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Ames bats run riot against MHS

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - Marshalltown center fielder Ziek Slocum makes a lunging catch on the warning track in right-center field during the first game of Monday’s CIML Iowa Conference doubleheader against Ames.

Cooler weather swept through Iowa on Monday — but in Marshalltown, Ames baseball didn’t get the memo. The Little Cyclones were relentless in their approach at the plate, collecting over 30 hits in a sweep of the Marshalltown Bobcats.

With final scores of 25-11 and 14-1, it was a frustrating start to a busy week for Marshalltown (6-15) and continued a rough stretch of pitching from the end of last week’s action.

Eight different players took the mound for the Bobcats, with three players pitching in both games — Brendan Bates (who started game two), Tyler Dunham and Seth Smith — but there was little success to be had against the Little Cyclones (15-11).

Coach Derek Wrage said the pitching in both games was not good enough.

“It’s tough when we’re not competitive on the mound,” Wrage said. “We can keep games close if we’re struggling at the plate, but if we can’t throw strikes it makes it really tough. I’m just hoping that it’s been an off night and we can get better the next three weeks. We had some guys come in and throw, I think Bates did really well in game two in his first start of the year, so we see glimpses of it.”

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - Marshalltown pitcher Jacob VanPelt, left, fields a bunt and throws to first base during the second inning of Monday’s first game against Ames at the MHS diamond.

The first game began with Marshalltown taking a 2-0 lead, then promptly giving up five runs in the top of the second inning. Jacob Van Pelt was replaced by Dunham to complete the second inning. Marshalltown scored three runs in the bottom of the second, and in the top of the third Carson Johnson took to the mound. Two innings later, and with the Bobcats trailing 10-6, Patrick Landeros was the pitcher when the Little Cyclones broke the game open. A grand slam put Ames up 17-6, and Bates came in for his first action of the day. He was eventually replaced by Sam Greazel, and after a scoreless sixth inning for the Little Cyclones, they scored eight in the top of the seventh. Smith came in at the end of the inning. The Bobcats scored 11 runs and connected on over 10 hits in game one (the highlight being a three-run homer from Tyne Weeden), but their strong performance at the plate was outdone by Ames.

The chopping and changing was a symptom of the combination of walks, hit-by-pitches and solid hitting from the Little Cyclones. It continued in game two.

After giving up four runs in the first inning, Bates gave solid work in the second and third innings — allowing just one run in each inning. Ames scored two in the fourth and two in the fifth, with Smith throwing before getting replaced by Ziek Slocum. Slocum threw until the seventh inning. Ames scored four runs in the top of the inning, turning a 10-1 lead into a 14-1 advantage.

It wasn’t just the 13 hits Ames had that were an issue — the Bobcats committed five errors. Wrage said the physical errors like a ball bouncing off a glove will happen sometimes, but it was the mental errors that frustrated him. The Bobcat bats also went cold in game two, yielding only three hits.

Marshalltown practices tomorrow, which Wrage said is a good opportunity to get the Bobcats back on the right track. They play Wednesday evening in a doubleheader at Ankeny Centennial.

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