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Valley withstands Bobcats twice in CIML Iowa play

WEST DES MOINES — At some point, the CIML Iowa Conference is bound to knock you down. Marshalltown head baseball coach Steve Hanson expects his Bobcats to get back on their feet.

The Bobcat baseball team suffered its third and fourth losses in five games this week, falling 11-8 and then 12-2 in five innings to West Des Moines Valley on Wednesday night in league play.

The Bobcats (9-7, 2-4) battled back from an 8-0 deficit in the opening game to pull within one, 8-7, after a seven-run explosion in the top of the sixth inning. Marshalltown pieced five singles together with a Valley error and three-straight walks, sending 13 batters to the plate to make a game of it.

But the Tigers (8-7, 4-2) took their turn in the home half, scoring three times to regain a four-run lead before Marshalltown’s Wade Canaday hit a solo home run in the seventh. The Bobcats got subsequent singles from Joseph Harris and one out later from Carson Williams to get the potential tying run to the plate, but Valley reliever Kyle Westhoff got out of the game to preserve the Tiger triumph.

Canaday, Harris, Williams, Dylan Eygabroad and Bennett Hageman each had two hits for MHS, which nearly climbed out of an 8-0 hole.

Losing pitcher Tate Kuehner surrendered eight runs — seven earned — on nine hits and five walks over 4 2/3 innings of work, striking out five.

Valley sunk the Bobcats in a 4-0 hole to start game two but the Bobcats battled back by cutting that deficit in half with two runs in the top of the third. This time it was a six-run eruption by the Tigers that got them over the top for good in the fourth, and Valley finished off the run rule-shortened victory with two runs in the bottom of the fifth.

“There were a few bright spots tonight, namely a comeback in game one and battling pretty well in the first part of game two, but we were unable to sustain any kind of consistent play,” said Hanson. “Against athletic teams like Valley our execution has to be better if we’re going to have a chance to be successful. There were times our guys lost their composure and focus, which is a bad recipe in our league as things can get out of hand very quickly.”

Marshalltown managed just four hits against Valley hurler Sam McCune, who struck out one while walking four for the win. Dylan Eygabroad took the loss for the Bobcats, allowing eight hits and 10 runs — eight earned — over four frames.

The lone extra-base hit for the Bobcats in game two was Harris’ two-out, two-run double in the top of the third. Blake Trowbridge singled to start and Eygabroad walked, and both scored two outs later on Harris’ hit.

Van Buren and Tyler Dunham had the only other Bobcat hits not aforementioned.

Nick Buttolph hit his first home run of the season — a three-run shot — to spur Valley as a part of its six-run fourth. McCune had three hits while Casey Stalzer, Ben DeTaeye and Blake Grevengoed added two hits apiece for the Tigers.

The Bobcats close out the week at home on Friday, hosting North Polk for a junior varsity/varsity doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. Marshalltown will be honoring the 2008 and 2009 back-to-back state tournament teams in between Friday’s games.

“We now have a chance to practice for the first time in over a week and it’s important that we take advantage of our opportunity,” said Hanson. “I think our guys recognize the need to continue working and improving but sometimes generating the effort to do so can be a challenge.

“We’l need to clean some things up before Friday because North Polk has a really nice team. North Polk is well-coached and will be fundamentally sound. There’s nothing easy about playing those guys. Plus we will be honoring our back-to-back state tournament teams from 2008-2009. We look forward to having those guys back at the ballpark. They certainly generated a lot of excitement for Bobcat baseball a decade ago. I hope a bunch of fans come out on Friday night to say hello.”

At West Des Moines

Game One

Valley 11, Marshalltown 8

MHS 000 007 1 — 8 11 3

VAL 014 033 X — 11 12 2

Tate Kuehner, Tyler Dunham (5), Dru Dubbons (6), Joseph Harris (6) and Will Van Buren; Alex Ling, Peterson (6), Kyle Westhoff (6) and Jake Reck. W–Ling (2-0). L–Kuehner (1-2). Sv–Westhoff (1). 2B–VAL: Ling, Blake Grevengoed, Reck. HR–MHS: Wade Canaday. LOB–MHS 6, VAL 9.

Game Two

Valley 12, Marshalltown 2

MHS 002 00 — 2 4 3

VAL 130 62 — 12 11 1

Dylan Eygabroad, Bennett Hageman (5) and Harris, Van Buren (2), Patrick Landeros (5); Sam McCune and Gabriel Miller. W–McCune (1-0). L–Eygabroad (1-2). 2B–MHS: Harris; VAL: Casey Stalzer, Ben DeTaeye. HR–VAL: Nick Buttolph. LOB–MHS 6, VAL 6.