CEDAR RAPIDS - The Cedar Rapids Rampage were taking a long, uncomfortable glance towards 0-4.
Three third-quarter goals by the visiting Harrisburg Heat flipped a Cedar Rapids halftime lead into a two-score deficit.
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Pizazz doesn’t win baseball games.
The Marion Indians don’t have a knack for it anyway, so they rely on the basics like throwing strikes, playing good defense and getting key hits.
“We’re not going to show up and wow people,” Marion Coach Steve Fish said. “I think our team understands that. We get contributions from everybody.”
The Indians will look for another balanced effort of fundamental baseball in the Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 3A District 9 championship against Western Dubuque on Monday night in Farley, beginning at 7.
Marion (23-15) advanced with a 4-0 win over previously ranked Dubuque Wahlert for its ninth win in the last 12 games.
“We’ve definitely played pretty well down the stretch,” Fish said. “We’ve had some guys step up. We kind of like the way we’re playing.”
Against Wahlert, senior Quinn Cannoy threw a two-hitter, John Carstenson had two hits and a vital RBI and David Kuhn led the way with three hits. Recently, the Indians have had several players make an impact on the field. Fish considers it a strength of this team.
“It’s really been kind of surprising,” Fish said. “It’s hard to single out any of them out, because we’ve had performances from different people the last couple weeks.”
Marion and Western Dubuque (18-19) split in a regular season Wamac Conference doubleheader. The Indians won, 9-2, before being no-hit by the Bobcats’ Tyler Johnson in a 6-0 loss.
Kuhn suffered one of his two losses that day, giving up six runs on six hits. He walked four and struck out seven. Fish said Kuhn will start in the district final with a chance to avenge that setback, needing help from a strong defense and a potent offense against a good-hitting Bobcat team.
“He’s done a very good job most of the season,” Fish said. “He’s anxious to get back up there and get another shot at them.”
Injuries have forced players to adjust and mature. Many of the Indians have had to play multiple positions for the team when others were sidelined. Freshman Maverick Miller started the season in left field, moved to third base and is now the starting catcher.
“We’re back to being normal,” Fish said. “We’re still not at full strength, but everybody but everybody is playing the best they can.”
Monday will be busy for 3A Wamac teams. Fourth-ranked West Delaware plays Crestwood at Oelwein. Clear Creek Amana and Vinton-Shellsburg face off at Williamsburg. Solon hosts Washington (Iowa) with a substate berth at stake.
Decorah travels to top-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock.
In Class 4A, Cedar Rapids Jefferson hosts Burlington at Memorial Stadium, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Iowa City West receive byes and will play in substate championship games Wednesday.
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