The final score of Tuesday’s season opener wasn’t all that mattered to Steve Disbrow.
The Manhattan American Legion Manko senior 17ers’ coach is new to the program and unfamiliar with many of his players. And ahead of this weekend’s Tournament of Champions — beginning Thursday at Tointon Family Stadium — Disbrow needed to see his players in numerous positions and roles.
For that reason, Disbrow wasn’t too upset about the 17ers’ 11-1 loss to Kansas City Elite Navy in a run-rule shortened game at Norvell Field.
“It’s good to see the new guys play and we’ve got some guys in a little bit different role than maybe what they were doing this past spring,” he said. “It’s kind of a feeling out process at this point. Find out what we’ve got, where guys can best help the team, find their role and where the pieces fit and put every thing together.”
The 17ers used six different pitchers Tuesday, and only one player pitched more than an inning.
All but one of the six surrendered multiple runs, while they combined to allow 13 hits with seven walks.
“We knew pitching wise it was going to be a staff day,” Disbrow said. “We wanted to give as many guys as we could an opportunity to get on the mound and go from there. There were some positives to build on — it’s tough to see sometimes in an 11-1 ballgame — but there were positives and things to build on.
“We have to be better from a pitching standpoint. We can’t give them free bases. Way too many walks, way too many balls to the backstop and wild pitches that we just cant have.”
Jared Ayres started the game for the 17ers and allowed two runs before Jeremy Broadwater came on for two innings and allowed two runs in the third on a double and a single. Nathan Kordyak came on in the fourth and also allowed two runs.
The 17ers got their first hit in the fourth inning on a bloop single to right field from AJ Epperson.
Isaac Leon pitched a shutout inning for the 17ers in the fifth, before the 17ers scored their first run in the fifth.
After Ian Hart reached on an error, he advanced to second on a groundout and then scored on an errant throw to first base on a ball put in play by Darien Stokes. The 17ers got a double from Jake Olson in the sixth, but were held at bay the rest of the game, finishing with just three hits.
“Offensively, we’ve got a little work to do with our approach, but I thought we had some good at-bats,” Disbrow said. “We just need consistency. We’ll get there.”
Grant Munsen pitched the sixth inning for the 17ers and gave up two unearned runs. Eric Prockish finished the game in the top of the seventh and allowed three runs.
The 17ers will open play in the Tournament of Champions on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. against the Salina Falcons, followed by a 3:30 p.m. game against Great Bend. Manhattan will play Hays at 7 p.m. on Friday and St. Jo Post 11 at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The TOC championship game and third-place game will be Sunday.