Marion battles inconsistency in four-game split

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
Mirroring Tuesday’s performance against Council Grove, the Marion Warriors played sub-par in a 12-2 loss in the opening game Thursday with Canton-Galva before bouncing back to the nightcap, 11-4.

In the opener, the Eagles jumped on top 4-0 after one inning and added two runs in both the second and third innings to lead 8-0 against starting pitcher Jimmy Shipman.

Marion finally got on the board in the fourth as David Deforest singled and moved to third on Tyson Heidebrecht’s single. But Heidebrecht was caught in a run-down for the second out of the inning.

Clayton Chamberland then lined a double to left to score Deforest.

The Warriors added another run in the fifth when Heidebrecht doubled with one out and moved to second when Shipman reached on an error. After Neil Waner beat out a bunt single to load the bases, Josh Kelsey walked to drive Heidebrecht home.

The Eagles scored four more runs in the fifth to prematurely end the game via the 10-run rule.

“Jimmy pitched well enough to win,” coach Sean Spoonts said. “His pitching effort was 1,000 percent better today.

“It seems like every week and every game he gets a little bit better,” Spoonts said. “We just didn’t make the plays for him. It’s like we get on a grass infield and we don’t know how to play.”

Shipman allowed 12 hits while walking three and striking out five in the loss.

Marion managed just five hits but committed five errors in the game.

In the second game, Chamberland got the starting nod and pitched a four-hit complete game.

Marion jumped on top 2-0 in the first inning as Heidebrecht walked, stole second and scored on a Chamberland double. Chamberland eventually scored on an Eagle error, one of seven they’d commit in the game.

In the second inning, Marion scored two more runs as Kelsey doubled to lead off and eventually scored on another Eagle error.

Clayton Garnica reached on a bunt single, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Deforest to make the score 4-0.

Marion added a single run in the third when Shipman reached on an error with two outs and scored on a botched pickoff attempt.

Canton-Galva scored a single run in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 5-1, but Marion countered with two runs in the fourth. Tyler Stubenhofer reached on an error, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a ground out off the bat of Jeff Richmond.

After Heidebrecht walked and stole second, Chamberland ripped his third double of the day to drive home Heidebrecht with Marion’s seventh run.

But the Eagles hung tough, scoring single runs in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

Marion put the game out of reach in the top of the seventh. Chamberland led off with a single, Shipman reached on an error, and Waner singled. Kelsey followed with an infield single. When the throw to first sailed into right field, two more runs scored.

Clinton Jeffrey then lined a shot through the hole between first and second to give Marion its 11th run of the game.

For the day, Marion had 11 runs on 12 hits and committed four errors while Canton-Galva had five runs on just four hits.

Chamberland and Waner each went 3-for-4 in the game and Kelsey was 2-for-4.

“Clayton pitched his best game of the year,” Spoonts said. “He got into some trouble in the seventh, but worked himself out of it and finished the game.

“I was pleased with how we came back after a bad first game and competed in the second game,” Spoonts added. “It shows the character our team has.

With the split, Marion improves its record to 3-5.

“We need to improve every game and once a game is over, realize a game is finished and move on,” Spoonts said. “We’re going to get better. Our main objective is to get to the next level so we can win regionals.”

Council Grove-Marion played host to Council Grove last Tuesday and split the doubleheader, dropping the first game, 15-7, but wining the second one, 2-1.

In the opener, the Braves took a 1-0 lead after one inning against starter Clayton Garnica. But Marion went to work in its half of the inning. David Deforest singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a wild pitch.

Marion took a 2-1 lead when Clayton Chamberland singled, took second on fly out to right, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a catcher’s throwing error.

But Council Grove hit the Warriors with four runs in the second inning aided by three walks issued by Garnica.

Tyler Stubenhofer singled and scored in the second to cut the lead to 5-3, but Council Grove put the game away with 10 runs in the third inning, nine of which were charged to Garnica.

Clinton Jeffrey came on in relief to end the rally, which was aided by four Warrior errors-part of eight committed by Marion in the game.

Trailing 15-3, Marion scored two runs in the third on consecutive singles by Chamberland and Stubenhofer. Both eventually scored.

Tyson Heidebrecht pitched the final four innings for Marion and didn’t allow any additional runs.

“Tyson did a great job and I was very pleased with his performance,” coach Sean Spoonts said.

The Warriors added another run in the fifth when Chamberland singled and scored on the back end of a double steal to cut the lead to 15-6.

Marion got its final run in the seventh when Jimmy Shipman reached on an error and scored on a double by Josh Kelsey. But the final out was recorded with the Braves on top 15-7.

Marion collected nine hits in the game, led by Chamberland who was 3-for-4 with three runs scored.

Council Grove had just eight hits, but benefited by Marion’s errors.

Garnica took the loss, throwing 31/3 innings, allowing five hits, eight earned runs, walking five, and striking out three.

In the second game, Heidebrecht threw the first five innings and allowed just four hits. He struck out two and walked none.

Council Grove scored the first run of the game in the fifth inning. Marion bounced back in the sixth inning when David Deforest and Chamberland both singled and eventually scored on consecutive wild pitches.

Jimmy Shipman (2-1) came on in relief in the sixth to get the victory, allowing just one hit in two innings of work.

“We had an error to lead off the bottom of the seventh, but Jimmy and our defense kept their composure,” Spoonts said. “With two outs and a man on third, Council Grove grounded out to David (Deforest) to end the game.

“We did what we’ve been striving for all year-limit walks, limit errors, keep the game close and win the close game.”

With the split, Marion moves its record to 2-4 for the season.

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