The Marion baseball team had a historic season this spring with 22 victories, a share of the Heart of America League championship, and a second consecutive regional championship, but the season ended too early with a loss to Silver Lake in the state quarterfinals on Thursday in Topeka.
Marion took control of the game early with perfect innings defensively and the first and second while the offense staked the team to a 5-0 lead. Dylan Seacat and Caleb Williams turned first-inning walks into runs when Jacob Baldwin and Luke Steele hit singles to the outfield.
Zac Lewman, Zach Robson, and Taylor Heidebrecht scored in the second inning. Heidebrecht drove in two runs with a double to left field, and Grif Case drove in Heidebrecht with a single to right field.
Silver Lake threatened to score in the third and fourth innings, loading the bases both times but failing to score runs. Robson scored again in the bottom of the fourth on a Silver Lake error, giving Marion a 6-0 lead.
Silver Lake took a chunk out of Marion’s lead in the fifth inning, scoring four runs on five hits, but Marion extended its lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the inning when Bret Voth hit a single that allowed Baldwin to score.
With a three-run lead, Heidebrecht relieved Case at pitcher in the sixth inning. With two outs and two runners on, the Warriors missed a pickoff attempt and a run scored. Silver Lake added three more runs in the inning to take an 8-7 lead.
Case began the bottom of the sixth with a double down the left field line. He scored when Luke Steele reached base on a Silver Lake error, tying the game at 8.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, a Silver Lake hitter laced a line drive past the first baseman and right fielder, all the way to the wall in the right field corner. The hitter raced around the bases to retake the lead 9-8 for Silver Lake.
The bottom of the seventh was the only time all game that Silver Lake got three outs in a row, ending the game. Silver Lake also eliminated the Warriors at state in 2013.
Coach Roger Schroeder said it was the team’s worst game of the year, but it doesn’t change the accomplishments the team had during the season. He said he talked to the players about how good of a season they had and how far the team has come in the past four years.
Schroeder said this year’s seniors — starters Case, Heidebrecht, Lewman, Robson, Seacat, Steele, Williams and bench player Dylan Cochran — have set a high bar for the team to aim for in upcoming seasons.