MARSHALLTOWN — Marshalltown Community College freshman Lexie Biehl of Maquoketa ended a marathon game with a walk-off home run to give the Tigers a 7-6 victory over Southwestern in nine innings Wednesday.
Marshalltown swept the ICCAC doubleheader with a 6-5 win in the nightcap. The Tigers improved to 24-14 overall and 10-8 in league play, just two games behind third-place Des Moines Area Community College.
Two one-run games against a team with 24 victories shows just how close this young Spartan squad is to turning the corner.
“We had the first game won, up 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth,” coach Lindsay Stumpff said. “Then we had a mental mistake in our slap coverage, a walk and a base hit with two outs. We just couldn’t finish.”
Emma Ferrin’s three-run homer sparked Southwestern in building the early lead.
After Sam Strand had pitched the first seven innings with the teams tied 6-6, Danielle McIntosh pitched a scoreless eighth in relief for Southwestern. In the ninth, Biehl delivered the winning blast over the center field fence to cap a four-RBI game.
Mackenzie Gott of Oskaloosa pitched five innings of relief to hold off the Spartans and pick up the win.
Gott returned in game two to toss six innings for her second win of the day as the Tigers held off a late rally from Southwestern. The Spartans scored three runs in the top of the sixth to come up one run short.
McIntosh, who pitched the second game with only two earned runs allowed, teamed up with shortstop Katrina DeVore in the middle of the order to provide most of the Spartan offense in the game. Both hit home runs.
DeVore was 3-of-4 three RBIs. McIntosh was 2-of-3 and drove in two runs. Hanna Murphy was the only other Southwestern player with a hit against Gott and closer Sarah Wilson of Ottumwa, who got the save with a scoreless seventh.
DeVore was 2-of-5 with a double and three RBIs in the first game.
Strand allowed seven hits in seven innings with four strikeouts and six walks in game one. She allowed six earned runs.
In the nightcap, McIntosh pitched six innings with eight hits allowed, three walks and one strikeout. Only two of the six runs were earned as the Spartans had three errors.
“The second game was like the first in that one bad inning cost us,” Stumpff said. “They scored four runs in the third, all on two outs.”
Southwestern (5-13 conference, 13-18 overall) travels to Ellsworth Saturday. An Easter Sunday non-conference doubleheader at home against Graceland JV was cancelled.
The Ellsworth twinbill is key in the Spartans’ quest to move up in the ICCAC standings. Ellsworth is one position ahead in fifth place at 6-10, and 7-14 overall. The teams split their earlier doubleheader in Creston.