Marion secures 2nd seed for state tournament
Warriors open Thursday with Kansas City Christian
Marion’s baseball team has to be getting tired of Mother Nature.
She threw a monkey wrench in the Warriors’ practices at the beginning of the season, and washed out Marion’s final two games of the regular season.
This week’s forecast is loaded with the possibilities of rain, again playing a negative factor in championship weekend.
Nonetheless, the Warriors head to Great Bend for the Class 2-1A state tournament as the second seed at 18-1.
The tournament marks the third consecutive trip to state for coach Roger Schroeder and the graduated seniors of 2019.
Schroeder’s got a knack for engineering strong runs at state, and his first one competing in Class 2-1A marks his fifth trip to the postseason.
Marion opens the tournament Thursday at 3:30 p.m. with the seventh-seed Kansas City Christian Panthers of Prairie Village.
The Panthers emerged from the Oskaloosa regional with a 6-3 win over Shawnee-Maranatha Christian Academy.
The Panthers were edged in the first round a year ago by Ell-Saline, 2-1, who eventually finished third, also.
While KCC enters at 14-8, better than half of the Panthers’ victories have come at the expense of sub .500 teams from the Kansas City area and larger schools.
The Panthers also posted a split with perennial Class 3A powerhouse Silver Lake, and losses to 5A’s Aquinas and Liberal.
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“They are going to be tough,” Schroeder said. “It’s tough no matter what you’re in, the only difference is the depth as you go down each level normally.
“The one-through four-to-five spot in the order is good and they’ve got two guys on the bump. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, though. We’re tough, too.”
Pending a victory, the Warriors could again renew their acquaintances with bitter rival Sedgwick, which they swept in what turned out to be the regular season-finale April 26 for the HOA title.
The third-seeded Cardinals enter at 15-2, blasting Ellis 17-7 for the Ellinwood regional title.
Ellis edged the only team to beat the Warriors on the year, the Little River Redskins, 9-8 in the semifinals.
The Cardinals open with sixth-seeded Rossville, the winner of the Alma-Wabaunsee regional.
Despite a 9-7 record, the Bulldogs can put up runs in a hurry as the 19-1 Mission Valley Vikings can vouch for.
Rossville made short work of the Vikings in three innings of a 20-0 shutout.
The tournament’s top seed, the Elkhart Wildcats from the Mountain Time zone, are in the top half of the bracket.
The Wildcats are unbeaten on the season at 16-0, with 17-7 and 10-4 wins over Class 3A qualifier Hugoton early in the season.
Elkhart upended the defending Class 2A champion Spearville in the Lancers’ own regional final, 6-2.
The Wildcats also get Panthers to play in the form of Warrior nemesis, eighth seeded Wichita Independent.
The 13-10 Panthers’ season got off to a tough start being swept by the Warriors, but Indy waltzed through a weak Bluestem regional to blast Flinthills, 16-1, in the finale.
The southeast corner of the state always has a formidable opponent qualify and this season, the Humboldt Cubs will be the representative as a four seed.
The Cubs won the daunting Cherokee-Southeast regional, topping the hosting Lancers, another two-year Class 3A qualifier, in the finale, 6-1.
While Humboldt may appear intimidating at 17-3, Cherokee and Northeast Arma were the lone teams the Cubs beat with more than 12 wins.
Humboldt will face the fifth-seed Heritage Christian Academy from Olathe, the Mound City-Jayhawk Linn regional champion.
The 13-6 Chargers face several of the same teams KCC does, and nipped the Panthers April 17, 3-2.
HCA did pick up a split with 3A qualifier Wellsville, but dropped a pair to the Jayhawks during the regular season.
The Chargers avenged the sweep when it mattered most, knocking out Linn, 6-3.
Should the Warriors pass the first round test, they’ll get the late semifinal game Friday at 1:15 p.m.
Last modified May 23, 2019