American Legion Manhattan Manko Senior 17ers’ coach Luke Snyder has been saying all summer long that his team is gradually improving.
And the results of the games are starting to speak for themselves.
Entering the KU Team Camp Showcase winless in eight tries in tournament play, the 17ers turned in four quality games and won two to bring their record to 4-10 on the summer.
The 17ers even concluded the tournament by beating a team in the FCA Knights, 3-1, after ending the KSU Team Camp Showcase last weekend with a 7-5 loss to the Knights.
Snyder said it was the right way to end the weekend.
“It was nice, 2-2 sounds a lot better than 1-3 and we just saw a lot of improvement all around,” he said. “In our game against the Oklahoma Grays, we had a bunt for a base hit that sparked a three-run inning in the fifth, and it was just the little things like that where we are doing a better job.”
The 17ers trailed early against the Knights, yielding an RBI single with two outs in the top of the first inning.
Manko tied the game in the second inning with a single from Dustan Whipple that brought Bret Fehr around from second base.
The 17ers took the lead in the third when Kellen Myers scored on an error, and made it 3-1 on a triple from Mike Leeper that scored Josh Klug.
Snyder said it was evident all weekend long that the team is gradually improving.
“We’re getting better, that’s the most important thing at this point in time,” he said. “Our pitchers were the big difference, every guy we put on the mound this weekend competed and we threw strikes.”
Andrew Leary started the game and pitched five innings, allowing one run on seven hits and striking out two.
The 17ers will hit the road for the Mid-America Classic Tournament this weekend in Wichita from Friday through Sunday, playing games at Wichita State and Lawrence Dumont.