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Warriors lose double-header, but are working their way to the top

The Marion High School baseball team lost both home games of a doubleheader to Sacred Heart 9-6 Friday afternoon and 10-3 under the lights.

“I think what the deal is after you don’t play baseball for a year, you just have to work some bugs out,” Manager Tyler Mermis said.

The Warriors also ran into a well-oiled machine.

In the first game, Sacred Heart pitcher Scott Lyon threw five innings of one-run, one-hit ball with 11 strikeouts, and two walks.

Lyon was dominant with a mixture of control and movement. Although he didn’t throw that hard — “We throw harder at the kids in practice,” Mermis said — Lyon painted the low corners of a tight strike zone with his fastballs and back-door curve balls.

Of his 11 strikeouts, four were of the looking variety. Several Marion hitters expected curveballs to be plunked only to have the pitches land squarely on the inside corner.

“We weren’t aggressive enough,” Mermis said.

The Warriors made a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning — Isaac Hett scored Abe Eldridge and Matt Sprowls on a single and Colton Olson scored Hett on another base hit — scoring 3 runs, but it wasn’t quite enough.

The Knights jumped out to an early lead in the second game, scoring three runs in the first inning. It seemed the Warrior bats would pounce on Brian Togood after Brian Fruechting hit a floating pop fly over the Knight’s third baseman, but Knight’s made a pitching change in the second inning without surrendering any runs to Marion.

Blake Jones took over on the mound and, like Lyon, continued with pinpoint control and a back-door breaking ball.

The Knights also played excellent defense in the second game. After an error by their third baseman in the first inning, Sacred Heart did not make another defensive gaffe for the rest of the game.

The Warriors again staged a late inning rally. Wil Case started the hitting with a home run that sailed off the left-handed hitter’s bat and over the right field fence in the sixth inning. Hett and Olson scored two more runs but the Knights made a pitching change that stymied the Warriors, ending the game at 10-3.

The Warriors infield defense showed glimpses of forming into a solid unit.

Marion shortstop Corey Seacat made several plays on grounders including a backhanded grab followed by a throw that landed right in Fruechting’s glove in the first game. Third baseman Sprowls looked steady with the glove and with his arm, sending most balls directly to Fruechting at first.

Olson and Jake Harper looked solid fielding ground balls in stints at second. Fruechting made an over-the-shoulder catch, and chasing down a foul ball, pop fly along the right-field fence in the first inning of the first game.

“Defensively we need to do a lot more repetitions doing defensive work,” Mermis said. “I told them for the first month of practice — mental mistakes are going to kill us.”

But, he also again added that these were the first two contests of the season.

“I was nervous. It’s my first season as a head coach,” Mermis said. “It was like first-date jitters.”

Statistics

Pitching: Game 1 starter: Marshall Ragland: 4 IP, 7 runs, 3 Ks, 3 BB

Game 2 starter: Fruechting: 5 IP, 4 Hs, 5 ERs, 2 Ks, 3 BB

Hitting:

Game 1

1. Seacat : 0-4

2. Olson : 2-4 2 1Bs, 1 R, 1 RBI

3. Case: 1-3 1 3B, 1R, also reached on error

4. Fruecthting: 0-1 1 RBI on sacrifice ground out, reached on error

5. Ragland: 0-2

Harper: 0-1

6. Eric Kjellin: 0-2 BB

7. Abe Eldridge: 1-2 1 R, 1 BB

8. Sprowls: 1-2 1 1B, 1 R, 1 BB

9. Hett: 2-3 2 1Bs, 1 R, 3 RBI

Game 2

1. Olson: 1-4 1 2B, 1R, 1 RBI

2. Seacat: 1-4 1B 1 RBI

3. Fruecthing: 1-1 1B, BB

Cole Lewman: 0-1 BB

4. Case: 1-2 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, also reached on error

5. Ragland: 1-3, 1 B, reached on fielder’s choice

6. Kjellin: 0-2 1 BB, reached on fielder’s choice

7. Eldridge: 0-2, reached on fielder’s choice

8. Sprowls — 0-2, 1 BB

9. Hett — 1-3 1B, 1R

Last modified April 1, 2010

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