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Indians swept by Topeka in home finale

By Joel Jellison

It seemed hard for the Manhattan High softball team to even get a hit on Tuesday.

The Indians had seven hits in the first game, but they came too late. And they had three hits in Game 2, but it wasn’t enough to score runs.

In their final home game of the season, the Indians were swept by Topeka High, 8-4 and 11-0.

MHS (10-10) coach Scott Mall said the team now has to focus on regionals next week, which will be played in either Topeka or Olathe.

“Our girls play good enough ball, if we can get back to where we were and make big plays at the right time, all we have to do is win two games,” he said.

Both of the games against the Trojans at Anneberg Park featured big innings that made the game spiral out of grasp for the Indians.

Game 1 opened with five runs from Topeka, and by the time the Indians scored a run, they were already trailing 7-0.

The Trojans piled on seven runs in the third inning of Game 2 to take a 10-0 lead.

Mall said they felt responsible for allowing the games to get that way by committing a number of errors. The Indians had nine total errors in the doubleheader.

“We’ve been a really good defensive team, but we made more errors in the infield than we have in a four or six game stretch this season,” he said. “The last four games have come down to one big inning for the other team and we have struggled to come from behind.”

Mall said the games really came down to the slow offensive starts. The Indians had a four run fourth in Game 1, but couldn’t capitalize any further.

“We got off to such a slow start really in both games,” he said. “It seems like the first three innings of the first game we just didn’t have that aggressiveness that we’ve had so many times. And part of it was their pitcher, she does a good job of keeping you off balance.”

Despite having just three hits in Game 2, the Indians did have a number of base runners, including runners at second and third in the first and the bases loaded in the fourth. But they just couldn’t get a run to come across.

“In the second game, when we get beat like that, it looks funny, but we had runners on second and third early with one out and we just couldn’t come up with a hit,” Mall said. “You never know if you get off to a good start right there, you get confidence and maybe it goes different.”

The Indians celebrated the careers of five players on Tuesday, including seniors Cat Bridegam, Ashley Hageman and Blake Woborny, along with underclassmen Kaitlyn Motley and Jessica Trundle.

Mall said they were a great class that all offered the team something different.

“It was a really, really good group,” he said. “Kat Bridegam has done a great job and improved herself and led this team from preseason on, Blake Wobrony has been a real key player for us and Ashley Hageman stepped up and played well at third base.

“And you have the underclassmen, Motley has the RBI record in under three full years. You wonder what she would do with another, her career batting average is close to .400 in three years and almost .500 this year. And Jessica Trundle, who has been willing to do anything on JV, it’s always hard to lose good girls.”

Mall said he believed the Indians would draw a No. 4 or No. 5 seed next week starting on Tuesday at the earliest. Their likely opponent at this point would be Lawrence Free State.

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