Through the first two innings of Tuesday’s game against the Kansas City Bullets, things were OK for the American Legion Manhattan Manko senior 17ers.
Through the first two innings, the 17ers trailed 3-2, but the game unfolded as the Bullets scored 16 runs in two innings to put the game away, 19-2, in a wood-bat game at Norvell Field.
Manhattan coach Luke Snyder said his team didn’t seem to carry on its momentum from this past weekend, when it went 3-1 at the KU Team Camp Showcase.
“What I keep thinking about is, we played really good baseball last weekend — I felt like we took a step forward,” he said. “We came out here, and I feel like we’ve taken two steps back, the big innings, that’s just between the ears, we can’t let mistakes pile up.”
The 17ers scored their only runs in the bottom of the first inning, with Josh Klug driving in Kellen Myers with a double and Josh Mullin scoring Klug on a sac fly.
Snyder said the team didn’t pitch well, leading to troubles in the field. Although the 17ers committed just two errors, the Bullets were able to take advantage of poorly played balls on infield singles.
“Even though our pitching wasn’t strong, we’re capable,” Snyder said. “We have good arms, you can’t convince me that we don’t, we just have to be tougher. When something doesn’t go right, you have to be tough enough to get the ball, stay focused and make the next pitch. I think we get frustrated and don’t hit spots.”
Snyder said it was also disappointing to allow a team to have so many base runners and hits in a wood-bat game.
“Wood bats, you have to make them earn it,” he said. “Extra base hits are few and far between with the wood bats, so if your pitcher can be consistently in the zone and get ahead of hitters, then you’re successful. We made it tough on our defense.”
The 17ers will travel to the Missouri Western Team Camp this weekend, playing doubleheaders on Friday and Sunday. Next weekend, the 17ers will take part in a wood-bat tournament played between Topeka and Manhattan.
Snyder said his team is ready to get going again after Tuesday’s loss.
“I’m not sure which team will show up,” he said. “We’ve shown that we can compete, and we’ve also folded. We just have to get back on the field and gain some confidence back. We got whooped. We just have to get some confidence and play our game.”