Courier sports staff
---- — MARSHALLTOWN — When the Indian Hills baseball team hits the diamond next weekend against Iowa Western, they'll have a chance to claim the outright Region XI regular season title. To get it, they'll need to sweep the four-game series from the two-time defending national champions.
As they showed this weekend in Marshalltown, being able to score enough runs certainly shouldn't be a problem.
The Falcons lit up the scoreboard three times in four outings against the Tigers, scoring eight or more runs to get the three wins needed to stay in the hunt for the regional title in the last road regional series of the regular season. IHCC swept Saturday's doubleheader, using 22 runs to score wins of 8-3 and 14-3 against the Tigers, then overcame a late 4-3 loss in Sunday's opener by erupting with a 20-run explosion in a 20-3 five-inning victory that keeps the Falcons three games behind the first-place Reivers as the two teams embark on next week's four-game series.
Taylor Ostrich came up big in the opening two games for the Falcons, driving in eight runs on Saturday against the Tigers. Dario Polanco added three hits and was one of seven Falcons to drive in a run during the opening game as IHCC pulled away late, scoring six runs in the last three innings after taking a 2-1 lead into the fifth.
Ostrich continued hammering the baseball in the second game of the series, starting the scoring for the Falcons with an RBI triple in a three-run opening inning off former Ottumwa Bulldog Ben Ryder. Ostrich added two doubles and blasted a two-homer in the fifth inning as part of a four-hit, six-RBI nightcap as IHCC took a 14-3 victory to keep pace with the Reivers.
Though they struggled to keep up their torrid run-scoring pace in Sunday's first game, IHCC appeared to have just enough to stay on pace for a sweep when Darryl Velez hit his first home run of the season leading off the sixth to snap a 2-2 tie. The Falcons couldn't hold that 3-2 lead, however, as OHS grad Tyler Evans and former Sigourney star Andrew Utterback scored runs in the bottom of the frame with Utterback scoring on a pair of passed balls to lift Marshalltown to a 4-3 win.
With the Reivers sweeping Muscatine over the weekend, IHCC kept its hopes for winning the outright regular season regional title alive by striking early and often behind Ostrich. A bases-clearing double highlighted a five-run second inning that put the Falcons on top for good in Sunday's second game, one of two such hits Ostrich would have with the second coming in a 10-run fourth that would cap weekend in which the sophomore went 8-13 with five doubles, a triple, a homer, 14 RBI and six runs scored.
Indian Hills (26-17, 13-7) head to North Central Missouri for a doubleheader on Tuesday at 2 p.m. before hosting Maple Woods Thursday at 3. The Falcons then begin the huge final four regular season games with Iowa Western starting with a Saturday afternoon doubleheader at Pat Daugherty Field in Centerville at 3 p.m. Sunday's games will begin at 1.
Indian Hills 8, Marshalltown 3
Indian Hills 110 023 1 — 8 11 3
Marshalltown 100 001 1 — 3 9 1
IHCC battery — Jacob Stalzer (W, 4-2) (5 2/3IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 5K, 3BB) and Matt Lashlee (1 1/3IP, 3H, R, ER), Colten Christensen catching.
2B — Taylor Ostrich, Valera.
Hits — Dario Polanco 3-4, Joel Booker 2-3, Taylor Ostrich 1-2, Caleb Ratzman 1-2, Edgar Lebron 1-3, Junior Santos 1-4, Valera 1-4, Darryl Velez 1-4.
RBI — Ostrich 2, Booker, Lebron, Polanco, Ratzman, Santos, Valera.
Runs — Booker 2, Ratzman 2, Ostrich, Polanco, Santos, Velez.
Indian Hills 14, Marshalltown 3
Indian Hills 303 024 2 — 14 11 0
Marshalltown 002 010 0 — 3 4 5
IHCC battery — Sam Ross (W, 3-2) (7IP, 4H, 3R,
3ER, 9K, 2BB), Kevin Valera catching.
2B — Taylor Ostrich 2, Joel Booker, Junior Santos.
3B — Ostrich.
HR — Jordan Berry, Ostrich.
Hits — Ostrich 4-5, Berry 2-4, Caleb Ratzman 2-4, Santos 2-4, Booker 1-4.
RBI — Ostrich 6, Berry 2, Booker 2, Santos.
Runs — Santos 4, Ostrich 3, Ratzman 3, Berry, Booker, Nicholas Perez, Valera.
Marshalltown 4, Indian Hills 3
Indian Hills 200 001 0 — 3 3 3
Marshalltown 200 002 x — 4 7 0
IHCC battery — Christian Torres (5IP, 6H, 3R, 3K) and Derek Kawlewski (L, 1-3) (IP, H, R, 2K), Kevin Valera catching.
HR — Tyler Hermann, Darryl Velez.
Hits — Velez 1-2, Hermann 1-3, Taylor Ostrich 1-3.
RBI — Hermann 2, Velez.
Runs — Hermann, Ostrich, Velez.
Indian Hills 20, Marshalltown 3
Indian Hills 055 (10)0 — 20 11 3
Marshalltown 102 00 — 3 5 4
IHCC battery — Adam Deneke (W, 4-2) (4IP, 5H, 2R, ER, 4K, 2BB) and Jose Marin (IP, 2K), Colten Christensen catching.
2B — Taylor Ostrich 2, Joel Booker, Dario Polanco, Junior Santos.
Hits — Tyler Hermann 2-3, Ostrich 2-3, Polanco 2-3, Santos 2-3, Booker 2-4, Jordan Berry 1-4.
RBI — Ostrich 6, Polanco 4, Kevin Valera 3, Caleb Ratzman 2, Santos 2, Berry, Booker.
Runs — Booker 3, Hermann 3, Lebron 3, Valera 3, Polanco 2, Ratzman 2, Santos 2, Berry, Ostrich.