MHS Roundup: Owls continue to tear cover off ball

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Chad Gibson may hit out of the No. 9 slot in Marshall's batting order, but he can still do some damage.

The sophomore third baseman unloaded on Warsaw pitchers for three hits, including two home runs, and drove in six runs as the Owls won their third game in a row Monday with a 15-2, five-inning non-conference blitz. Gibson smacked a two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning and a three-run shot in the fourth, giving Marshall the margin it needed to end the contest early on the "mercy rule."

At first, it appeared the Owls would be the ones begging for mercy. Senior Brian Stephens singled and scored on a double by sophomore Michael Schnakenberg before an out was recorded in the game. An error plated Schnakenberg and, with two on and two out, senior Jordan Varner ripped a pitch back through the middle.

The ball struck senior right-hander Nick Thompson so hard on the arm that it caromed out to deep-playing sophomore second baseman Joe Lozano, who fielded it in mid-air to end the inning. Thompson was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure, but only sustained a bruise.

As it turned out, knocking Thompson out of the contest was no break for the Wildcats -- who were unable to score over the final four frames off senior Sean McCracken, retiring 10 of the last 11 batters her faced after giving up a couple of early hits.

Warsaw (9-8) would have needed any runs it could get against the Marshall onslaught. Junior Alex Pointer got the first of his four hits leading off the bottom of the first, eventually crossing after a double by junior Jason Fann and senior Jonathan Durham's single.

The Owls tallied six runs in the second, Fann bringing in two with a single and -- following a two-out error which filled the sacks -- McCracken sending three home with a double. Gibson's second dinger keyed a six-run fourth frame.

After batting just .211 as a team through the first nine games, Marshall has hit at a .406 clip -- averaging 9.6 runs per game -- during the last eight outings. The Owls (5-12) will hit the road today for a non-conference tilt at Odessa.

Boys' Tennis

Marshall 7, Smith-Cotton 2

SEDALIA -- The Marshall boys' tennis team concluded a 16-1 regular season Monday with a 7-2 victory over West Central Conference Tournament champion Smith-Cotton at Sedalia.

The Owls swept doubles action, with sophomores Myles Yokeley and Jesse Murphy blanking their foes, 8-0. Juniors Alex Barber and Justin Winning notched an 8-6 decision and seniors Jeremy Gilpin and Elliot Moles rolled to an 8-1 win.

Yokeley pulled out a tough, 8-6 No. 1 singles contest against freshman Shekeib Shaffiey -- younger brother of two former Marshall players. Murphy (8-2), Barber (8-5) and Moles (8-3) -- in his first varsity singles action of the season -- also came out on top.

The Tigers (12-4) got both of their wins in singles. Senior Jordan Allen defeated Gilpin at No. 2, 8-4, and senior Nick Fine got past Winning at No. 4, 8-5.

The Owls won three of the four junior varsity matches, with freshmen Morgan Evans and Jake Schulenberg getting the nod in singles and senior Caleb Vandiver and sophomore Richard Urtz succeeding in doubles.

While Marshall's varsity is off until hosting the Class 1, District 4 Tournament Saturday, the JV meets Columbia Independent School today and Lexington Thursday.

Girls' Soccer

Marshall 1, Fulton 0

FULTON -- The Marshall girls' soccer team is starting to make a habit of ruining good seasons for NCMC foes.

That's been the case lately for Kirksville and Fulton, the Lady Owls defeating the latter Monday by the same 1-0 score by which they beat the former two days earlier. Both of Marshall's opponents had previously established new records for victories in a season.

The Lady Owls got a couple of breaks, even on the road, when two apparent goals for the Lady Hornets (12-9, 2-5 NCMC) were waved off for infractions in the opening 15 minutes. Marshall eventually cracked the scoreboard when junior Nicki Erickson converted on freshman Leslie Villatoro's pass with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

Although the Lady Owls' defense wasn't as impregnable as it had been against Kirksville, junior goalkeeper Robyn Jennings needing to make nine saves, it did post its third shutout in the last five matches.

Marshall (4-11, 2-4) will host Sacred Heart in the home and regular season finale today.

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