Comets improve to 8-0 in the HOIC

MARSHALLTOWN – Taking advantage of early opportunities on offense combined with strong pitching to get North Polk past Marshalltown by a 3-2 score Friday in Marshalltown.

The Comets scored one run apiece in the first three innings and then rode the arm of Cole Jackson to their 12th-consecutive victory as they improved to 14-1 on the season.

"This was a really fun game in terms of intensity," North Polk head coach Dave Middleton said. "With Marshalltown trying to control the bases on both offense and defense, you have to stay sharp. There is no time to relax. Our guys were really focused tonight and we played a great team game."

In the top of the first inning Russell Greene reached on an error and scored for the first North Polk run. The Comets went up 2-0 in the second when Jacob Hadaway hit an RBI triple scoring Wyatt Houge, who reached on a double.

North Polk’s final run came when Brandon Cory reached on an error, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Clay Cory and scored on a single by Houge. North Polk had a chance to break the game open in the inning, but the Comets left the bases loaded for the second inning in a row.

Marshalltown scored a run in the bottom of the third and again in the fourth. The Bobcats could’ve done more damage in the third, but Jackson picked off a runner at second and Comet catcher Grant Lang threw out a runner trying to steal to end the inning.

Jackson gave up two earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and no walks in seven innings to earn the win. He threw 74 pitches, ran up only two 2-0 counts during the game and retired the final nine batters he faced in order.

"Cole worked ahead of the majority of batters and pitched a great game," Middleton said.

Colton Hanke gave up two runs – one earned – on three hits with three walks in 1 1/3 innings to take the loss for Marshalltown. Hunter Hillygus was 2-for-3 with a double and a run and Grant Thimesch had an RBI single for the Bobcats, who fell to 7-7.

North Polk 3, Marshalltown 2

NP 111 000 0 – 3 7 0

M 001 100 0 – 2 6 3

NP: Cole Jackson and Grant Lang

M: Colton Hanke, Tyler Moranville (2), Ryan Mitchell (5), Blake Judkins (7) and Connor Ruddick

WP: Jackson

LP: Hanke

2B: NP – Wyatt Houge; M – Hunter Hillygus

3B: NP – Jacob Hadaway

ALLEMAN – The ability to respond to adversity keyed North Polk’s 6-4 Heart of Iowa Conference victory over South Hamilton June 13 at Alleman.

The Comets fell behind in the fourth inning and again in the fifth. But each time they outdid South Hamilton in the bottom of the inning to improve to 8-0 in the HOIC.

South Hamilton took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth, thanks to timely hitting with two outs. But in the bottom of the inning North Polk plated two runs as Clay Cory and Wyatt Houge reached safely, stole second and third and then scored on passed balls.

In the top of the fifth, South Hamilton came back with three runs. The Hawks loaded the bases with no outs and took advantage of a botched double-play attempt by North Polk to take a 4-2 lead.

But again the Comets had an answer in the bottom of the fifth. Cory delivered the hit of the game with a bases-loaded triple that cleared the bases and Houge drove in Cory with a sacrifice fly for a big insurance run.

Jacob Hadaway came in to pitch for Grant Lang in the sixth inning and he struck out five of the six batters he faced to slam the door on South Hamilton.

"This game was definitely a test," North Polk head coach Dave Middleton said. "We put ourselves in several bad positions and were fortunate enough to work our way out of most of them."

Lang earned the win after giving up four runs – three earned – on six hits with nine strikeouts and three walks in five innings.

North Polk 6, South Hamilton 4

SH 000 130 0 – 4 6 1

NP 000 240 X – 6 7 1

NP: Grant Lang, Jacob Hadaway (6) and Grant Schiltz

WP: Lang

SV: Hadaway

3B: Clay Cory

JEFFERSON – Two big innings helped North Polk paste Greene County by a 15-0 score in four innings June 12 at Jefferson.

North Polk jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. The Comets then ripped Ram pitching for five runs in the third to build an 8-0 lead and they exploded for seven unanswered runs in the fourth to end the game on account of the 15-run rule that goes into play after four innings.

The Comets pounded out 15 hits in the shortened contest, with Jacob Hadaway carrying the biggest stick. Hadaway hit a three-run home run in the third inning and an RBI double in the fourth.

Cole Jackson also ripped a solo home run in the third for North Polk. Wyatt Houge finished with two hits and he singled in North Polk’s other run in the fifth.

Clay Cory and Brandon Cory each had three hits for North Polk. They both singled and scored in the third, and Brandon singled in a run in the first and doubled in two more in the fourth.

Grant Schiltz added an RBI single in both the first and fourth innings and Wyatt Houge singled in a run in the fourth for North Polk.

Russell Greene was the winning pitcher as he gave up two hits and two walks and struck out four in four innings. Alex Gordon allowed 14 runs - 13 earned - in three innings to take the loss for Greene County. Reed Ostrander doubled and Tory Beger singled for the only Ram hits.

North Polk 15, Greene County 0 (4)

NP 305 7 – 15 15 0

GC 000 0 – 0 2 2

NP: Russell Greene and Grant Lang

GC: Alex Gordon, Matt Paulsen (4) and Tory Beger

WP: Greene

LP: Gordon

2B: NP – Jacob Hadaway, Brandon Cory; GC – Reed Ostrander

HR: NP – Hadaway, Cole Jackson

ALLEMAN – Overpowering pitching and a couple of productive innings on offense were enough to give North Polk a 4-0 victory over Heart of Iowa Conference rival Prairie City-Monroe June 10 in Alleman.

Jacob Hadaway held PCM to one hit in five dominant innings on the mound and Cole Jackson also gave up just one hit in the final two innings as the duo combined to shut out the Mustangs.

Hadaway struck out a whopping 13 batters on the night and issued four walks to earn the win. Jackson was also mowing batters down on strikes most of the time, fanning five of the seven batters he faced.

North Polk finished with eight hits on offense. The Comets scored twice in the fourth inning and added two more insurance runs in the fifth to give Hadaway and Jackson more than enough cushion to work with.

Hadaway helped his own cause with a two-run double in the fourth and Brandon Cory doubled in Russell Greene. Clay Cory singled in Brandon for the two North Polk runs in the fifth.

Wyatt Houge singled and scored and Reed Smith collected two singles for North Polk.

Austin Brown took the loss for PCM as he threw all six innings and gave up four earned runs with six strikeouts and three walks. Clay Cooper collected both Mustang hits as he finished 2-for-4, and Trey Lindsey drew a pair of walks.

North Polk 4, PCM 0

PCM 000 000 0 – 0 2 0

NP 000 220 X – 4 8 2

PCM: Austin Brown and Chase Keuning

NP: Jacob Hadaway, Cole Jackson and Grant Lang

WP: Hadaway

LP: Brown

2B: NP – Hadaway, Brandon Cory