ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Marion Warriors split a doubleheader at Council Grove Tuesday, losing the opener 12-6 but coming back to take the nightcap, 7-3, for their first win of the season.
Jimmy Shipman got the starting call in the first game, and pitched admirably, but defensive lapses cost him the win.
Marion, which had its offense going all day with 27 hits in the two games, jumped out to a 5-3 lead after three innings.
But the fifth inning proved to be Shipman’s undoing. The Braves pushed across eight runs to take a commanding 11-6 lead.
“It was too bad our defense didn’t help Jimmy out,” coach Sean Spoonts said. “His curve and control were at his best.”
Shipman issued no walks while striking out seven in six innings of work.
But six Warrior errors were too much to overcome.
Marion pounded Brave pitching for 16 hits in the first game.
“Out hitting finally came around one through nine,” Spoonts said. “I was pleased with how we hit the ball in the double-header.”
Six Warriors had multiple-hit games, with Jason Matz leading the charge with three. Tyler Richmond, Clayton Chamberland, Mitch Enos, Jimmy Shipman and Matt Rhodes each had two hits.
“Jason Matz is 100 percent recovered from his foot injury,” Spoonts said. “He’s quite an athlete and he’ll just keep getting better. He absolutely crushed the ball today.
“We had quite a few guys that had a good day at the plate. Our offense was really strong.”
In Game 2, ace Mitch Enos lived up to his reputation, throwing a complete-game six-hitter, as Marion captured a 7-3 win.
Enos pitched seven innings, walking four and striking out 10, while allowing just six hits and only two earned runs.
“This was a great game for us,” Spoonts said. “We made plays when we needed them.”
Marion fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, but came back to take a 2-1 lead in the third.
The game was tight throughout, with Marion carrying a 4-2 lead into the seventh inning.
“The top of the seventh was crucial for us,” Spoonts said. “Mitch Enos stole home with two outs and two strikes to Bronson Shipman. The next pitch Bronson hit a base hit and we scored another run.”
Marion expanded its lead to 7-2, and that was more than enough support for Enos, who allowed Council Grove just one more run,.
“This is the first time Marion has beat Council Grove since Marion started baseball,” Spoontz said.
Offensively, Marion outhit the Braves again, this time 11-6.
Clayton Chamberland rocked Council Grove pitching for three hits in four at-bats, giving him five hits for the day.
Enos added two more hits in the nightcap.
Matz crushed two home runs in the doubleheader while Jimmy Shipman cranked one.
“The kids have good attitudes,” Spoonts said. “We just need to stop the cluster errors.”
Although Marion’s record stands at 1-5, Spoonts is still optimistic about season.
“We’ve had steady improvement over the last three doubleheaders,” he said. “Actually, our whole season has been an improvement. We’ve been able to compete in each game we’ve played this year.
“It’s still early in the season,” he added. “We’re making fielding errors, but not really a lot of mental errors. Our kids are doing the very best they can.”