The Marion baseball team came up with a sweep of league opponent Bennington April 17 to improve to 7-1 in the league, 9-3 overall, and a tie with Sedgwick for the top spot in the Heart of America league.
?A sweep over a league opponent is always huge, and tonight was no exception,? said coach Roger Schroeder, ?especially in the fashion that we were able to do it.?
The Warriors rode strong pitching to an 8-3 victory over the Bulldogs in Game 1, holding a 7-0 lead through the first four innings before Bennington escaped with three runs in the fifth.
Austin Pederson (2-1) pitched 4 2/3 innings for the win, but it was Grif Case who came in for the last 2 1/3 innings to allow no hits and earn the save.
?Austin threw the ball pretty well for the second straight outing,? Schroeder said. ?Grif did a nice job coming in and shutting the door to earn the save.
?He was aggressive with his fastball early in the count and was able to get ahead and make the hitters take defensive swings.?
At the plate, power hitter Dylan Seacat drove in three runs, with Jacob Harper adding two runs-batted-in to help the Warriors score eight runs on 11 hits.
?I wasn?t particularly happy with the quality of our at-bats,? Schroeder said. ?We got ourselves out a lot by swinging at bad pitches early in the count.
?We have to be a little more selective early in the count, and be aggressive in our zone, not necessarily the entire strike zone.?
The Warriors needed to come out strong and finish the sweep early in Game 2, but instead both teams held a zero-run impasse through the first four innings before scoring two runs each in the fifth.
But in a big play from a player who has struggled this year, after being a stand-out last season, senior Cole Lewman singled to center right in the seventh inning to drive in Taylor Heidebrecht and give Marion the walk-off win, 3-2.
?I was proud of the way we battled in the final three innings, and I was extremely happy for Cole to get a big hit like that,? Schroeder said. ?That is the kind of at-bat that can turn a season around.?
Ethan Hett (3-2) earned the Warriors the victory, relieving Jacob Harper to pitch the final 1 1/3 innings and claim the last four outs for the win.
Hett also went 2-3 from the plate, claiming both RBIs in the fifth inning to tie the game and keep the Bulldogs from taking the lead.
?We came out extremely flat in this game and I was upset with our effort early-on,? Schroeder said. ?When you have the opportunity to earn a sweep you should really come out aggressive and try to bury the other side early-on.?
Despite having to battle their way through a slump in the second game, the Warriors still came up with the win for the sweep, and will carry that momentum into their tough final four league games this week.
Coming ?Marion was scheduled to play at Inman April 24 before hosting Ell-Saline Friday to conclude league play.