Marion baseball falls to Silver Lake, 9-8

Sometimes things do not go as hoped or dreamed. For the Marion baseball team, that meant a premature exit from the Class 3A state tournament in Topeka after suffering an opening-round loss to Silver Lake, 9-8, Thursday.

The game started smoothly for the Warriors, who built a 6-0 lead after four innings and appeared to be handily in control.

But things started to unravel in the top of the fifth inning when Silver Lake used five hits and two errors to score four runs on Marion starter Grif Case, who had pitched four shutout innings, and had escaped the third and fourth innings without giving up any runs despite Silver Lake loading the bases both times.

Marion responded with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Bret Voth hit an RBI single that scored Jacob Baldwin, who had led off with a single. That put the score at 7-4 in favor of Marion.

However, Silver Lake scored four runs on five hits and an error to take a one-run lead in the top of the sixth, with Taylor Heidebrecht pitching in relief. All the scoring damage in the inning was done with two outs.

The Warriors came back and tied the game in the bottom of the sixth. Case led off with a double deep down the left field line and scored the tying run when the Silver Lake fielder overthrew first base, allowing Luke Steele to reach on error.

In the top of the seventh, Heidebrecht retired the first two Silver Lake batters by fly out and strikeout. However, the third Eagle knocked the ball down the first-base line where it got past two Warriors and ended up in deep right field, allowing the batter to round all the bases and score. Two singles after that put runners at first and second, but Zach Robson made a leaping catch to close the half inning.

With one final opportunity to tie or take the lead, Marion was retired in order for the first time all afternoon.

The Warriors started the game on fire. Case retired the first three Eagles he faced, and the Warrior offense backed him up in the bottom half of the inning when Baldwin and Steele hit back-to-back RBI singles.

The Warriors added three runs in the bottom of the second inning, aided by a two-RBI double by Heidebrecht.

By the time Robson scored on a throwing error in the bottom of the fourth after leading off with a walk, Marion led 6-0, heading into the final three innings.

Marion concludes the season with a 22-2 overall record.

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