Will face 18-2 Council Grove next
Without question, head coach Roger Schroeder said, it was Dylan Pippin’s best performance of the season. It could not have come at a better time.
Pippin’s complete game performance led the Warriors to a 4-2 first round win over Central Heights.
“I think (Pippin) threw 93 pitches, which is great,” Schroeder said. “He’s thrown 95 pitches in four innings before. We were able to do just enough offensively to make it happen but game ball would go to him today.”
Pippin is Marion’s No. 2 starter behind Bret Voth, who will take the mound in its second round game. Pippin finished Monday’s contest with 7 innings pitched, 5 strikeouts, 1 walk, 4 hits, and 2 unearned runs allowed.
Offense was sparse for the Warriors. Schroeder said he wished his team would have done a better job of putting the ball in play and forcing Central Heights to make plays.
“We struck out a lot,” he said. “At this level, if you’re going to have 21 outs, make them make 21 plays. It’s something we’ve struggled with, and it showed again today.”
Timely hitting by the Warriors, however, saved the day.
Dakota Stimpson of Centre High School had 3 RBIs, including a two-out single in the third inning and a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Stimpson is one of four varsity players from Centre High School, which has merged with Marion for this season. Schroeder said the groups have jelled nicely.
“About halfway through the year we plugged Cole Srajer into the top of the lineup and he’s been our little spark plug,” Schroeder said. “That allowed Dakota to get down in the order and man, he’s been Mr. Two-out hit. I think he might lead our team in RBIs, and he’s missed four games.”
The Warriors, now 14-7, have won eight of their last nine games.
Marion faces 18-2 Council Grove in a second round game at 4 p.m. today in Emporia. In a doubleheader earlier this season, Council Grove swept 13-0 and 7-1. Should the Warriors beat the Braves, they would play in the championship game immediately afterward.
“They’re a historically good team,” Schroeder said of Council Grove. “We got to see them earlier in the year when we weren’t playing very well. I hope they overlook us. I hope they’re looking to the championship game because we’re a different team. We know it, and they better know it. We’re going to come ready to play.”