Turning 2: Double plays take precision, instinct

Team starts state tournament against Silver Lake

News editor

The Marion baseball team has advanced to its second consecutive state tournament, and this year the Warriors are the No. 2 seed.

In keeping with the theme of twos, shortstop Dylan Seacat and second baseman Zach Robson spoke Thursday about how to turn a double play. The seniors have been Marion’s starting middle infielders for three years, and they often played youth baseball together before that.

Because most batters are right-handed, more ground balls are hit to the left side of the infield, meaning Seacat starts most of Marion’s double plays. He said it is always more important to get one out than to get two.

“Get the first out first,” Seacat said. “You can get one, then you can try to get two.”

He said he can usually tell whether there is a chance for a double play by seeing the runner in his peripheral vision and being familiar with which opposing players are fastest.

By the time Seacat fields the ground ball, Robson is getting ready to receive the throw at second base. He said he keeps his hands together so he can quickly make the transfer from his glove to his throwing hand.

“I’ve done it enough, it’s pretty natural now,” Robson said.

He said he turns and makes the throw to first base to get the second out without even really looking. He knows where the base is and where the first baseman should be, so he is able to do it without thinking.

Robson said over-thinking the play is when it can go wrong, as happened once in the regional tournament. He saw that he had lots of time to make the throw to first with a slow runner, so he tried to slow down and be extra careful about the throw, which had the effect of messing up his timing. It shows that it’s important to practice it enough that the throw becomes instinctual.

Robson said he thought the Warriors have turned more double plays this year because the team’s pitchers did a good job of hitting the corners of the strike zone, inducing more ground balls by opposing hitters.

State tournament starts Thursday

The Warriors will play their quarterfinal game in the 3A state tournament at 4 p.m. Thursday against Silver Lake. Silver Lake eliminated Marion in the 2013 state tournament, and coach Roger Schroeder said he is excited to get a rematch.

Marion (22-1) is the second seed in the tournament. Silver Lake (14-7) is the seventh seed. If the Warriors win, they will play in the semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Friday. The championship game will be at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

The tournament is at Washburn University’s Falley Field, 2000 S.W. Jewell, Topeka.

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