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MHS softball tramples Trojans

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE - Marshalltown’s Ava Kusserow (4) sprints toward first base as Waterloo East pitcher Aubrey Mielke (5) fields the bunt during the second game of Monday’s softball doubleheader at MHS.

The Marshalltown High School softball team finally got a bit of a breather, but head coach Jason Bowers thought his squad breathed a little too deeply.

The Bobcats sleepwalked through Waterloo East in the opening game of Monday’s Iowa Alliance Conference North Division doubleheader at MHS, but a wakeup call from Bowers brought the Bobcats to life in the nightcap.

Hanna Osgood and Karsyn Price combined on a three-hitter in the first game and Briley Danielson pitched a one-hitter in the second, helping the Bobcats to three-inning wins by scores of 14-2 and 12-0.

Waterloo East (2-15, 0-8) brought a nine-game losing streak to Marshalltown but started fast against Osgood, scoring twice in the top of the first inning of the opener. Siyanna Cody led off with a single, Graysyn Downing reached on an error, and a wild pitch brought the first run across. Kaelyn Raney followed with an RBI groundout, and the Trojans were quickly on top 2-0.

Marshalltown more than answered the call, though without having to do too much. Gianna Baune started the bottom of the first with a bunt single, and after a groundout, Waterloo East pitcher Malloree Nichols ran into trouble. She walked or plunked the next six batters before Ava Kusserow hit a bunt single to complete the first time through the batting order with only one out.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE - Marshalltown senior Claire Bohan (24) runs to first base after hitting a single as teammate Bella Avise scores the game-ending run behind her in the second game of Monday’s softball twinbll.

After an error, Kate Sandvick plated two more runs with a single. Emma Stupp was hit by a pitch before Laney Danielson singled home another run. Briley reached on another Trojan error before the Bobcats batted out of order — and Waterloo East failed to call out the mistake.

Nichols finally got out of the inning-long jam with a strikeout, but Marshalltown led 11-3 by that point.

“Mentally we weren’t very sharp,” Bowers said. “We actually batted out of order and they didn’t catch it, so I wasn’t very happy about that situation. We just lost a bit of focus.

“Last year we were playing Des Moines North and were blowing them out and it was the same situation. We just thought it was a Sunday afternoon pickup game and lost focus.”

Marshalltown scored four more times in the second inning, and Osgood and Price procured the final three outs in the top of the third to put the game away.

“Waterloo East jumped on us in the first inning of the first game and that didn’t even wake us up, so I don’t know what was going on,” Bowers said. “I think it’s one of those things where they thought they could just show up and win, and yeah, we won easily, but we still have to do our job.”

Osgood gave up just three hits and two runs — one earned — in her 2 2/3 innings. Nichols hit a double to left with two outs in the third before Price came in to retire the only batter she faced to end the game.

Laney was 2-for-2 with two RBI singles and two runs scored to lead the MHS offense, which needed just five hits to get 14 runs. They benefitted from six walks and five hit batsmen.

Marshalltown made an error to allow Waterloo East’s first batter to reach base in game two, but the Bobcats settled in behind Briley from there. Danielson struck out four and walked none, allowing only one hit in the three-inning nightcap.

The Bobcats had to earn their feast in the second game, and they did that. Eight hits combined with six more walks and two hit batsmen by Trojan pitching, and Marshalltown scored at least three times in each of its three at-bats.

Marshalltown’s lone senior — Claire Bohan — closed out the game with an RBI single to center field.

“In the second game, we had much better focus there,” Bowers said, “and our hitting was a lot better. We had a lot of pop-ups in the first game.

“I got on them a little bit in between games and they came out much more focused in the second game.”

Laney was 2-for-2 with three runs scored. Bella Avise had a two-run single and Kennedy Feldman was 1-for-2 with two RBIs to lead the Bobcat attack.

The Bobcats’ busy week continues with Wednesday’s home doubleheader against Ottumwa.

“They put a whoopin’ on us last year,” Bowers said of the Bulldogs. “We’ll have a practice before that game, which I’m happy about. We can get refocused, get some things worked out and hopefully go in there and compete against Ottumwa.”

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