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Bobcats bounce back to beat ’Riders

Marshalltown baseball team collects third win in the last two days

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE - Marshalltown senior Kabba Pins (25) slides under the attempted tag by Des Moines Roosevelt shortstop Jaden Morris for a stolen base during the first game of Thursday’s CIML doubleheader at the MHS diamond.

The Bobcats endured the gauntlet, and now they’re starting to reap the rewards on the other side.

The Marshalltown High School baseball team took the second game of Thursday’s CIML doubleheader with Des Moines Roosevelt (10-8), rallying back from a 10-0, five-inning loss in the opener for a 6-3 victory in the finale on Senior Night.

It marked the third win in the last two days for the Bobcats (3-13), who swept Des Moines East on Wednesday after surviving an 0-12 start to the pandemic-shortened season.

“I couldn’t be happier for them,” MHS first-year head coach Derek Wrage said of his five seniors. “I told them I’m the luckiest guy in the world to have those five as my seniors for my first year as a head coach. They’re high-character kids, they’re the ones who are showing up early and getting their work in, working their butt off in practice every day and setting that example for not only the varsity kids but the freshmen kids too.

“Really I couldn’t ask for anything more out of those five, so I’m really happy we could get it done on their Senior Day.”

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

Senior right-hander Bennett Hageman earned his first win of the season thanks to a gutty performance on the mound. He went 6 1/3 innings and allowed three unearned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out six.

“My command was better, I was able to hit my spots today,” he said. “I really took advantage of the umpire’s strike zone and used that to my advantage.”

Hageman ran into his pitch limit for the day when he walked Des Moines Roosevelt leadoff batter Sam Nicolino to put two on with one out in the top of the seventh, but Tyler Dunham got the ground ball he needed and an interference call at second base for a double play that ended the game.

It was one of a handful of contentious calls during the nightcap, including a pair of debated decisions during Roosevelt’s three-run rally in the top of the second. With one out, Marshalltown center fielder Kabba Pins appeared to make a diving catch of Will Tyler’s looping liner, and the out was called. Roughriders head coach Chris Miller emerged from his dugout to appeal to the home plate umpire, who offered his viewpoint and the call was reversed.

Hageman struck out Jamison Patton for the second out before Kieran Bailey’s infield fly ball was dropped. Dunham recovered and fired to third base as Tyler tried to advance, and his throw reached Ethan Wertzberger well before the runner arrived, but he was ruled safe. Wrage’s dispute went unrewarded, and Roosevelt’s at-bat continued.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

Nicolino laced a two-run triple to right-center field and Will Armstrong followed with an RBI single to give the Roughriders a 3-0 lead, but the Bobcats battled through the adversity to take the lead right back.

Wertzberger was hit by a pitch, Tyne Weeden walked, and both Kabba Pins and Justice Richardson were plunked, too, to force in the first run of the day for Marshalltown. Nick Rebik bounced a run-scoring single through the left side of the infield to make it 2-0, and a fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Patrick Landeros plated another.

Landeros moved up on a wild pitch before Jacob Van Pelt chopped a ground ball to third base, and an errant throw allowed both baserunners to score and Van Pelt motored all the way around to third. Another wild pitch brought him home to make it a 6-0 Bobcat eruption.

“Getting those runs there was huge, especially in the way that it happened,” said Wrage. “We just took advantage of their mistakes, and I felt like that put the momentum back in our favor.

“With the hit-by-pitches and walks we maybe didn’t have to work as hard for them, I mean we’re not banging doubles off the wall by any means, but we took advantage and did what we had to do to get those runs across.”

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

The Bobcats managed just two hits the rest of the way, but Hageman was up to the challenge as well. He also allowed only two singles over the next 4 1/3 innings before running into pitch count limitations. Hageman struck out the side in the fourth and worked around three errors to pitch into the seventh.

“We had a lot of motivation because it was Senior Night and then we had some tough calls, but we got back on them in the bottom of the inning and that was just enough to get the job done,” Hageman said. “I knew it was going to be tough because it was my fourth time through their lineup. I just knew I had to hit my locations, but toward the end I was missing by quite a bit.”

Dunham helped deliver the win with just three pitches, getting the double play as Nicolino was penalized for sliding through second base to break up the Bobcats’ attempt to turn two.

Rebik, Landeros and Weeden had Marshalltown’s only hits in the win.

“This is the Bennett we get every start,” Wrage said, “an intense kid who’s going to give us everything he’s got. He’s going to give us a chance, and in every one of his starts he’s given us a chance. I think we played better behind him so he didn’t have to work any harder.”

It was a nice bounce-back win for the Bobcats after getting 10-runned in the opener. Roosevelt’s Armstrong and Nick Brandt combined on a five-hit shutout, each striking out two while walking none in the five-inning opener.

Kirkwood Community College commit Alex Pendergast went 3-for-4 at the plate with two runs and two RBIs to lead the Roughriders. Landeros, who took the loss on the mound for Marshalltown, had two of the Bobcats’ five singles in the first game. Joseph Harris, Jordan Joesting and Pins had the others.

Harris, a Morningside College commit who pitched a complete game in one of Wednesday’s wins at Des Moines East, sat out the second game due to an apparent injury. He was one of the five seniors recognized between games, alongside Hageman, Pins, Richardson, and starting left fielder Gabe Wyant.

“We started really slow, I wish we would have gotten off to a better start, but we’re finally starting to pick it up,” said Hageman. “We got some confidence from the wins (Wednesday).”

The Bobcats are back in action Monday with a doubleheader at Des Moines Lincoln.

At Marshalltown

Game One

Des Moines Roosevelt 10, Marshalltown 0, 5 innings

DMR 107 11 — 10 10 0

MHS 000 00 — 0 5 5

Will Armstrong, Nick Brandt (4) and Sam Nicolino; Patrick Landeros, Tyler Dunham (4) and Nick Rebik. W–Armstrong (3-0). L–Landeros (0-1). 2B–DMR: Jayden Singleton 2, Jamison Patton. LOB–DMR 7, MHS 3.

Game Two

Marshalltown 6, Des Moines Roosevelt 3

DMR 030 000 0 — 3 5 2

MHS 060 000 X — 6 3 4

Shea Stickel, Jackson Neff (2), Alex Pendergast (3) and Pendergast, Nicolino (3); Bennett Hageman, Dunham (7) and Rebik. W–Hageman (1-4). L–Stickel (0-2). Sv–Dunham (1). 3B–DMR: Nicolino. LOB–DMR 5, MHS 3.

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