The momentum is swinging in Marion’s favor with just a pair of doubleheaders left in the regular season.
Both Warrior baseball and softball teams completed a perfect 8-0 week, capped Friday in Marion’s home finale against the Sedgwick Cardinals.
Marion’s softball team reeled off four straight wins since dropping a crushing 9-5 extra inning loss April 16, run ruling the Cardinals by 13-3 and 20-0 blowouts.
The sweep kept Marion in control of its own destiny for both a league softball title and top-two seeding at regionals May 13-14.
The showdown between the Warriors and Cardinals was all it was billed to be with the league baseball title likely on the line.
Marion ran its winning streak to 13 straight to sit atop the HOA at 15-1 record overall, handing Sedgwick their only two losses of the season with 5-2 and 7-3 victories.
The two wrap up the week Friday at Ell-Saline before closing out the regular season May 7 at Remington pending on the forecast with rainfall expected throughout the week.
Warrior baseball coach Roger Schroeder has done plenty during his nine-year tenure, including taking second and third in state the last two seasons, but there’s been one thing he’s yet to pull off.
Notch a sweep of the pesky Cardinals.
Neither of the two had faced a team with as stout a pitching staff as the other with both teams imposing their will on mostly sub .500 opponents.
The Warriors had to fight back in the opener after the Cardinals opened a 2-1 lead against starter Jaxton Tracy, heading into the fourth inning.
Tracy lasted through five innings, surrendering four hits for a pair of runs and striking out 8 batters, but it was Sam Zinn who got the win in two innings worth of work.
Blaine Mermis was a perfect 5-for-5 on the night, belting a pair of doubles for a combined game-high 3 RBIs.
The Warriors knotted the game up at 2-2 after four innings, rallying for the final three runs in the bottom of the sixth for the win against one of the Cardinals’ two aces, Nolan Crumrine.
Marion built a 3-0 lead after two innings in the finale against Sedgwick’s other top hurler, Andrew Hoffsommer.
Chase Stringer fired a two-hitter for the win in five innings, but Sedgwick stormed back to lock the game up at 3-3 heading into the bottom of the third.
The Warrior defense never allowed the Cardinals to get over the hill, though, regaining the lead, 5-3, with the second of three two-run innings in the bottom of the third.
Marion tacked on its final two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, dealing Hoffsommer the loss and Zinn picking up the save behind eight hits for the Warrior offense.
“It was a big win, that’s a good team across the field, but that’s a good team in our dugout, too,” Schroeder said. “We’re both flawed teams, but who’s not? I’ve never seen a perfect team.
“What we did tonight we just competed. We had good effort, we had good attitude and maintained focus to take care of our business. I really like where we’re at.”
For Sedgwick fans expecting a good contest, the baseball games provided more as the softball games’ only excitement came from Marion.
“We kind of started slow, but once we got used to the slower pitching, we started to hit the ball really well,” Warrior coach Judy Noller said. “I think we played really good defense and only gave up three runs.”
Laura Savage had no problem with the Cardinal pitching, going deep twice in the opener off 3-for-4 with a game-high 6 RBIs.
Savage sits alone atop the Heart of America League in home runs with 3/4 of the top five all Warriors.
Clinging to a 5-3 lead after a three-run explosion in the bottom half of the third, Marion broke the game open in its next at bat with a six-run onslaught on 5 of 14 hits.
Grace Overton picked up the win on the mound, surrendering seven hits and three runs with one being earned.
Marion’s lone flaw in the opener was five errors, but the Cardinals matched that in the finale.
The dam already started cracking on Sedgwick back in Marion’s fourth inning in the opener, bursting right away in the Warriors’ first at bat.
The Cardinals were swept away with Marion erupting for all 20 of its runs off 13 hits, to bury Sedgwick after three innings.
Corrina Crabb, Jayden May, Savage, and Chisholm Waner all drove in two RBIs each with Savage continuing her first game hitting display with a pair of doubles while going 2-for-2.
Chloe Burkholder went 3-for-3 while May and Waner were also 2-for-2.
“I feel good about where we’re at, but there’s a four-way tie for first,” Noller said. “The nice thing is we’re in control of how we’re going to finish the league, there’s nobody else who can dictate how we do. We control our own destiny.”
The perfect week that included another sweep Tuesday at Bennington boosted Marion to 9-5 on the season.
Last modified May 2, 2019