The American Legion Manhattan Manko junior 17ers split games against the Junction City Blues Tuesday night at the Eisenhower Baseball Complex.
Manhattan dropped the opener 6-5, but came back with a 5-1 victory in the nightcap.
“It’s probably the best I’ve seen us play back-to-back,” Manhattan head coach Dan Rumsey said. “It was a great job on defense, a great job on the mound and a decent job hitting. There were times we didn’t execute when we needed to to get pressured runs across, but like a said, we did a great job on defense to back our offense up.”
The 17ers led the Blues 5-3 going into the sixth inning in Game 1 but Junction City dropped three runs in the top of the inning and its one-run advantage would be challenged by Manhattan the rest of the way.
In game two, though, Manhattan found a way to keep the lead until the end.
An RBI single by Grant Urban scored Manhattan’s first run and the 17ers added another in the bottom of the second when Luke Stegeman stole home.
Manhattan was kept at bay in the third and fourth innings, but came back alive in the bottom of the fifth with a three-run effort.
The Blues managed to score a run in the top of the seventh and drew three walks from starting pitcher Nathan Kordyak in the inning, but Jeremy Broadwater came on in relief for the final two outs and kept Junction City from completing the rally.
Rumsey was proud of the way his pitchers performed despite high wind gusts that entered the contest halfway through.
“Kordyak did a great job tonight,” he said. “That’s the best pitching performance we’ve had all year and that’s what we’re looking to get out of him every single time he goes out. If he keeps doing that there’s no reason he can’t be the No. 2 or No. 1 person in our staff. As of right now he’s No. 3, but he threw very well tonight and I’m proud of him.
“We were going to give Nathan the benefit of the doubt to finish what he started, but he walked three guys at the end so we had to pull him out. We liked the match-up of Jeremy coming in and throwing a little bit harder than Nathan does, and he did a great job shutting the door on them.”
Kordyak tossed 6 1/3 innings and gave up one run on one hit with five walks and three strikeouts. Broadwater posted a hit and a strikeout in his two outs.
Offensively, Urban, Eric Prockish and Ian Hart led the way for Manhattan with two hits each. Urban had the 17ers’ lone double.
In Game 1, Jace Priddle got the starting nod on the mound for Manhattan. He threw four innings and allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and a strikeout. He was relieved by Prockish, who tossed the final three innings.
Prockish surrendered four runs on three hits with three walks and retired two batters.
Jake Olson led the Manhattan batters in game one. He was 2 for 4 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI.