The second game of the Class 3A state tournament concluded in similar fashion to the first as the top-ranked Marion Indians brought the bats in full force, defeating eighth-seeded ADM 11-2. The Indians have officially advanced to the semi-final round for the fourth time in program history. With the victory, head coach Steve Fish, who already came into the game as the winningest coach among the Class 3A teams, captured his 761st of his storied career.
While the Tigers came in as hot of a team as you could have, the Indians found a way to cool them down and do so quickly. Heading into the tournament, the Indians hadn’t gone the full seven innings, ten-run ruling every opponent. That narrative remained and it was apparent early that the possibility might become reality once more when the Indians struck for seven runs within the first three innings, leading to the 11-2 victory. It was truly more of Marion just out dueling ADM than anything else. Both teams had plenty of base runners and both squads ended up with seven runners left on base. For Marion, a team with 165 walks heading into the tournament, kept their patience up to the max as they drew nine walks to go along with six hits. Offensively the Indians showed the variety of ways they can beat you offensively but then turned around and showcased how they can shut down offenses on the mound. Junior Boede Rahe set the tone early setting down 10 of the first 12 batters he faced en route to a four strikeout performance that included just one run, one hit, and one walk allowed.
“We had our hitting going on for us and I was able to get my pitches off and get it done for our team,” said Rahe. “We knew ADM would hit the ball and I just had a good feel for my curveball and my fastball right behind it. It makes it so much easier to have offense like that to back you up.”
The game was headed towards Marions’ third straight ten-run rule of the postseason when the Tigers breathed late life into the contest and pushed across runs in the fourth and fifth innings. That fifth inning run came with the season on the line, two outs in the top half of fifth to force more innings.
“We knew ADM could hit and it was just a matter of staying the course and not letting things get off track,” continued Rahe.
Rahe and the rest of the three pitcher mix forced a hot Tiger offense to limited action despite several opportunities. ADM did have eight runners in scoring position but never connected on those opportunities. Meanwhile, the offense for Marion gave themselves 16 such opportunities, connecting with five hits in those such opportunities. Thanks in part to those nine walks drawn, Marion made some of those opportunities even easier as seven of the 16 chances with runners in scoring position came on third base and did so with less than two out.
Despite the late push by ADM, Marion has advanced to the semi-final round once more. While Rahe led the way on the mound, there were some solid performances put forth by University of Iowa commit Myles Davis and Jake Trca. Davis knocked in two hits with an RBI double while Trca’s day was even bitter. The junior connected on two hits and ended up driving in four of the 11 runs. He did so in a variety of ways that included the ever-rare hit-by-pitch RBI. He also made trips around the base baths every time up as he was never left on base.
With the victory, the Indians now improve to 35-6, their best record in over 15 years. Meanwhile for the Tigers, they end their season with a 12-18 mark after making the state tournament for the second time in three years with a losing record, third straight overall.
“These guys have a lot of heart and they know what it takes and how different the postseason can be,” said ADM head baseball coach Jason Book. “We have a lot of multi-sport athletes and we knew that to make a strong postseason push, we’d need to relax off our guys for the second half of the season and just keep finding ways to be positive in any situation that we faced.”
No one was perhaps more positive or inspirational than ADM senior Cole Williamson. After being diagnosed with cancer shortly after the 2020 state tournament, Williamson was unable to partake in may of his sporting events during his senior year. Williams vowed he’d be back on the field and a year removed from making the final out for ADM at the state tournament, he stepped back on the field in Iowa City for another tournament outing.
“I’ve had a lot going on this last year and baseball has been my escape from everything,” said Williamson. “I’ve been missing a lot of sports but baseball has always been there.”
For the Indians of Marion, they will now advance to Friday’s semi-final battle where they will take on Central DeWitt in the 24th battle against the Sabers since the 2009 campaign. Overall, it has been Central DeWitt to claim the edge, winning 15 of the 23 prior battles. Neither team played each other in the 2021 regular season due to weather. That game Friday will take place at Duane Banks Field with first pitch at 11 a.m.