MHS baseball splits twin bill at Topeka West

By Joel Jellison

The Manhattan High baseball team took to the road on Thursday, splitting a doubleheader with Topeka West.

The Indians won the opening game of the series 15-0, before losing 8-7 in game two. MHS (8-2) will play at Seaman on Tuesday at Norvell Field.

Game one was highlighted by the pitching performance of Trey Francis, who went a complete game four innings and allowed two hits, while striking out four.

MHS coach Don Hess said Francis was in top form.

“It was definitely the Trey Francis that we’ve been looking for,” he said. “We had seen glimpses of it, and yesterday instead of being a position guy that pitched, he was a pitcher.”

Derek Francis was big at the plate, finishing with three hits and five RBIs, including a grand slam. Taylor Hilgers was 3-for-3 with four runs and two RBIs and Chris Turner and Josh Mullin each had a double.

“It seemed like once we had the lead — we scored three runs in the first and five in the second — we relaxed a little bit,” he said. “We were very comfortable at the plate the first game.”

The second game got away from the Indians a little bit, but they made a late comeback and nearly forced extra innings.

Topeka West scored seven runs in the second inning, but the Indians battled their way back to tie the game in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs.

Chad Fiser had one of his two hits in the seventh, and Josh Klug singled in a pinch-hit situation. Derek Francis singled home a pair of runs with two outs to knot the game up at 7. The Chargers scored the winning run in the bottom of the inning.

Ethan Fabrizius pitched the first 1 1/3 innings of the game before being chased in the second. Chris Klug pitched the final 5 2/3 innings.

Hess said Fabrizius got off to a rocky start, but knows he is a player with the potential to contribute to the team now.

“He is going to be a spectacular pitcher for us in the future,” he said. “He is going to have a tremendous career, and we have the utmost confidence in all of our sophomore pitchers, otherwise they wouldn’t be out there.”

Derek Francis had two hits and two RBIs, while Hilgers had two hits, an RBI and a double. Turner had a home run, and Hess said he nearly tied the game up in the seventh with a long ball.

“We did so many spectacular things in the second game, but we had a stretch where we hit about five popups in a row,” Hess said. “Obviously if you score three runs in the seventh to tie it, you are doing something right.”

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