Playing in the first day of the Washburn University Showcase, the American Legion Manhattan Manko senior 17ers split a pair of pool-play games Thursday afternoon in Topeka at Washburn’s Falley Field.
Manhattan lost to the KC Blaze 7-3 in their opener before taking a game against Home Plate Baseball 4-2 in the second game.
The 17ers fell behind quickly in the opener against the Blaze, allowing four earned runs in the top of the second to chase starter Isaac Leon and bring on Nathan Kordyak, who finished out the game in relief, pitching 5 2/3 innings and allowing three runs - none earned - on four hits with one strikeout and three walks.
Offensively, Manhattan responded in the bottom of the second, scoring a pair of runs and adding another single run in the third inning to cut the lead to one run, but defensive mistakes caught up with the 17ers, which allowed an unearned run in the fourth inning and two more in the top of the sixth.
Trace Nelson had the biggest hit of the game, a two-RBI double in the second inning. Otherwise, Manhattan had just five additional hits - all singles - and couldn’t scratch across more than a single run the rest of the way.
In Game 2, the 17ers struck quickly against Home Plate Baseball, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning to take the early lead.
Starter Jared Ayres allowed two runs in the bottom of the first to trim the Manhattan lead, but was solid the rest of the way, pitching six scoreless innings and holding Home Plate to just three hits all afternoon while striking out five and walking a pair.
Outside of the three-run first inning, Manhattan struggled to get much offense going in the win, adding a single insurance run in the top of the seventh to give Ayres some breathing room.
The 17ers finished with five hits, with Garrett Francis and Jake Olson each finishing with two-hit games and an RBI apiece. AJ Epperson had the other hit for Manhattan.
The 17ers take today off before resuming play in Topeka on Saturday.