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Indians take two from Blue Jays

By Joel Jellison

With a pair of big innings, the Manhattan High baseball team took a pair of games from its rival on Tuesday.

The Indians (13-3) defeated Junction City 11-4 and 11-6 in a doubleheader at Norvell Field in the last regularly scheduled home games this season.

The Indians play at Hayden on Friday and at Topeka High next Tuesday.

With Junction City ahead 1-0 and Derek Francis on the mound in Game 1, the Indians tied it up in the third with a Trey Francis single that scored Josh Klug.

The Blue Jays took the lead away in the fourth inning with two runs, but Manhattan came right back with three runs in the bottom of the inning to go ahead 4-3. Josh Mullin hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Jake Priddle, and then Taylor Hilgers singled in Chris Turner. Klug scored on a throwing error.

Brooks Lindsay singled in Derek Francis in the fifth inning to go up 5-3, and Junction City made it 5-4 in the sixth.

The Indians put the game away in the bottom of the sixth inning with six runs. Brooks DeBord singled in Fiser, Lindsay singled in Hilgers and Priddle doubled in Derek Francis and DeBord. Turner hit a sac fly to bring in Lindsay and Priddle scored on a wild pitch.

Game 2 also got interesting in the sixth inning, with the Indians scoring seven runs.

MHS coach Don Hess said those inings are nice, but the team is looking for more consistency.

“When you have that kind of inning, that obviously makes you feel good that you have that sense of urgency,” he said. “The only concern you have with that is you need to be able to turn it on earlier. You can’t wait until crunch time, you have to play consistent throughout the game.”

The Indians scored three runs in the first inning, first off a two-run double from DeBord and then an RBI single from Priddle.

Leading 3-1 in the fourth inning, the Indians added a run when Tyler Holen scored on an error by the second baseman. In the top of the sixth, the Blue Jays packed on two more runs to make it 4-3, and had the bases loaded with no outs before the Indians escaped.

“They had the bases loaded, down one run with no outs and our defense was good at that point with a force out and a double play,” Hess said. “Our defense responded, but some of those runners were errors or hit batters. We just have to figure some things out before the postseason and fix a few things.”

The Indians didn’t look back in the bottom of the inning, scoring first on an error by the first baseman on a bunt play that brought Bret Fehr home. Hilgers doubled to score Craig Berry. Hilgers scored on an error by the first baseman on a bunt play.

DeBord singled in Trey Francis and Josh Mullin scored on a third error by the first baseman in the inning. Turner singled in DeBord and Priddle to cap the scoring for the Indians.

Junction City would rope a home run down the left field line in the top of the seventh to score three runs, but got no closer.

The Indians pitched Trey Francis in game two, and he was replaced in the sixth inning with no outs and the bases loaded. Chris Klug came in and struggled with some of his command before helping the team out of the inning. Lindsay finished the game with the final out.

Hess said the pitching was OK in general.

“Our only concern tonight was I think we hit as many batters as we walked,” he said. “We didn’t make them earn the runs as hard as they needed to earn them. We put some base runners out there and we won’t be able to do that as we get closer to the postseason.”

The Indians recognized seniors Berry, DeBord, Fiser, Derek Francis, Trey Francis, Hilgers, Holen, Lindsay and Turner between the games, as it was their last home doubleheader.

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