Making its first-ever appearance in a state championship game, the Marion baseball team ran into a buzzsaw in Wichita-Independent Friday and lost, 8-0, to finish as runners-up in Class 3A.
Panther pitcher Tanner Smith faced two batters more than the minimum, throwing a seven-inning, two-hit shutout to earn the pitching win. He struck out six Warriors, and threw four three up, three down innings before surrendering a hit in the top of the fifth inning.
The Panthers backed Smith up early, touching Warrior starter Mason Pedersen—who had thrown 33 pitches and earned the win in Marion’s 8-6 semifinal win over Cherokee-Southeast—for three hits and five runs in the opening inning. Marion also made an error in the frame.
The Panthers scored one run off one hit in the fourth inning, then used one hit and a pair of errors to scratch across two final runs in the sixth.
Meanwhile, only four Warriors reached base—Pedersen twice via error, and Corbin Wheeler and Nathan Baldwin via fifth-inning singles. The Panthers turned two double plays in the game.
Pedersen absorbed the pitching loss. In one inning, he gave up four hits and five runs (four earned). He walked one batter and struck out no one. Peyton Heidebrecht and Chase Stringer pitched in relief.
Marion concludes the season with an overall record of 23-2 and holds the distinction of being the winningest team in program history.