It got about as strange as it could for the Manhattan High baseball team on Friday.
Trailing by three runs to Washburn Rural in the second game of a doubleheader, the umpires put the game into a “rain” delay for 41 minutes while Manhattan Parks and Recreation Department workers tried to get the outfield lights to work at Norvell Field.
With the team down 4-1 in the bottom of the second, it happened again. But the Indians piled on 12 runs in the sixth inning to win the game and sweep the Junior Blues by scores of 9-2 and 18-10.
The Junior Blues drew a bases-loaded walk, followed by a two-run single in the first inning, and then came out of the first light delay with an RBI single to go up 4-0.
Josh Mullin tripled in Taylor Hilgers with one out in the bottom of the second, but the lights went out and Mullin never advanced from third.
MHS coach Don Hess said that despite the two delays, his team never seemed too distracted.
“Our guys were pretty loose,” he said. “Most of the people in the ballpark were just like, ‘let’s get this over with and go home, we’ll play another day,’ but our players seemed to get perked up. They were excited to get back out there and they showed that.”
Washburn Rural added two more runs in the third inning, scoring on a wild pitch and an infield single. The Indians would tie the game the next two innings.
Brooks Lindsay hit a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield to bring home Jake Priddle, and then Chris Klug hit a single to bring in Derek Francis and Brooks DeBord, cutting the lead to 6-4.
In the fourth inning Priddle advanced home on a wild pitch and Lindsay smacked another deep ball to centerfield — also a sac fly — to bring in Francis.
Washburn Rural took the lead back in the sixth inning with an RBI double and a pair of run-scoring singles. Then the Indians took over.
Trey Francis scored on an error in rightfield, and Lindsay doubled to bring in Priddle and DeBord to tie the game at nine. TJ Giller drew a bases-loaded walk to take the lead at 10-9, and then Hilgers scored on an infield single.
Trey Francis was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and then Priddle drove in two runs with a double. Lindsay hit a three-run double and Hilgers scored an RBI double to make the score 18-9. The Junior Blues scored a run in the top of the seventh, but couldn’t cut too far into the lead.
Hess said 12-run innings just don’t happen very often, and for it to happen in a 9-6 deficit that late in the game was quite an accomplishment.
“It doesn’t happen very often,” he said. “The players were talking about getting one base runner at a time, and when they recognize that, the bats go a lot better.”
Klug, who came in relief of Trey Francis, ended up the game winner after holding the Junior Blues mostly at bay over the last three innings.
Hess said it was right up there with some of the crazier games he has been a part of.
“Somebody was standing on third base in that sixth inning and said it was a heck of a sixth inning, and it was,” Hess said. “We were down, again and again, and really it came down to two things: this is the first time all year we showed some fight, we actually figured out what it would take to be successful at this level, and we played competitive baseball.
“And the other thing was the terrific job Chris Klug did. He really powered out team.”
The Indians had few problems in the first game of the day, scoring four runs in the first and three in the fourth on the way to a 9-2 win.
Derek Francis doubled in Chris Turner and Lindsay scored Trey Francis with a sac fly, followed by a two-run double from Priddle in the first. Mullin scored on an error in the third.
DeBord singled in Derek Francis and Lindsay in the fourth, and Chad Fiser brought him in with a single. Hilgers doubled in Fiser in the sixth inning to give the Indians their ninth run.
MHS won’t play again until Friday. Hess said his team could probably use the rest after the series with the Junior Blues.
“After playing two doubleheaders the first week of the season, we need to rest some arms,” he said. “Hopefully, we can get everybody rested and back up to speed again.”
MHS 9, WASHBURN RURAL 2
Washburn Rural 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 — 2 5 3
Manhattan 4 0 1 3 0 1 X — 9 12 0
WP — Giller. LP — Harris.
MHS 18, WASHBURN RURAL 10
Washburn Rural 3 1 2 0 0 3 1 — 10 9 1
Manhattan 0 1 3 2 0 12 X — 18 11 3
WP — Klug. LP — Singer.