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SPORTS SHORTS: Mustang baseball edges Benton, 5-4

VAN HORNE — Hunter Vilez and Garrett Kerber delivered back-to-back run-scoring hits in the top of the sixth inning to help the East Marshall baseball team topple Benton Community, 5-4, in Wednesday’s non-conference contest.

The Mustangs (9-14) broke a 3-all tie when Vilez doubled to drive in Kam Hoskins and Kerber singled to plate Vilez for a 5-3 lead. Austin Elliott and Kam Monk, the last of four East Marshall pitchers in the game, got through the final three innings combined to preserve the victory.

Elliott got the win for his 1 1/3 innings of relief, allowing two runs — one earned — on one hit and two walks while striking out one. Monk gave up two hits and struck out two in 1 2/3 frames for the save.

Zach Jacobson, who got the start on the mound, also gave the Mustangs a 2-0 lead with his two-run double in the top of the first to drive in Elliott and Gage Hulin. Dane Thompson drove in courtesy runner Eli Curtis to make it 3-0.

East Marshall will play in a three-team round-robin tournament on Friday at Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo. The Mustangs meet Van Buren at 11 a.m. and Sioux City North at 3 p.m. as a part of the Cedar Valley Invitational.

Trojan softball falls to ranked 1A pair

BELLE PLAINE — The West Marshall softball team faced two more ranked opponents to close out the regular season on Monday, falling in a pair of games at Belle Plaine against Class 1A competition.

The Trojans (13-17) suffered their fifth- and sixth-consecutive defeats, dropping an 8-5 game to 1A No. 13 Twin Cedars and a 5-4 clash with No. 15 Belle Plaine.

West Marshall outhit Twin Cedars in their showdown, 13-9, but stranded 10 runners on base. The Sabers (28-5) jumped out to a 5-1 lead after the first inning and held off the Trojans the rest of the way.

Ali Mockenhaupt went 4-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored to lead Twin Cedars offensively, hitting a two-run single in the first inning and an RBI single in the sixth.

West Marshall’s Renae Schaper also went 4-for-4 with an RBI single and a run-scoring double. Karisa Blocker, Avery Randall and losing pitcher Josie Zahnd each had two singles for the Trojans.

Zahnd surrendered eight runs on nine hits and four walks, striking out two, and the Trojan defense only made one error behind her.

That was not the case against Belle Plaine, as seven errors sabotaged West Marshall’s hopes of getting back in the ‘W’ column.

The Trojans led 4-2 before the Plainsmen (21-7) tallied single runs in the bottom of the third, fourth and seventh innings to prevail.

West Marshall loaded the bases in the top of the seventh but couldn’t get the ball out of the infield as back-to-back force-outs at the plate preceded an inning-ending strikeout. Belle Plaine took the momentum and turned it into the game-winning run in the home half, getting three-straight singles by Kiley Alcott, Olivia Bohlen and Tori Hlas to end the game.

Trojan pitcher Loran Nicholson allowed five runs — only two earned — on 10 hits with no walks. She struck out four. Kayla Cripps homered as a part of West Marshall’s three-run third and she finished 2-for-3 with a stolen base. Payton Halverson and Blocker both added two singles, Grace de Neui had an RBI single and Schaper singled and scored twice.

West Marshall is off until its first round regional game. The Trojans host Greene County at 7 p.m. on July 10 in State Center.