CEDAR RAPIDS — Once the ball started rolling toward the fence, it was a race around the bases for Grace Martensen.
And she doesn’t lose races very often.
Martensen’s two-run, inside-the-park home run capped a six-run rally in the top of the fourth inning, and Benton Community rallied from an early 4-0 deficit to top Marion, 7-4, in the second game of a Wamac Conference West Division softball doubleheader Monday night at Busse Field on the campus of Mount Mercy University.
Benton (10-5 overall, 4-0 Wamac West) held on to capture the first game, 10-8, and the Bobcats have won 10 of their last 12 games.
“We weren’t hitting very well early in the season, and sometimes the effort wasn’t there,” Bobcats Coach Eric Stenberg said. “It’s taken us a little motivation from the coaches to play hard.”
The Bobcats were slow out of the gate partially because their track girls had an extended spring season. One of those was Martensen, who had a tremendous state meet.
And whether it’s track or softball, speed is speed. And Martensen has it.
“You don’t see (inside-the-parkers) very often,” Martensen said. “But the field is bigger here (205 feet down the lines, 220 to center), and once the ball got past the fielder, I saw (Stenberg) and he was waving me home.”
Martensen picked up both pitching victories. She held off the Indians (8-6, 1-3) in the first game; Marion scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh to make it interesting.
Then, in the nightcap, she came on in relief and retired 11 of the 12 batters she faced.
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“I was more warmed up in the second game,” Martensen said. “I knew I had to be at my best, because they definitely wanted to beat us.”
Stenberg and Marion Coach Scott Fruehling played baseball together at Mount Mercy. Thus, they agreed to schedule Monday’s twinbill on the Mustangs’ new facility.
“Scott’s a quality coach and a quality guy,” Stenberg said. “(Marion is) so young. They’re going to be really good.
“Next year is our turn to host them, and we’ll play it here again.”
BENTON COMMUNITY 10-7, MARION 8-4
At Busse Field, Cedar Rapids
Benton Community 411 202 0 — 10 13 4
Marion 101 100 5 — 8 9 5
Grace Martensen and Brielle Hogan. Megan Kessens, Haley Slaymaker (5), Peyton Steffen (7) and Sydney Nielsen. W — Martensen (5-2). L — Kessens (6-4). HR — BC: Martensen (5), Megan Gorkow (2).
Benton Community 000 601 0 — 7 8 1
Marion 013 000 0 — 4 5 3
Katelyn Buscher, Grace Martensen (4) and Brielle Hogan. Megan Kessens and Sydney Nielsen. W — Martensen (6-2). L — Kessens (6-5). HR — BC: Martensen (6); MAR: Cloee Kraft (4).
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