116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — Early-season growing pains. Mid-season form.
Marion Coach Steve Fish said his team is a little ahead of the curve of some of his previous baseball teams. Being ranked third in Class 3A after two straight semifinal appearances and returning eight starters will do that for you.
“We have a lot of experience, so there are high expectations,” Fish said. “Some of those could be tempered a little bit. I liked the fact we feel good about ourselves. We have a long way to go.”
The experience served them well, showing poise to hold on for a 6-5 victory over Linn-Mar in the semifinals of the Bob Vrbicek Metro tournament Monday night at Becc Field of Prospect Meadows.
Marion (2-0) will face Cedar Rapids Prairie (2-0) in the championship game Tuesday at 7 p.m. It is the first time in over a decade Marion has reached the final.
“It’s pretty special,” Marion freshman shortstop Myles Davis said. “We always want to come out here and win.”
Linn-Mar jumped to an early lead. Coy Sarsfield led off the game with a double and scored on a throwing error.
Marion demonstrated its veteran steadiness, putting up at least one run in four of the next five innings. Davis led off the second with a double, scoring on a Jaqson Tejada sacrifice. Lucas Unsen singled and scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 edge.
Marion also scored runs on wild pitches in the third and sixth that brought in Jake Trca and Tejada. Marion possesses a potent offense that can pressure a defense with hitting and baserunning.
“We found ways to get on base and we took bags,” Davis said. “It was awesome.”
Davis also sparked Marion in the fourth with a leadoff single. He finished with a team-high two hits and scored twice.
“I felt like I played well. I was seeing the ball really good out of the hand and just trying to pick it up. I just tried to find the barrel and find a hole to help the team win.”
Davis’ base hit set up Kaden Frommelt, who followed with a home run over the left-field fence that put Marion up 5-2.
“I was staying with my approach,” Frommelt said. “I got a good pitch to hit. I put the barrel on the ball and it went.
“I thought it was going foul. I was just running out of the box, the left fielder stopped and Coach (Tom) Hauck started cheering. It was a good feeling.”
Linn-Mar made things interesting loading the bases with no outs in the fifth. Marion reliever Cael Hodges got a strikeout and then stabbed a comebacker to start an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play.
The Lions (1-1) capitalized on some wildness in the seventh, scoring three and advancing the tying run to third. Owen Puk notched a strikeout and lineout to end the rally.
“I liked our presence,” Fish said. “I liked our approach at the plate, for the most part. I liked the way we talked on defense.
“I think there are some things that we need to work on. ... There were some good things I saw. I was really impressed. I would expect that. We have eight starters back. A lot of them played as sophomores. I would expect, getting in tight games like this, we’ll be OK.”
Marion also defeated Cedar Rapids Jefferson, 7-3, in the quarterfinals.
Linn-Mar opened the tournament with a 7-1 victory over Cedar Rapids Washington. Dom Olhava had three hits, including a double. Kane Deutmeyer added two hits.
Sarsfield scored twice and provided a quality start against the Warriors, striking out six without allowing a hit or run in four innings pitched.