Manko seniors come up short at home

By Grant Guggisberg

While his team ended up falling short in a 7-6 loss Tuesday night, America Legion Manhattan Manko senior 17ers coach Steve Disbrow was pleased with the fight in his team.

The 17ers battled against the Kansas City-based team The Yard at Norvell Field, answering each run with a rally of their own in the back-and-forth affair.

“They were able to scratch a couple across late, and we had done a good job of answering back up until that point, but it was just one of those deals,” Disbrow said. “It wasn’t anything we were really lacking, we just came out on the losing end of it.

“Of course there were things we could have done better or maybe been better at over the course of the game that would have made a difference, but our guys competed and it was a good effort. Every time they got on us, we jumped back.”

The Yard came up with just enough offense to get past the 17ers, scoring a run in the top of the eighth with a leadoff single that ultimately scored on a sacrifice fly to left.

Otherwise, Manhattan matched The Yard all night long, responding to a three-run top of the fourth inning with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame behind RBI singles by AJ Epperson and Alex Huerta.

Manhattan got three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-3 lead, getting a pair of two-out walks before Epperson smacked a fly ball to right field that wasn’t caught to score two. After another walk and a single, Trace Nelson drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home a third run.

The Yard came right back responding with three runs in the top of the sixth against reliever Grant Munsen, who struggled for the first time all year, allowing a pair of hits, a walk while the team committed an error behind him.

“Grant’s been throwing the ball great for us all summer,” Disbrow said. “That’s really the first time he’s had any type of a struggle this year, so he’ll be fine bouncing back.”

With runners on second and third and just one out, Manhattan turned to Jeremy Broadwater, who induced what appeared to be an inning-ending double play hit to third baseman Darien Stokes, who tagged the baserunner running from second to third before firing the throw to first to beat the runner.

But the umpires counted the run that scored ahead of the out at first, confusing Manhattan coaches who argued briefly before letting it go.

Disbrow admitted he wasn’t sure exactly what the rules are in the situation, but didn’t think the run should score if the hitter fails to reach first base on the play.

“It was one of those deals, where it seems kind of weird,” he said. “It seems like it shouldn’t count, because he didn’t reach first safely. If he’d have been out at first and then we would have tagged the other guy, then it would have counted. But since it was two and then three, I don’t know why that run would have counted.

“But I wasn’t confident enough in my knowledge of that play to really press it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a play like that.”

The confusion proved to be a factor in the outcome, as the 17ers would go on to lose, 7-6, in what would have been a tie game.

Broadwater was the tough-luck loser, allowing a single run over 3 2/3 innings of four-hit ball, while The Yard’s Alex Brough earned the win on the mound, pitching four innings of relief, allowing four runs on five hits.

Disbrow said he was pleased with the effort of his pitchers.

“Jeremy was good, and Isaac did a really nice job,” he said. “Jeremy was filling up the strike zone, throwing his changeup for strikes, the only time he found trouble was when he lost the feel for that pitch. But our pitchers were great, they gave us a shot to get the win, we just couldn’t quite get the runs across.”

Manhattan stays in town for the weekend to play in the KSU Showcase, with game times still yet to be determined.

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