A week after being swept by Halstead, the Marion Warriors got revenge on the Dragons by defeating them 9-8 in the regional finals Tuesday at Hillsboro.
The victory earned the team a trip to the state baseball tournament. It is the Warriors’ first regional baseball championship.
On May 7, Marion lost to Halstead 5-4 and 9-8 in extra innings. The second game came down to the final out, and so did Tuesday’s matchup, but this time it went in the Warriors’ favor.
The Warriors fell behind 8-2 in the game, but trimmed the lead with a four-run sixth inning. Marion still trailed 8-6 entering the bottom of the seventh inning.
With two runners on base and two outs, Zac Robson hit a single that scored both runners to tie the game at 8. Taylor Heidebrecht was hit by a pitch, bringing up Dylan Seacat with runners at first and second.
Seacat cleanly hit a single to right field, allowing Robson to score the game-winning walkoff run.
The team will play in the state baseball tournament, which begins May 23 at Kansas State University’s Tointon Family Stadium in Manhattan. If they advance, they will continue to play May 24. The team has a record of 15-5.
Before the season, coach Roger Schroeder made advancing to the state tournament a goal for the team, although he stopped short of calling it a “state or bust” season. Last year they came within one inning of winning the regional championship and advancing to state but lost to Sacred Heart.
Marion 8, Hillsboro 1 in regional semifinals
The Warriors defeated Hillsboro in the semifinal game, 8-1.
They were buoyed by a big third inning with four runs scored from Taylor Heidebrecht, Grif Case, Brett Voth, and Ethan Hett. Hett had an RBI walk, Caleb Williams had a two-RBI single with the bases loaded, and Lewman had a RBI single. All of that work was done with two outs.
In the next inning, Seacat got on with a single. Grif Case hit a two-run homerun over the left field fence.
After allowing two base runners in the first and third innings, Case settled in on the mound with a 1-2-3 fourth including two swinging strikeouts. Case ended the threat in the first inning with consecutive looking strikeouts, painting the outside corner.
Ethan Hett played great at third base, including turning a ground out double play.