Marshalltown, IA—Playing in their final regular season home games as members of the Marshalltown Community College softball program, the sophomore class stepped up and delivered two victories over Iowa Western Community College on Sunday afternoon.
Paige Taylor (Coquitlam, British Columbia/Terry Fox) had a memorable performance in game one, tossing a no-hitter as the Tigers took the opener 3-0. Taylor struck out seven batters en route to her second no-hitter of the season.
Sophomore Tess Cheetham (Oceanside, CA/Oceanside) added a game-changing two-run double in game two to lift the Tigers over the Reivers, completing the sweep and knocking Iowa Western out of first place in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC).
Sunday's doubleheader marked the end of ICCAC regular season play. The Tigers will enter the 2017 Region XI Tournament in Council Bluffs, IA, hosted by Iowa Western, as the No. 4 seed. MCC will take on top-seeded Indian Hills Community College at 10:00 AM on Friday, April 28 at the Reiver Sports Complex in the double-elimination tournament.
Looking to avenge an early season sweep to the Reivers, the Tigers rode the play of the sophomore class throughout the day. Taylor was in control from the get-go in the circle, allowing just three baserunners through six innings before the Tiger offense gave the hurler some support.
An RBI double from sophomore Josie Carpenter (Wapello, IA/Wapello) scored Cheetham in the sixth for the game's first run. Fellow sophomore Samuari Jones (Louisville, KY/Seneca) drove in Carpenter with a run-scoring single before Jordan Carter (Sigourney, IA/Sigourney) tripled to put MCC up 3-0. A leadoff walk in the seventh proved to be no problem as Taylor sat the next three batters down to finish off the no-hitter.
MCC wasted no time getting on the board in game two after two-year starter Courtney Fudge (Pleasant Hill, IA/Des Moines East) doubled to lead off the game and scored on an RBI single from Dion Shirley (Van Meter, IA/Van Meter). MCC maintained the 1-0 lead until the Reivers scored a run in the top of the fourth and took a 2-1 lead in the fifth.
The deficit was short-lived for the Tigers as MCC erupted for four runs in the bottom of the fifth. Cheetham delivered a two-out, two-run double to cap the scoring for a 5-2 MCC lead.
Taylor relieved starting pitcher Jordan Carter (Sigourney, IA/Sigourney) with two outs in the sixth. Taylor retired five of the six batters she faced to preserve the win and recorded her league-leading fifth save of the year. Carter earned the win to improve to 8-7 on the season.
Shirley and Shaena Robinson (Gardnerville, NV/Douglas) each tallied two hits in the game two win.
The sweep of Iowa Western is the first in program history for the MCC softball program.
Along with Fudge, Cheetham, Taylor, Carter, Jones, and Carpenter, fellow sophomores Lexie Valentine (Des Moines, IA/Saydel) and Lexie Larson (Des Moines, IA/Hoover) were honored for their contributions to the program over the past two seasons.
The Tigers travel to Iowa Lakes Community College on Tuesday for a nonconference doubleheader with first pitch set for 3:00 PM.