The American Legion Manhattan Manko junior 17ers ended their season Wednesday night in Marysville in the American Legion Single-A Zone tournament, but went down fighting.
Manhattan defeated Marysville 7-3 earlier in the day to keep its hopes alive for a state tournament berth, but fell to Ozawkie, 9-1. The loss ended Manhattan’s season.
“This was a tough way to end the year,” 17ers head coach Dan Rumsey said. “I am very proud of my guys for the way they battled tonight. The great thing about this team is the fact that they continued to have the same attitude day in and day out, no matter the circumstance.”
In the victory against Marysville, the 17ers built a 2-0 lead going into the fourth inning before Marysville rebounded with a three-run frame in the top of the inning. Manhattan responded and tied the contest in the bottom of the inning. Manhattan stepped on the gas after that and scored two runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to keep Marysville at arm’s length.
Jace Priddle tossed a complete game for the 17ers and gave up just three runs on three hits with four walks and six strikeouts.
Priddle also helped his own cause offensively, going 2 for 4 with three RBIs. Teammates Isaac Leon and Jeremy Broadwater also added two hits each and scored two runs each. Priddle connected on two doubles, while Broadwater and Ian Hart each had one.
“Jace Priddle threw the best game of his summer in Game 1,” Rumsey said. “He stayed composed throughout the game and had to deal with a tough strike zone, as well as a very determined Marysville team.
“We didn’t dominate in Game 1, but we did enough to get the win and advance.”
Against Ozawkie in the night game, Manhattan tied the game 1-1 going into the third inning, but the offense was stifled from that point on and Ozawkie took the lead in the bottom of the inning after scoring three more runs.
The 17ers offense couldn’t find momentum after that, and Ozawkie added plenty of insurance in the fifth and sixth innings to win 9-1. There was no seventh inning.
“Ozawkie, in my opinion, is more of a select ball club than a true legion team,” Rumsey said. “They had a stout offense that consisted of very tough outs from top to bottom.
“Nathan Kordyak once again threw very well and kept us in the ball game for a majority of the game. But, we failed to capitalize on our opportunities when we had runners in scoring position, and our hard hit baseballs seemed to find gloves instead of holes.”
Kordyak gave up eight runs on seven hits with four walks and two strikeouts. Eric Prockish pitched the last two outs of the sixth.
Offensively, Leon led the way with a double. Olson had a hit with an RBI, while Luke Stegeman and Darien Stokes provided the other two hits for the 17ers.
“Overall I am very proud of these guys for what they accomplished this summer,” Rumsey said in reflection of his team’s 9-20 season. “The success of this summer should not be judged solely on the wins and losses this team has accumulated. Instead, their success should be judged on whether or not each player got better in some facet of his game, and I firmly believe that every single one of them did improve.
“It was an honor for (assistant) coach (Dillon) Mack and I to be able to interact with such a great group of guys day in and day out. We want to thank both our players and their parents for a great summer and for allowing us to be a part of the careers of these young men.”