The Ottumwa Courier

April 22, 2013

Falcons roll past Muscatine in weekend regional sweep

Courier sports staff
Ottumwa Courier

---- — MUSCATINE – What a difference a week can make in the fortunes of two teams.

It seemed like last weekend, no matter what they did, the Indian Hills baseball team couldn't buy a win against an Iowa Western team that just refused to lose. The four-game sweep by the Reivers seemed to all but lock the door on the race for the regular season title in Region XI.

Now, one weekend later, things have suddenly changed.

Indian Hills continued their bounce-back effort in with a very successful return to the region over the weekend, picking up a four-game sweep at Muscatine on the home diamond of this year's regional tournament. The Falcons prevailed by coming through with three close wins, picking wins of 1-0 and 10-8 in eight innings on Saturday before a 19-6 victory to open play Sunday put IHCC on the verge of a sweep.

Indian Hills closed out the series in style, winning 7-6 in Sunday's finale to run their latest winning streak to six-straight games. The Falcons received even better news after finishing off their sweep with word that the third-ranked Reivers had been swept themselves at Marshalltown on Sunday, losing three of four games to the Tigers in the process.

After needing just one run to take the opening game, which was delayed as the previous week's rainy weather made drying out Tom Brener Field a longer process, IHCC had to play deep into Saturday night to get halfway to the sweep. The Falcons and Muscatine battled back and forth in a game-two slugfest, which was tied at 8-8 after seven innings, before a two-RBI single by Tyler Hermann and a three-out shutout down inning by relief pitcher Matt Lashlee put away the win for Cam Walker's squad.

Iowa Western, meanwhile, dropped game one at Marshalltown 5-1 but bounced back for a 6-0 win in their Saturday finale. The Reivers gave up 19 runs on Sunday, however, and couldn't quite find an answer as the Tigers scored wins of 7-6 and 12-11 while the Falcons used a 19-hit attack to pick up a 19-6 win in Sunday's opener against Muscatine before holding on themselves for a 7-6 win over the Cardinals to finish a big weekend for the Region XI race.

The results of the weekend leaves No. 3 (DI) Iowa Western still in first place over Indian Hills, but the lead has been cut from five games down to just two. The two teams still have a four-game series against each other May 5-6 in Centerville. Marshalltown, who hosts Indian Hills next weekend for four games, is just four games out of first place themselves.

IHCC (21-14, 10-6) will step away from the wild regional race to play at Ellsworth in Iowa Falls Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m.