The American Legion Manhattan Manko junior 17ers started its post-season with momentum, but faltered Tuesday night in its second game of the single-A Zone tournament in Marysville.
The 17ers opened the tournament with a dominating 11-2 win against Marysville on Monday, but lost 8-0 to Ozawkie last night.
Manhattan will face Marysville again tonight at 6, and if they repeat Monday’s performance, the 17ers will move on in the tournament with an 8 p.m. rematch against Ozawkie.
“A really tough way to lose (against Ozawkie),” 17ers head coach Dan Rumsey said. “Isaac Leon pitched very well, but the Ozawkie offense just seemed to find every hole in our defense in the fifth.”
The 17ers went into the fifth inning trailing 1-0, but Manhattan’s offense went down 1-2-3 in the top of the inning. Ozawkie, however, exploded offensively with a six-run outburst in the bottom of the frame.
Manko couldn’t recover from the blow.
“Our offense had a couple chances early to put runs on the board, but we could not execute when the situation called for it,” Rumsey said. “We are very close to being a great team. The only way we can break that barrier is if we beat the teams that give us the best competition.”
Leon started on the mound for the 17ers and tossed 4 1/3 innings before he was relieved by Nathan Kordyak. Leon gave up seven runs — five earned — on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
Jeremy Broadwater led the way offensively with a double to get one of the 17ers’ two hits for the game. Jake Olson had the other.
“We have to take the rest of our season one game at a time, starting (tonight) against Marysville,” he said. “We must win every game from here on out if we want to play in the state tournament and I do not see why this team can’t accomplish that task.”
17ERS 11, MARYSVILLE 2
The 17ers played one of their best games of the year Monday night in Marysville in the Zone tournament opener.
Manhattan began the postseason with an 11-2 win against Marysville.
“A very solid performance in every aspect of the game (Monday),” Rumsey said. “Jeremy Broadwater continues to do an exceptional job on the mound. He got out of some early trouble in the first and second innings and pretty much dominated the rest of the night.”
The contest was tied 2-2 going into the top of the third, but then momentum switched drastically in Manhattan’s favor.
The 17ers’ offense unleashed for seven runs in the top of the third alone. The Manhattan defense took comfort in the run-advantage the rest of the way by blanking Marysville from that point on. The 17ers added another run each in the fourth and fifth.
The game was called after the fifth.
“Our defense was solid behind him the whole night,” Rumsey said. “Darien Stokes made some great plays at shortstop that really helped keep Marysville from getting anything going.
“The offense as a whole did a phenomenal job at the plate. They all had great at bats, and capitalized on some Marysville mistakes to get a big inning in the third.”
Broadwater pitched all five innings and allowed no earned runs on three hits, with three walks and six strikeouts.
Grant Urban led the way at the plate for Manhattan, going 3 for 3 with three runs and a double.
“It was a great showing in the first game of the tournament,” Rumsey said.