GREAT BEND, Kan. The Elkhart Wildcats defeated the Marion Warriors with a walk-off run to win the KSHSAA Class 2-1A State Baseball Championship.
Elkhart scored 14 runs to Humboldt's 3 to advance to the Championship game. Marion used a seven-run second inning to win over Rossville and make the ultimate game of the day.
The weather remained a concern throughout the day. The threat of storms caused a desire to finish the tournament in one day. The first game of the day started thirty minutes earlier than scheduled. Games would also follow twenty-five minutes after the prior one instead of their scheduled time.
The one-seeded Elkhart Wildcats entered the contest with a perfect 21-0 record. Marion earned the two seed and only recorded one loss in their 20-1 record.
While the two teams combined for twenty-three runs in the semifinals, the championship game saw far less scoring.
Elkhart did not allow a Marion baserunner until the third inning. The Wildcats stranded three base runners through the third inning.
In the fourth inning, Lance Addington grounded out to the shortstop. His hit gave Kalub Lee enough time to cross home and take a 1 to 0 lead.
Marion roared back in the top of the sixth inning. Evann Heidebrecht singled to center field. Next Sam Zinn hit a short grounder that pitcher Garrett Hall miss-fielded and earned an error on the play.
Luke Lanning stepped into the box and hit a double to left field. Heidebrecht and Zinn scored to take the lead from Elkhart.
Elkhart responded in the bottom of the sixth by tying up the game at two runs. Jaxon Hastings made it home thanks to a double by Lance Addington.
Marion's Seth Lanning hit a two-out single to get on base in the top of the seventh. Eli Hett would strike out to end the inning and strand Lanning.
Sam Zinn gave up two consecutive singles and then a bunt single to load the bases with Elkhart Wildcats in the bottom of the seventh. With the next batter in the box, Zinn threw a pitch that got past catcher Hunter Helmer.
Elkhart's Elian Prieto dashed to home from third and secured the walk-off victory.
The Wildcats captured a State Baseball Championship for the first time since 2002. They also finished the year with a perfect 22-0 record.
Marion's Sam Zinn finished the complete game with 93 pitches. He gave up three runs, two earned, on seven hits. He struck out nine batters while walking two and hitting one.
Elkhart's Garrett Hall won the game throwing 87 pitches through seven innings. He surrendered two runs, both earned, on three hits. He walked two batters but struck out twelve.
Marion finishes the season with a 20-2 record.