ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Marion baseball team faced Moundridge Saturday, in games rescheduled from April 25.
The wait was worth it, as the Warriors swept their first twin-bill of the season, 9-8 in the opener, and 10-6 in the second game.
Once again, the Warrior bats propelled them to victory.
In the opener, Marion rallied from a 6-1 deficit to score a season-high nine runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 10-6 lead, which they made stand.
Jimmy Shipman, Neil Waner and Mitch Enos led the 11-hit offense, cracking out two hits each.
Enos, meanwhile, pitched another strong game. The senior threw seven innings, striking out 10, while walking only one and allowing just five hits and one earned run.
Marion survived five errors in the game.
It took eight innings for Marion to prevail in the nightcap, but they maintained their poise after blowing an 8-2 lead by allowing six runs in the sixth inning.
Chamberland, Richmond, Enos and Waner each chipped in two hits, while Chamberland and Jason Matz drove in two runs each.
Chamberland started on the mound and went 6 innings, allowing eight hits and six earned runs.
Enos pitched the final two innings to pick up his second win of the day.
The Warriors again had the offense running on all cylinders, pounding out 11 hits for the second straight game.
The Warriors committed six more errors, but the offense was what carried them to the sweep.
Canton-Galva-The Eagles came to town with a much-improved team, and an pair of easy wins the Warriors had hoped for turned into two epic struggles.
The result was a split of the doubleheader, with the Warriors winning the opener in eight innings,7-6, and Canton-Galva winning the nightcap, 16-12.
In the opener, pitcher Mitch Enos had to work hard all day, but in the end, his experience may have proven to be the difference.
With Marion leading 2-1, the Eagles scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning to grab a 4-2 lead.
Marion managed a run in the bottom of the fourth, and the 4-3 score stood until the bottom of the sixth.
With two out and nobody on, Neil Waner belted a double to right center. Matt Rhodes promptly drove him in with a run-scoring single to right to tie the game.
After Rhodes stole second, Mohammad Rozaie walked, prompting the Eagles to bring on relief pitcher Chris Anderson.
Anderson fired wild pitch that allowed Rhodes to score the go-ahead run. Clayton Chamberland followed with a double to left, chasing Rozaie home and giving the Warriors a 6-4 advantage.
Marion managed to load the bases, but Travis Schafer came on for Canton-Galva to put out the Warrior fire.
Needing just three outs for the victory, Enos gave up a leadoff single to Seth Shaw. Seth Moddelmog struck out for the first out of the inning, but Enos walked Bo Koehn, putting runners on first and second.
The next batter, DeWayne Stos, cued a ball off the end of the bat directly at first baseman Jason Matz, who misplayed it for an error, allowing Shaw to score.
After a strikeout, Aaron Shaw shot a grounder to Chamberland, who mishandled the ball, allowing the tying run to score.
After Marion went quietly in their half of the inning, the Eagles started the eighth inning with back-to-back singles against Enos. But the senior reached back and got out of the inning unscathed.
Rhodes led off for Marion’s half of the eighth with a single to right. Rozaie, struck out but the ball flew to the backstop, allowing Rhodes to scurry to third.
Chamberland then stepped to the plate and hit a hard shot to third. The ball was booted, allowing the winning run to score.
“We were able to get the job done when we needed to,” coach Sean Spoonts said. “We could have laid down and quit, but we didn’t.”
Game 2 looked like it might be a Marion blowout. After Canton-Galva jumped to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, Marion countered with seven runs of its own.
But the walls caved in on Marion in the second inning, when Canton-Galva scored nine runs to grab a 10-7 lead.
Marion came back with four in the third to regain their lead, 11-10. But Canton-Galva scored four runs of its own in the top of the fourth to recapture the lead, 14-11.
The Eagles scored two more runs compared to one for the Warriors and held on for the win.
“Our pitching wasn’t the reason we lost the second game, though,” Spoonts said. “Our defense didn’t help Jimmy (Shipman). Our kids that need to make plays and should make plays, didn’t make the plays they should have.
“Our hitting was definitely our strength,” Spoonts said. “We just need to improve defensively.
“Our kids are as competitive as anyone we’ve seen all year. They definitely don’t quit.”