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Junior 17ers drop a pair in Salina

By Brady Bauman

The American Legion Manhattan Manko junior 17ers opened Salina’s 23rd Annual Kansas Grand Slam Wood Bat Tournament Thursday with a pair of losses.

Manhattan suffered a close defeat early in the day against the Topeka Gorillas, 8-7, and lost again Thursday night to the Topeka Scrappers, 12-5.

The loss to the Scrappers got away from Manhattan late. Topeka scored seven runs in the top of the seventh. Before that, it was just a 5-2 advantage for the Scrappers.

“We played very well for a majority of the innings today,” 17ers coach Dan Rumsey said. “We got some quality starts from Jeremy Broadwater and Isaac Leon again today, but we couldn’t execute in key situations to get them their W’s.”

Broadwater started Game 1 on the mound for the 17ers and pitched five innings — giving up five runs to go with four strikeouts. Eric Prockish tossed the final two innings.

Offensively, Broadwater led the day there, too. He totaled three hits and three RBIs, while Leon and Ian Hart also drove in runs.

Leon earned the start against the Scrappers, tossing six innings — surrendered five runs with four strikeouts.

Offensively, Broadwater led the 17ers again with a three-run double.

“I was very proud of the way the offense executed their sacrifice bunts to near perfection today,” Rumsey said. “I told them going into the weekend that this would be a very important aspect of our offensive strategy during this tournament.”

The losses drop the 17ers to 6-14 this summer, but Rumsey isn’t letting the sour record deflate his team.

“We still haven’t played a complete seven innings at our highest level, and that has been what has kept is from winning the tight ball games,” he said. “Our record does not reflect the talent we have on this team, and we are continuously working to play better and better in preparation for the (upcoming) Legion Zone tournament (at the end of the summer).”

The 17ers were set to play again Friday at 1:30 against the Salina Eagles at Dean-Evans Stadium.

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