Bobcats end Bulldogs’ dominance

MHS softball salvages split with Ottumwa

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE - Marshalltown freshman Emma Stupp (31) celebrates upon reaching third base following her two-run double in the third inning of Wednesday’s second softball game against Ottumwa. Stupp later scored on a wild pitch to help lift the Bobcats to a 3-1 victory, snapping Ottumwa’s 21-game winning streak in the series.

Emma Stupp let her emotions go, even before the ball off her bat hit the fence on the fly.

The Marshalltown softball team needed to win Wednesday’s nightcap against Ottumwa after letting the Bulldogs slip through their grasp in the opener.

Stupp slammed a two-run, two-out double off the fence in center field to give Marshalltown a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning, and she later scored on a wild pitch to help the Bobcats capture game two, 3-1, on Wednesday night at Marshalltown High School.

Stupp’s RBI double off the fence in the fifth inning of the first game gave the Bobcats a 4-2 lead they couldn’t hang onto, falling 5-4 after Ottumwa rallied up three runs in the top of the seventh.

Stupp’s shot off the fence in the second game gave fellow freshman pitcher Briley Danielson all the support she needed in a 3-1 victory, ending Ottumwa’s 21-game win streak in the series.

Before she had even rounded first base, Stupp screamed out “let’s go!” to celebrate the moment. She reiterated the rallying cry after reaching third base when Ottumwa attempted to get Gianna Baune at home plate scoring the go-ahead run.

“We really needed it and I knew it was a big spot there with two on and two outs,” said Stupp. “I did, I thought I hit it out, but it did the job and I ended up on third and scored on a wild pitch. It was important to come out and score early just to give us some momentum.”

Ottumwa (4-12) gained the upper hand in the first inning of the opener, turning a dropped third strike into the go-ahead run on back-to-back singles by Samantha Weeks and Caysen Thompson.

Danielson settled in to allow just two more hits the rest of the game. She hit one batter and struck out four to finish out the win.

“It was a tough loss in the first one, I had my concerns going into the second one on how we would react to it, and even the first couple innings we weren’t quite with it,” said MHS head coach Jason Bowers. “I thought Briley pitched really, really well. She challenged them around the zone, her changeup was working well, and the defense … I thought we did a real good job. Our outfielders made some tough catches and ran a long way for a couple of them.”

The Bobcats (8-11) had just one error in the second game and scrounged up just enough offensive support against Ottumwa freshman Adeline Thompson. Thompson closed out the game one win for the Bulldogs and went back out to the circle to start the second game, but MHS had just enough offense to get the job done.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the third, Madison Rogers reached on a leadoff bunt single, Gianna Baune singled one out later, and Stupp drove both runners home with her double to center.

Stupp and Baune both went 2-for-3 and Rogers’ bunt single were the Bobcats’ only hits in the second game, but three of the five arrived in the same frame.

Ottumwa scored first in the opener, too, tallying twice against Karsyn Price in the top of the third. An RBI double by Weeks was followed by consecutive singles from Thompson and Hunter Caldwell to put the Bulldogs on top.

Marshalltown answered with two in the fourth and two more in the fifth to go in front 4-2. Baune led off the fourth with a single, and three straight two-out singles from Laney and Briley Danielson and Kennedy Feldman evened things up in the fourth.

Aubree Mundt hit a one-out single in the fifth, Baune followed with an infield single and Ava Kusserow plated Mundt with a groundout to the right side. Stupp followed with her first run-scoring double off the fence for the 4-2 advantage.

Ottumwa took advantage of a leadoff walk and a brief bobble by the Bobcat defense to start the top of the seventh. A one-out walk to Sydney Rockhold loaded the bases, and MHS replaced Price in the circle with Hanna Osgood. A wild pitch immediately allowed one run to score, and an errant pickoff attempt brought home Jordin Mayson from third as the tying run.

Osgood walked Weeks before Thompson delivered the go-ahead single. The Bulldogs continued to threaten until Caldwell flew out to right and Mundt threw out pinch-runner Autumn Damm trying to score for the third out.

Thompson retired MHS in order in the bottom of the seventh to steal the opening win away from the home team.

“Hanna inherited a tough spot,” said Bowers. “That’s tough on a kid and there’s a lot of pressure to perform. Her first pitch was a drop ball and it goes into the dirt and scoots by our catcher and of course they score one run off of that.

“Hanna took it pretty hard but it’s never on just one person.”

Marshalltown is back at home Thursday night for an Iowa Alliance Conference North Division doubleheader against Mason City. The Bobcats swept the Riverhawks 13-4 and 7-1 in their first twinbill earlier this season.


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