Marion, Hillsboro to meet at state tourney

Marion hosted and won the Babe Ruth senior baseball District 4 tournament, defeating Herington 20-4 Friday and hotly contesting three straight games against the Salina Indians Saturday and Sunday.

Marion defeated the Indians 8-5 Saturday, then took a 9-8 loss Sunday, setting up an ?if needed? game to close out the double-elimination tournament. Marion won the ?if needed? game 16-6 on the strength of solid play from Abe Eldridge and Cole Lewman.

Marion trailed 4-0 early in Saturday?s game, but began to rally with a 2-run single by Isaac Hett in the top of the second and took a 5-4 lead on a single by Adam Maag in the top of the third. Wil Case tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth, and Salina was unable to close the gap.

Marion crushed Herington in the opening round despite Bryant Brunner?s best effort. Brunner doubled leading off the game and gave Herington a short-lived 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

Marion scored five runs in the bottom of the first and might have had more if not for an outstanding throw to the plate from Herington?s left fielder. The outfield assist put out starting pitcher Marshall Ragland on a bang-bang play at the plate.

Herington scored three runs in the bottom of the second, but with the bases loaded and needing two outs, Ragland regrouped and did not allow another run to score. Case singled and scored in the bottom of the second, and sparked a 5-run rally that made it 10-4 entering the third.

Case led off the Marion half with a stand-up triple, and the Warriors ended up scoring eight runs in the frame. Maag did most of the damage when he belted a 3-run double in his second at bat of the inning.

The Indians eliminated Herington Saturday night, but still needed two more wins to move on. Marion seized the chance to advance, and will face Hillsboro at noon Friday in Independence.

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