Warriors claim HOA league title

The Marion baseball team concluded the regular season with a sweep of Inman Monday, 12-2 and 15-4, both in five innings.

The victories improved Marion’s final Heart of America league record to 11-1, giving the Warriors their first-ever outright league title.

“We were able to win a share of the championship back in 2014 but never have we been able to call ourselves the top of the league all by ourselves, so (it’s a) really cool accomplishment,” coach Roger Schroeder said. “(I’m) very proud of the guys (for) buying into that goal.”

The doubleheader began with Marion taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning of Game 1 without a hit, and the score remained that way through three innings.

The Warriors scored five runs to Inman’s one in the fourth inning, and did the same in the fifth to invoke the mercy-rule win.

Nathan Baldwin led off the fifth inning with a solo home run, while Corbin Wheeler and Peyton Heidebrecht each hit doubles in the game.

The Warriors worked 10 walks in the outing.

Wheeler was 2-for-4 at-bat and had four RBIs.

Baldwin (4-1) earned the pitching win. In five innings, he gave up four hits and two runs (one earned). He walked three batters and struck out six.

“We did enough late in that game,” Schroeder said. “We (ended) up batting around in the fourth inning and scoring five runs and pushing some distance between us, and then we were able to add some in the fifth to extend the lead and really make it comfortable. Nate threw well.”

In Game 2, each team scored four runs in the second inning. The Warriors broke the tie with a seven-run top of the fourth inning, and plated four runs in the fifth inning to end the game.

Jacob Vondenkamp hit a fifth-inning two-run home run, and Evann Heidebrecht and Peyton Heidebrecht each hit doubles in the game. Marion worked 14 walks.

Cole Srajer was 3-for-4 at-bat and had two RBIs. Peyton Heidebrecht drove in four runs. Vondenkamp drove in three.

Blaine Mermis (4-0) earned the pitching win. Over five innings, he gave up six hits and four runs (one earned). He walked three batters and struck out six.

“Again, not a ton of hits—we did hit the ball a little bit better—but not exactly what you want,” Schroeder said.

“We want to be able to swing the bats, but we did a good job of not expanding the zone and then really taking what they gave us and making the free bases count.”

Coming—Marion is the No. 1 seed in the Class 3A regional at Southeast of Saline with an 18-1 record and received a first-round bye. The Warriors will face a rematch with Hillsboro at Southeast of Saline today at 1 p.m. With a win, Marion would play in the championship later today at 4 p.m.

“We definitely understand that we’re going to have to play well, and we’re going to have to beat good teams, regardless of what the records say,” Schroeder said.

“We know what they’re capable of and know that we’re going to get their best shot. We’re going to have to come ready to play or we’re going to go home early.”