116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — You’d think it would be the elephant in the room, but it’s not.
Marion’s baseball team lost in the state tournament semifinals the previous two years. The Indians secured a semis spot again Wednesday afternoon with an 11-2 win over Adel ADM in a Class 3A quarterfinal at the heat box known as Banks Field.
Maybe the past will be in these guys’ minds when they take on DeWitt Central on Friday morning at 11. But you can’t say they’re afraid to talk about it.
“This year is totally different, I think,” said Marion third baseman Jake Trca. “Coming into this year, from the start, it was just kind of said that we want to get to the state tournament, keep moving on and keep moving on. If we just kind of keep playing how we’re playing, doing what we’re doing, stay disciplined and play how we do, I think we’ll be fine.”
Marion, top-ranked and this tourney’s top seed, is 35-6, the win total a school record. A regular-season game against fourth-seeded DeWitt Central (24-15) was rained out, but these teams know each other well considering they were in the Wamac Conference together until Central’s move to the predominantly 4A Mississippi Athletic Conference this school year.
DeWitt Central mercy ruled Waverly-Shell Rock in the other 3A quarterfinal of Wednesday’s day session.
“We’ve talked about this for a long time,” said Marion Coach Steve Fish. “This is one of the few teams where we’ve actually talked about getting beyond the state semifinals. Now we’re in that game, so perhaps there will be a few more jitters because we are back in a game that we have not been able to get beyond. But hopefully we can get beyond it, whether we’ve talked about it or not … Just go out and play baseball. We know DeWitt is a tough team.”
Marion put this one on ice (ironic pun intended) with three runs in the second inning and four more in the third. ADM (12-18) staved off being 10-runned with a run in the top of the fifth.
The Indians had only six hits, but drew nine walks and had three batters hit by pitches. Trca went 2-for-3 with four RBIs, fantastic freshman shortstop Myles Davis went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a RBI.
“Once we start hitting and getting into a flow, I think we’re one of the toughest teams to compete against,” Trca said. “No matter what the velo, or what the kid’s throwing, we have so many kids who are disciplined at the plate and don’t swing at the pitches the pitchers wants you to try and hit.”
The big lead allowed Fish to remove ace starting pitcher Boede Rahe after four innings and 62 pitches, meaning he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s championship game, if Marion gets there.
“It was good to keep me under, to come back for the next game,” Rahe said. “We were hoping we could put up some runs with our offense to keep me under.”
Rahe improved his record to 11-0, tying the school record for most wins in a season. He allowed just one hit and one unearned run, lowering his already microscopic earned run average to 0.72.
He pitched in long sleeves, believe it or not, on this 95-degree day.
“It’s been an all-year thing for me, just tradition,” he said, with a smile. “I can’t pitch without them.”
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