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Warrior baseball state-bound

Staff writer

The Marion Warriors baseball team rolled through Lyndon, Lebo, and Chase County to win its regional championship last week in Emporia and qualify for the state tournment this week.

The Warriors beat Lyndon 3-0, Lebo 6-0, and Chase County 4-3, extending their winning streak to 15 in a row.

Lander Smith scored two of the four runs for Marion in the championship game. Mitch Norris and Brayden Hulett scored the others.

Gavin Wasmuth was responsible for bringing in two of those runs. Hayden Mendoza brought in the final winning run.

It was Marion’s sixth regional championship since 2013 but its first since 2019.

“Our team responded very well on Wednesday, and I was very proud of the way our team competed,” Schroeder said. “You could see it as soon as we got on the bus to head to Emporia. It took a lot of guys to get it done as we dealt with some injuries during the regional, but guys stepped up and gave us their best.”

Mendoza pitched a great game in the semifinal by commanding the zone and controlling the pace of the game.

Mitch Norris took the mound for the championship game against Chase County and battled in the first inning without his best stuff but found a way to get off the field, limiting the damage before settling in for the remainder of the game.

“As we got to the sixth, we got in a bad spot with two runners on and had to face Kohlmeier with no where to put him, and he made us pay,” Schroeder said. “That moment was one of the cooler moments I’ve been a part of in my coaching career. Both sides, stands and dugouts, were going bonkers. They just tied the game, but we were able to get out of the inning and didn’t have to make a pitching change with two outs and a guy on third, which would have given Chase County all the momentum in the world.”

Mendoza had a clutch hit to drive in the go-ahead run that won the game.

Jack Lanning pitched the final inning of the night and got three ground outs with 10 pitches. He ended up on the bottom of a victory dog pile celebration shortly after.

The Warriors will be traveling Thursday to Great Bend Sports Complex as the No. 3 seed for the first game of the state tournament.

They open up the tournament at 5:45 p.m. by facing Sedgwick a team the Warriors have beaten twice earlier this season.

The only team Marion has lost to all season is Little River. It will be the No. 1 seed at the tournament. The Warriors have won 15 games in a row since their loss to Little River earlier this year.

Teams that win Thursday will play the following day for the semi-finals and finals.

“As we move forward, our preparation doesn’t really change,” Schroeder said. “We talked about it before regionals. We are who we are. It’s about staying sharp and being ready to play our brand of baseball on another big stage. We’ve earned that now, and we are going to enjoy the heck out of it.”

Last modified May 25, 2023

 

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