116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — It was a subdued reaction after the final out was recorded. Kind of like they’d been there before.
Weird since the Marion Indians haven’t been there … until now.
Four runs in the second inning gave them the lead and four in the sixth put them over the top in a 9-2 win over DeWitt Central in a Class 3A state baseball tournament semifinal Friday afternoon at Banks Field.
Marion (36-6) lost in the semis the previous two years. Instead of avoiding that topic, these guys openly talked about their desire to return to state and finally get to the title game.
They’re there, playing fifth-ranked Dubuque Wahlert (32-10) Saturday at noon for all the proverbial marbles.
“Our sole purpose was to get back here and win a state championship, to be in that championship game, to take that next step,” said Coach Steve Fish, in his 27th year as a prep head coach. “To be able to do what we said our goal was, who knows what happens tomorrow, but we’re in that game.”
Top-ranked Marion got good starting pitching from Owen Puk and some really good two-out hitting.
Puk went six innings, striking out eight with an upper-80s fastball that touched 90 once. The Florida International signee gave up just three hits and walked six.
“We knew they were a good-hitting team,” he said. “So it was nice to be able to hit my spots, make a pitch, let my defense work.”
Central’s two runs came in the sixth, when Puk lost the strike zone for a bit and walked three guys. That cut Marion’s lead to 5-2.
But Jake Trca’s bases-loaded triple to the fence in left-center got those runs back and then some in the bottom of the inning. Jaqson Tejada followed with a single off the left-field fence to score Trca.
He hobbled to first base, taking his at-bat despite injuring his hamstring while stretching defensively to catch a throw at first base. Tejada had two-out RBI hits in three of his four ABs in the game.
“In the dugout, we were like ‘Get on, we’ll do a job,’” Tejada said of the four insurance runs. “Jake told me before he went out there ‘Watch this.’”
Fish said he doubted if Tejada would play Saturday, though Tejada said he was going to go. It is the state championship game after all, his school’s first time being in it.
“It was just a huge process from the beginning,” Trca said. “From the beginning, like I’ve said before, it wasn’t really in our thinking that we were going to stop in the semifinals. We’ve just been going and going so hard.
“We had a lot, a lot of certainty that Owen was going to go out there and give us a lot of strikes. We just had to go in and hit some balls hard, which we did.”
Comments: (319)-398-8258, firstname.lastname@example.org