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Urbandale pulls away from MHS baseball

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE - Marshalltown senior third baseman Wade Canaday, left, fields the throw deemed not in time to force out Urbandale’s Luke Sams in the first game of Thursday’s CIML doubleheader at the MHS diamond. Sams eventually scored one of the J-Hawks’ seven runs in the inning.

Once Urbandale got the ball rolling, the Bobcats couldn’t get it stopped.

The Marshalltown baseball team missed on its chance to take out defending state champion Urbandale and the Class 4A No. 8 J-Hawks hammered out back-to-back victories instead in Thursday’s CIML doubleheader at the MHS diamond.

Urbandale scored seven runs in the sixth inning of game one to break away for a 9-4 triumph, and the J-Hawks rolled to a 16-1, five-inning win in the nightcap in a battle between former divisional foes.

Marshalltown (17-12) saw its seven-game win streak snapped at the hands of the J-Hawks (18-9).

“We finished the week with a thud, altough we had a nice game going with a good team for five innings,” MHS head coach Steve Hanson said of the opener. “We actually did a good job in all phases through the first five innings. We were then unable to handle a bunt and get an out, which snowballed into seven runs before we could get it stopped.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE - Marshalltown senior first baseman Dru Dobbins is unable to field the throw to second as Urbandale’s Jack Fuchs dives back safely following his three-run double in Thursday’s opening game.

“The disappointing thing for me was the fact that when the wheels started to come off the cart we were unable to do anything to get it stopped. Good teams are able to minimize damage and shorten innings. We were unable to do that and the game got away from us.”

Marshalltown had a worked hard to establish its 4-2 lead through five innings of the first game, highlighted by Dru Dobbins’ two-run homer in the second and heads-up baserunning in the fifth.

Starting pitcher Joseph Harris led off the bottom of the second with a double and came around one out later on Dobbins’ rocket to right field, and the Bobcats’ bases-loaded rally in the fifth was all but squashed before both Will Van Buren and Wade Canaday scored on Harris’ grounder to short. The throw pulled Urbandale’s first baseman off the bag, leaving Harris safe while Canaday continued to hustle around and score the go-ahead run.

Urbandale manufactured its way to a big inning in the sixth, starting with a bunt single for Gehrig Christensen, an error and another bunt to load the bases after Marshalltown’s attempt to cut down the leading runner was denied on a close play at third base.

Dillon Kuehl made it hurt with an RBI single, Lucas Strain was hit by a pitch to push home another, and pinch-hitter Jack Fuchs found a pitch to his liking and lifted it to deep left field for a three-run double.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

The Bobcats never got back up after that, falling behind right off the bat in game two. The J-Hawks got six runs off game-two starter Carson Williams and stayed on the aggressive, compiling 16 runs on 11 hits, nine walks and three hit batsmen.

“Game two was a total avalanche,” said Hanson. “To contrast our last two playing dates, on Wednesday in 15 innings we walked or hit one batter. Tonight in 12 innings we walked or hit 17. Against high-caliber competition you simply have no chance of survival if you give up that many free bases.

“Hopefully our guys come in tomorrow ready to get better. We’re running out of time to make any major improvements.”

Canaday had three hits, including a double, in the opening game while Dobbins and Williams each had two. Harris was tagged with the loss, allowing nine runs — five earned — on nine hitse and three walks over six innings. He struck out two.

In the nightcap, MHS managed just four hits in five frames against Urbandale’s Tucker Langenberg, who walked two and struck out five in four innings.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

Canaday was an RBI double to plate Tate Kuehner as the team’s only run in the bottom of the third. Harrris, Williams and Bennett Hageman each had a single.

The Bobcats get back into CIML Iowa Conference play next week, hosting Valley on Monday and visiting Mason City on Wednesday for a pair of league doubleheaders.