Big fifth inning sends Marshfield past Hollister

By Pat Dailey (For OzarksSportsZone.com)

HOLLISTER — Austin Dobrick capped one of the best weeks in recent Marshfield baseball history by continuing a trend of the Jays’ starting pitcher more than helping himself out at the plate.

A three-run home run by Dobrick Thursday in Marshfield’s 13-2, five-inning victory opposite Hollister gave the Jays’ starting pitchers three home runs in as many days

Dobrick was very much aware of the precedent that had been set by fellow hurlers Nick Visconte and Eric Nunn in wins Tuesday and Wednesday against Bolivar and Strafford.

“Nick started Tuesday and hit one out, Eric started yesterday and hit one out and I hit one out today,” Dobrick said. “We’re all pumped about that.”

Dobrick all but called his home run during a chat with coach Tyler Henry at school Thursday.

“In the gym this morning, Dobrick said to me, ‘Coach, it’s my turn to hit a bomb tonight,’” Henry said. “It hadn’t even occurred to me until he said that, that our pitchers all had gone yard this week. I thought, ‘No way it happens again tonight.’ But sure enough, he turned on one and hit it really well.

“I’ve never heard of that happening, where you have three starting pitchers three days in a row all hitting a home run.”

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE GAME

Henry added that maybe he shouldn’t have been so surprised Visconte, Nunn and Dobrick all homered.

“Those three guys are in the same first-hour weights class and they push each other hard,” Henry said. “It’s no coincidence those three are responsible for our five home runs to date.”

What had to be surprising, if not shocking, to all on hand at Hollister was a 1-1 game after four innings was over and done with one very long inning later.

Marshfield (12-2 overall and 4-0 in the COC Small Schools Division) snapped a 1-1, fifth-inning tie by breaking loose for 12 runs in the fifth. Dobrick and Brennan Espy both slugged three-run homers.

Dobrick and Hollister starting pitcher Landon Farquhar put up goose eggs through the first three innings and did so in less than 30 minutes. Dobrick struck out six of the first 10 batters he faced.

The Jays solved Farquhar, who was 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA entering the game, the second time through their lineup. A trio of Tigers relievers couldn’t minimize the damage.

“We all learned from our mistakes from our first at-bat,” Dobrick said. “I figured out how to make my timing better and square the ball better.”

Espy’s three-run homer put Marshfield up 4-1. Dobrick’s dinger made it 13-1. In between the homers, Espy also had a two-run single and Logan Yates drove in two runs with a single of his own.

“Hollister is a good team,” Henry said. “They had the game get away from them. We thought it would go down to the wire. But (Espy) hits one down the left-field line with a couple runners on. That gave us a little wiggle room and allowed our hitters to relax. Before you knew it, it turned out to be a big inning for us.”

Meanwhile, Dobrick shook off solo home runs by Jenner Steele and Garrett Moody to finish off the Tigers in five innings. Hollister dropped to 8-3 and 1-1.

While throwing into 15-20 mph gusts of wind, Dobrick discovered his curve ball was breaking more than he was accustomed to.

“I had a little struggle (controlling) my curve,” Dobrick said. “I had to try to figure out where I was missing with it and re-adjust so I knew where to throw it. Then, I was hitting more outside pitches.”

“He pitched a game here at Hollister earlier in the year against Carthage and got a 1-0 win,” Henry said. “Carthage could tell then Austin wasn’t the same pitcher he was last year as a freshman. He has improved his ability. He set the tone for us today and allowed us to settle in.”

After knocking Strafford from the ranks of the unbeaten and putting themselves atop the COC Small, Marshfield’s players are riding a strong wave of momentum.

“I’m very proud of our team,” Dobrick said.

“We’re showing what we’re capable of,” Espy said.

“It has been a big week,” Henry said. “We talked at the beginning of the week that it would be a week full of challenges, but also full of opportunity. We definitely took advantage of the opportunity.

“We’re excited and I’m glad there are a lot of people around Marshfield excited about us. More than anything, though, we’re worried about continuing to improve and play our best baseball come District time.”

Marshfield 13, Hollister 2
Marshfield 000 1(12) — 13
Hollister 000 11 — 2
WP – Dobrick. LP – Farquhar. HR — Steele, Espy, Dobrick, Moody.