ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
Facing another tough opponent in a grueling early-season schedule, the Marion Warriors dropped a pair of games to the Knights of Sacred Heart April 22.
The Warriors lost the opener,
6-1, and the nightcap, 5-0.
In Game 1, Clayton Chamberland went the distance, allowing eight hits and just four earned runs in seven innings. He walked just one batter and struck out four.
“Our pitching did great,” coach Sean Spoonts said. “Sacred Heart is one of the best-hitting teams we’ll see all year.”
Offensively, Marion hit the ball well, but with few runs to show for it.
“Their pitching was good,” Spoonts said. “We struck out just four times in the first game.
“We hit the ball hard, but just right at them,” he said. “We just needed some breaks. We were in perfect position to score some runs here and there.”
Sacred Heart jumped on top 1-0 in the second inning with a leadoff triple by Dolan, who scored on a ground out.
The second inning proved to be the Warriors’ undoing. The Knights combined three hits, a walk and a Warrior error to score four runs.
Chamberland settled down after that, allowing just one more run in the top of the seventh.
The Warriors scored their lone run in the third inning when Neil Waner reached base on an error, moved to second on a single by Mohammad Rozaie, then to third on a fielder’s choice when Tyler Richmond forced Rozaie at second base.
Chamberland then hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Waner.
In Game 2, Mitch Enos allowed just three hits and one earned run in seven innings, but five costly fielding errors cost the Warriors the game.
Two first-inning errors allowed the Knights to take a 2-0 lead. Two second-inning walks, coupled with another Warrior error, produced two more Knight runs and a 4-0 lead.
Sacred Heart tacked on an insurance run in the fifth inning, courtesy of a hit and another Warrior error.
Marion, meanwhile, had trouble with Knight pitching, as Matt Ryan struck out 10 batters while allowing just two walks and three base hits.
Enos knocked out two of the Warriors three hits against Ryan, one of the best pitchers in the state. But his supporting cast didn’t come up with enough base hits.
One other bright spot on offense for Marion was Bronson Shipman.
“Bronson had two hits in the two games,” Spoonts said. “He hit the ball consistently all day. As far as I’m concerned, that was the best doubleheader he’s played all year.”
Despite the double losses, Spoonts said his team is still upbeat.
“Our kids know that we’ve played four of our toughest games in our 20-game schedule,” Spoonts said. “To be right in the game in those four games, (Hillsboro and Sacred Heart), we know we can play with anybody.
“I’m not too concerned about wins and loses,” he continued. “The toughest part of our schedule is behind us.
“This will help us get prepared for regionals,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s really something to say, but we’re the best 1-7 team in the state. We’re losing games by one run and we were in a position to have won several of those ball games.”