The Hawks, Marion’s new American Legion baseball team, spread its wings and soared into first place over the weekend at a wood bat tournament in Pratt.
“I’m extremely proud of how our team competed and conducted themselves,” coach Jordan Metro said. “They’re a great bunch, and pretty talented ball players, too.”
Aside from a little more “pop,” there isn’t much difference between wood bats and aluminum bats sanctioned by the High School Athletic Association, Metro said.
Last week the Hawks swung wood bats during practice and a doubleheader to get accustomed to their nuances.
However, some players still had to adjust to increased vibrations when they did not happen to strike balls in the bat’s sweet spot.
The Hawks edged out Lyons 12-11 Saturday with Corbin Wheeler pitching. Metro said Wheeler threw a good game, but poor defensive coverage allowed Lyons to score.
Mason Perdersen pitched the Hawk’s second game later that day against Pratt. Perdersen allowed two hits and had eight strikeouts.
“It was a night and day difference,” Metro said. “The kids played great defense. We made better adjustments at the plate to win 7-2.”
The Hawks were No. 1 seed going into Sunday single elimination competition.
They played Kingman first, whose head coach was Metro’s coach when he played high school ball.
“Coach Munz made practice fun, and he knew a lot about the game,” Metro said. “It was neat to coach against him. We both took a few jokes from each other.”
Against Kingman, however, Metro said Dylan Pippen’s pitching was the real story.
“Dylan threw one of the best games I’ve seen him throw,” he said. “It was a complete game shutout. He only allowed one hit with six K’s.”
The Hawks eventually run ruled Pratt 8-0 in the sixth inning largely because of Pippen’s arm.
The championship game was against Nickerson, who had also won all their games.
The Hawks started slow. Metro could tell the teams energy level was down because it was a late game. They trailed 4-2 going into the last inning.
“We just couldn’t do anything offensively,” Metro said. “Then I’m not really sure what happened, but we exploded.”
In the top half of the inning, the score was 4-3. The Hawks had two outs, bases loaded, and Garrett Hoffner at bat.
Hoffner hit a bullet into left-center that earned him a triple and three RBI’s of the six runs the Hawks scored that inning.
Peyton Heidebrecht was starting pitcher against Nickerson. He pitched six innings.
Once the Hawks were up, Pippen was brought in to close the game. Pippen struck out three of four batters, and got the win.
The Hawks’ next tournament starts July 12 in Junction City.