The Hays Eagles proved to be a formidable opponent on Thursday, as the American Legion Manko Senior 17ers opened the Tournament of Champions with a 9-0 loss at Tointon Family Stadium.
The Eagles opened the game with four runs in the top of the first, scoring one run on an error and then hitting an RBI single. Hays made it 4-0 with a two-run triple.
The 17ers didn’t get their first base runner until Jesse Steinbring drew a leadoff walk in the third inning. But he would end up being thrown out at third on a 5-3-5 double play.
Jonah Webber was hit by a pitch with one out in the fourth inning, and then Josh Klug drew a walk to put runners on first and second. But again, the inning ended on a double play, this time of the 5-3 variety.
The Eagles added another run in the fifth inning with a deep fly to left field that brought a run home from first and put the batter at second base with a double.
Hays scored a run in the top of the fifth on a bases loaded fielder’s choice to go ahead 6-0.
Trey Schultz broke up Hays pitcher Austin Unrein’s no-hit bid in the sixth inning with a leadoff infield single. The 17ers couldn’t move a runner past second base.
The Eagles added three runs in the seventh innings, scoring on an infield single and a passed ball, and finishing with a bloop single to centerfield that brought in another.
It was a tough start to the tournament for the 17ers, who faced a team that is coming off a 20-3 high school season and had the majority of that roster in its summer program.
But Manko coach Luke Snyder said they have to face teams like that to improve.
“We came here to play competitive baseball,” he said. “We had some guys who saw some velocity they hadn’t seen before and some off-speed they hadn’t seen before, but we’re only going to get better.”
The 17ers finished the game with just one hit, but Snyder said they did get some good swings and ran the bases well when they got on.
“We put it in play and put a couple good swings on pitches, we just didn’t find any holes or spots in the grass,” he said. “Our guys are going to just keep getting better.”
Ethan Fabrizius started the game for the 17ers and struggled early allowing four runs in the first, but settled down after that with three straight scoreless innings after.
“Once he settled down and found his fastball and some off-speed pitches, he pitched a little bit better,” he said. “He is going to be a guy we rely on a lot this summer.”
The 17ers were in action for a pair of games today, playing Kansas Crush and St. Joe Post 11 at 2:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
HAYS 9, MANKO 0
Hays 4 0 0 0 1 1 3 — 9
Manko 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0
WP - Unrein. LP - Fabrizius.