The Marion baseball team won three of four games last week to conclude the regular season with an overall record of 13-7.
Little River?Marion split two games with the Redskins, who rank fifth in Class 2-1A, on a stormy Thursday on the road.
Coach Roger Schroeder praised his team?s offensive performance but lamented a continuing defensive struggle. Marion committed eight errors in the doubleheader.
?Early in the year, we couldn?t score to help ourselves at all,? he said. ?Now we?re able to put the ball in play hard and get some hits and move runners on the bases, but we still just can?t get out of our own way on the field.?
Marion came into the twinbill short a starting pitcher after Bret Voth threw five shutout innings of relief in a 12-inning win over Moundridge two days prior.
Marion overcame a 10-3 deficit to win Game 1, 15-11.
The Warriors trailed 3-2 after the first inning but tied it in the second. Little River enjoyed a seven-run third inning, roughing up starter Peyton Heidebrecht for five hits, two walks and a pair of hit by pitches, and being aided by an error.
The Warriors got to starter Grant Harvey in the fifth inning. Jacob Baldwin hit a leadoff single and Heidebrecht walked to force a pitching change. Trevor Kruse hit a one-out RBI double and Dylan Pippin hit a one-run single. The next three Warriors reached on error, and by the time Voth and Jacob Baldwin hit back-to-back RBI singles, Marion was within 10-9 with two outs. Heidebrecht then hit a three-run home run to give the Warriors the lead, 12-10.
Marion scored three runs to Little River?s one in the sixth.
Heidebrecht was 3-for-4 at-bat and had five RBIs.
Reliever Corbin Wheeler (1-0) earned the pitching win. In three innings, he gave up two hits and one run (earned). He walked four batters and struck out two. Pippin pitched the final inning and retired the side.
Marion lost Game 2, 9-8.
Little River built a 6-3 lead through three. Marion scored its first three runs off five hits, including a Cole Srajer double, in the third.
Marion tied the game, 6-6, in the fifth, highlighted by a Jacob Baldwin double.
Little River scored twice in the fifth. Each team plated a run in the sixth, making it, 9-7, heading into the seventh.
Heidebrecht led off with a single, then Dakota Stimpson got a base hit. With one out, Wheeler was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Mason Pedersen reached on a two-out error, scoring one run. However, a strikeout ended the rally with the bases loaded.
Heidebrecht was 3-for-3 and had one RBI. Jacob Baldwin led the team with three RBIs.
Kruse (0-1) absorbed the pitching loss in relief of starter Srajer. In two innings, Kruse gave up one hit and two runs (both earned). He walked one batter and struck out no one. Once again, Pippin was called in to close the game.
?We asked some guys that haven?t pitched at the varsity level all year to throw today, and we did fine,? Schroeder said. ?If we catch the ball a little better, maybe we win two today. I don?t know.
?We felt like we could?ve had two today, but it?s a good step. We?re competing. We?re giving ourselves a chance to win games, and we weren?t doing that early in the season.?
Moundridge?Marion swept the Wildcats Tuesday in games that could hardly have been more opposite in terms of duration.
Marion won a marathon 12-inning Game 1, 6-5, but needed only five innings for a 12-2 win in the nightcap.
In Game 1, Moundridge took a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Dakota Stimpson drove in two runs with a bases-loaded, two-out single in the fourth, giving Marion a 2-1 lead.
The Wildcats reclaimed it with four runs off three hits and an error in the fifth. Marion trailed 5-2 heading into the seventh.
The Warriors rallied. Trevor Kruse coaxed a one-out walk off reliever Caleb Frye, then Dylan Pippin hit a single. Corbin Wheeler was walked to load the bases, then Cole Srajer drove in three runs with a double to tie the game. Srajer was tagged out attempting to score on a squeeze play, and the inning ended with the teams locked at 5.
Marion brought Bret Voth to the mound in the top of the eighth. He pitched five shutout innings without giving up a hit to earn the win. He walked one batter and struck out five.
After four scoreless innings, Pedersen led off the 12th inning with a single, then Voth bunted and reached on a base hit. When Stimpson reached base on the fielder?s choice, Pedersen scored the winning run.
?We made the plays in extra innings,? Schroeder said. ?Bret threw strikes, commanded the game very well, and we did a good job.?
Voth was 4-for-5 at-bat. Srajer and Stimpson each had three RBIs.
In Game 2, Pippin threw a one-hitter to earn the win, giving up just one earned run in five innings while walking two batters and striking out eight.
Marion built a 5-0 lead through two. Four Warriors hit singles in the second to key the three-run frame.
Moundridge scored twice in the third, but then Marion took control. Srajer led off a five-run fourth inning with a triple?Marion?s only hit of the inning. The Warriors were aided by two errors and three walks.
Marion plated two runs in the fifth to claim the run-rule win. Jacob Baldwin hit a two-out double, Peyton Heidebrecht walked and Stimpson drove in a run with an infield hit. Kruse reached on error, and Barney drove in the winning run with a single.
Jacob Baldwin was 2-for-2 at-bat and had one RBI. Stimpson was 2-for-3 and had three RBIs.
?We?re still having trouble making the easy plays?understanding the situation, what needs to happen?but we?re getting there,? Schroeder said. ?Two wins. That?s six in a row for us.?
Coming?Marion will compete in the Class 3A regional hosted by Council Grove at Soden?s Grove baseball field in Emporia May 18 and 20.
Additional teams in the field include Burlington, Council Grove, Osage City, Pomona-West Franklin and Richmond-Central Heights.
Brackets will be posted at hillsborofreepress.com as they become available.
Marion has won seven of its last eight games, and Schroeder said he hopes that momentum carries into the postseason.
?I think we set ourselves up pretty good,? he said. ?A much better position than we were in a couple weeks ago, and that?s something that these guys should be very proud of because they took a tongue-lashing from me a time or two. We?re still not there yet?we still have a lot of things to improve on?but we?re making progress.?