17ers open Shootout with 4-2 victory

By Joel Jellison

After a lackluster start to Wednesday’s game in Kansas City, American Legion Manhattan Manko senior 17ers’ coach Steve Disbrow was hoping his team could pick up the pieces for the start of the Great Plains Shootout on Thursday.

The 17ers didn’t disappoint him either, beating the Wichita-based Midwest Sluggers 4-2 at Tointon Family Stadium.

It was a nice bounce-back win for the 17ers after losing 9-2 on the road Wednesday.

The 17ers were scheduled to play two games in Topeka today — a pair of games would determine the schedule for the rest of the weekend.

“We came out pretty flat (Wednesday),” he said. “We weren’t real focused and that was on me for not having us ready. We talked about that and to the guys credit they made that adjustment and were ready to go.

“After playing poorly for the first half of the game (Wednesday), it was nice to bounce back with a game you could get in rhythm with.”

The 17ers bounced back with timely hitting and quality pitching. Grant Munsen made the start for Manhattan and pitched a complete game, allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and a strikeout.

Munsen did the majority of his damage by making the Sluggers put the ball in play. Disbrow said that’s when he’s at his best.

“It starts on the mound with Grant,” he said. “He was outstanding, throwing all three pitches for strikes, he really commanded the zone, he’s got a lot of natural movement and when he’s moving the ball he’s going to get a ton of grond ball outs. He did a good job of forcing them to put the ball in play.”

The Sluggers scored a run in the top of the first on an RBI single, and added another with an RBI groundout in the second. Munsen held them scoreless the rest of the way.

Manhattan tied the game in the bottom of the second with two runs. Luke Stegeman drew a leadoff walk, and then Jake Olson hit an infield single before a sacrifice bunt moved both runners in scoring position. Munsen helped his cause with an RBI single, and then Whitney hit a sac fly to tie the game at 2.

The 17ers would take the lead in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single from AJ Epperson that brought Trace Nelson home.

Garrett Francis led off the sixth with a double and Olson had a bunt single to put runners on the corners. Isaac Leon hit into a fielder’s choice to score Francis and give the 17ers an insurance run.

“That’s a good team with a good arm,” Disbrow said. “It’s about finding ways to score a run. We were able to get down a couple bunts, and that was a big two-out hit by AJ in the fifth to get us a 3-2 lead.”

The 17ers piled together six hits a drew five walks, while backing up Munsen with no errors in the field. Disbrow said his team played a complete game.

“We were pretty good in all three phases really,” he said. “Pitching, defense and hitting — we even ran the bases well. It was good. We played really well.”

Juniors beat Rock Creek, 10-1

The junior 17ers run-ruled Rock Creek, 10-1, Thursday night in Junction City in the opening game of their weekend tournament at Rathert Stadium.

Manhattan scored four runs in the top of the first and never looked back, scoring at least a single run in every inning except the fifth while smacking 13 hits.

Rock Creek, on the other hand, mustered just four hits against the 17ers’ pitching staff, with Parker Beer earning the win on the mound in three innings of work.

Beer finished with six strikeouts and three walks while allowing one run (unearned). Dylan Newell finished out the game, pitching two scoreless innings.

Offensively, Chance Henderson led the way with a triple and a double and two RBIs, with Alex Fetters and Chase Hagemann each logging two-hit games. TJ Ladner had the other extra-base hit with a double. Beer and Newell each logged a pair of RBIs.

All but one of Manhattan’s players finished with a hit in the game, and everyone in the lineup was on base in the dominant effort.

The 17ers play the Topeka Scrappers today, with Emporia on the schedule for Saturday at 4:45 p.m. in Junction City. The team will wrap up play at Rathert on Sunday with a final bracket game.

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