylor Sperfslage had two hits for AGWSR.

Grace de Neui had the only other hit for West Marshall. Nicholson struck out four and did not walk a batter.

BASEBALL

West Marshall 21, Gladbrook-Reinbeck 14

REINBECK — The West Marshall baseball team hit four home runs to help overcome Tyler Tscherter’s three as the Trojans topped host Gladbrook-Reinbeck 21-14 in Thursday’s NICL West Division slugfest.

Gabe Jones hit a pair of two-run home runs, Brayden Evertsen hit a two-run shot and Kaden Davis connected for a grand slam as West Marshall (12-3, 7-0) remained unbeaten in conference play.

The Trojans lead all of Class 2A and are tied for fourth across the state with 11 home runs as a team so far this season.

Kinnick Christensen, Ryan Reyerson and Josh Larsen each had two hits, including a double, as Reyerson drove in four runs and both Christensen and Larsen plated two. Davis had two hits and drove in five runs in all, including the grand slam during West Marshall’s 12-run at-bat in the top of the seventh.

West Marshall led 9-1 before Gladbrook-Reinbeck (7-5, 3-2) scored four times in the fourth and nine times in the fifth to take a 14-9 lead, only to see the Trojans tally 12 in the top of the seventh.

Tscherter boosted his season total to eight home runs with his trio of round-trippers. He hit a two-run homer, a three-run homer and a grand slam to lead the Rebels.

East Marshall 16, Hudson 13

GILMAN — Eighth-grader Kam Monk struck out four in 5 1/3 innings for the win and the East Marshall baseball team defated Hudson 16-13 in a non-conference slugfest here Thursday night.

Monk allowed three runs — two earned — on six hits and one walk in his relief stint, which helped break up Hudson’s eight-run second inning and its five-run seventh.

East Marshall (6-7) applied regular pressure with 16 runs on 17 hits, scoring at least two runs in five of its six at-bats.

Austin Elliott went 4-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and four runs scored to lead the Mustangs, while Chase Gratopp was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and four runs scored. Zach Jacobson was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored, Eli Curtis was 2-for-3 and scored twice, and Wesley Hamor was 2-for-5 and drove in a run.

LATE WEDNESDAY

SOFTBALL

WDM Valley 10-7, Marshalltown 0-1

WEST DES MOINES — The Marshalltown softball team racked up 11 hits but couldn’t scratch together enough runs to hang with Class 5A No. 2 West Des Moines Valley in Wednesday’s CIML Iowa Conference doubleheader.

The host Tigers (16-2, 7-1) posted wins of 10-0 in five innings and 7-1 to remain in a first-place tie atop the conference with top-ranked Waukee.

Marshalltown, meanwhile, continued to search for its first conference victory since splitting with Waukee on June 1, 2018.

The Bobcats (4-10, 0-6) compiled four hits in the first game, all against Valley relief pitcher Olivia Roush in the last two innings, but couldn’t capitalize with the bases loaded in the top of the fourth.

Gabby Himes, Erica Johnson, Madi Finch and Kyra Feldman each had a single for MHS, but Valley had seven extra-base hits among their 14 against Bobcat freshman hurler Avery Mull. Mull struck out one, walked two and allowed five earned runs.

Haley Gatica got the win for Valley, striking out six and walking one over three hitless innings. Gianna Lara was 3-for-3 with a double, a triple, an RBI and three runs scored to lead the Tigers.

In the nightcap, Gatica went 3-for-3 with a solo home run and Megan Decker gave up four hits in seven innings as Valley prevailed 7-1.

The Bobcats got their lone run of the day in the top of the fifth inning as Emma McWherter reached on a leadoff walk, Alyvia Chadderdon singled to left and Paige Wertzberger ripped an RBI single to left. Gabby Himes singled to put two runners on after Chadderdon was thrown out going for third, but Erica Johnson lined into a double play to end the threat.

Marshalltown had climbed to within 3-1, but Valley answered with three runs in the fifth and another insurance run in the sixth.

Kailee Pollard took the loss in the circle for MHS, allowing 14 hits and seven runs — four earned — on a walk with no strikeouts.

West Marshall 17, Gladbrook-Reinbeck 7

GLADBROOK — The West Marshall softball team slapped 18 hits en route to a 17-7, six-inning victory over Gladbrook-Reinbeck in Wednesday’s NICL West Division contest.

The Trojans led 7-0 before Gladbrook-Reinbeck racked up four runs in the bottom of the second inning, and it was 8-6 West Marshall until a nine-run explosion broke it open for good. West Marshall (6-7, 2-4) sent 13 batters to the plate in the sixth and held on as the Rebels (1-6, 0-6) tried to prolong the game in the bottom half.

Reagan Skovgard, who powered G-R’s offense with a bases-clearing double in the second, was thrown out trying to score on a flyout to center field by Alyssa Morgan. Taylor Gienger had scored on Skovgard’s sixth-inning single, but Skovgard was thrown out on Kayla Cripps’ throw home to Karisa Blocker.

Blocker was 4-for-5 with a double and three RBIs to lead West Marshall at the plate. Renae Schaper was 3-for-5 with an RBI double and Payton Halverson was 3-for-5 with an RBI double and three runs scored. Grace de Neui added two hits and three runs scored.

Josie Zahnd got the win in the circle, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out five.

Skovgard finished 3-for-4 with two doubles to lead G-R, and Morgan was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.