The Marion Warriors baseball team swept Ell-Saline Thursday on the road to claim a share of the Heart of America League championship. They shared the title with Sedgwick; their losses to each other were the teams’ only league losses this season.
Senior shortstop Dylan Seacat was excited about the league championship, a first for this year’s seniors after three close calls in the past.
“We’ve tried for four years, and it’s always seemed to slip away from us,” he said.
The Warriors easily controlled both games Thursday. They defeated the Cardinals 23-4 in four innings in game one, with Ell-Saline using five pitchers.
The top third of the Warriors’ lineup — Taylor Heidebrecht, Dylan Seacat, and Grif Case — combined to hit 11-of-12 with 11 runs batted, four doubles, two triples, and 12 runs. Every Warrior scored at least one run.
Case pitched the game and had seven strikeouts and no walks.
Marion took a 6-0 lead in the first inning of the second game, as they batted around the order. The Warriors added two runs in the second inning, two in the third, and three in the fifth.
Heidebrecht shut out the Cardinals in the second game with four strikeouts.
Seacat said the team was happy to have the league championship, but it was already turning its sights to its next goal.
“That was goal one from day one,” he said. “We’re looking for a regional championship now.”
The Warriors finished the regular season with a 19-1 record, guaranteeing them a first-round bye in regionals. They will play in the regional semifinals and possibly finals Tuesday at home.
Marion swept Halstead on Tuesday, winning both games 12-2 after 4½ innings.
With a steady north wind, Heidebrecht and Bret Voth each hit a homerun over the left field fence in the first game, and both drove in three runs in the game. Luke Steele struck out four and walked none in the game.
In his final regular-season home game in the second game, senior Grif Case hit his first homerun at home after hitting many on the road during high school. It was a grand slam, pulled straight down the left field line. Voth pitched the second game, striking out five batters.