Marion lost a regional semifinal to Council Grove 2-1 in extra innings Thursday at Soden’s Grove Field in Emporia.
A double off the wall ended what was one of senior Bret Voth’s best pitching performances of his career, head coach Roger Schroeder said. The hit came after the Warriors’ only error on the day, and a runner scored from first on the powerful, two-out blast.
While it’s easy to conclude Marion lost by allowing the winning run, Schroeder said it was a failure to capitalize on opportunities earlier in the game that did in the Warriors.
“We beat them in every phase of the game except the scoreboard, unfortunately,” he said. “We needed a two-out base hit, and we just couldn’t get it.”
Schroeder said the Warriors had 7 or 8 hits, some walks, and some hit batsmen to get runners on base.
“The problem was a lot of it got generated with one or two outs,” he said. “When you have guys on with nobody out, you can bunt, hit-and-run, steal, be more aggressive.”
The Warriors’ one-run loss is a far cry from the combined 20-1 thumping Marion took over two games with Council Grove earlier in the season.
Schroeder credited Voth with limiting the Braves’ offense. Voth went 82/3 innings, throwing what Schroeder said were fewer than 80 pitches.
“He never really got into that much trouble,” Schroeder said.
Council Grove went on to lose the regional championship to Burlington. Marion finished the season 14-8.
With the end of the season, Schroeder and the Warriors say goodbye to six seniors, including Voth and fellow four-year player Jacob Baldwin. Nathan Cyr and Trevor Kruse each had two years with the program. Centre High Schoolers Dakota Stimpson and Jared Barney were new additions for this season.
“It’s hard to see them go,” Schroeder said. “They did everything and anything we asked while they were part of our program.”
Schroeder’s main point of pride from this season was the team’s improvement.
“We were 6-6 at one point,” he said. “To end up 14-8 is definitely something to hang our hats on.”
Halfway through the season, Schroeder asked the older players to believe in the team and the system; they did, and it showed.
“We’re never gonna be a moral victory kind of team,” he said, “but the experience we got this year, whether some of us were ready for it or not, will help us in the future.”