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MHS baseball wins two at Emporia

By Grant Guggisberg

While the Manhattan High softball team ended up postponing its doubleheader against Emporia, the baseball team completed its double header on Friday evening, sweeping the Spartans in a pair of games at Soden’s Field.

The Indians won 4-1 in the opener, before rallying in the seventh inning to win 4-3 in the nightcap.

In the first game, starter Henry de Noble earned the victory by pitching a complete game through the tough weather conditions, as Manhattan got two insurance runs in the seventh inning to turn a one-run lead into a 4-1 victory.

“He didn’t have his best stuff, it was kind of hard to get his grip on his breaking ball, but he threw very well for us under the conditions,” Manhattan coach Don Hess said. “Really, we had no business playing. It was a swamp, and it wasn’t anywhere close to being ready.”

Despite the weather issues, Manhattan got the go-ahead run in the seventh inning to break open a 3-3 tie and win the nightcap, 4-3. Manhattan’s Josh Klug provided what would prove to be the game-winning hit after a leadoff hit and a sacrifice bunt.

“A total team effort, everybody contributed something,” Hess said. “We had to come from behind, which is something we’ve been wanting to see how we’d do.”

Manhattan was forced to rally from a 3-0 deficit in the second game after the Spartans scored two runs in the first inning and one run in the third. The Indians got a pair of runs in the fourth and another run in the fifth to tie the score before taking the lead late.

“Hittting wise, it was basically the Josh Klug show,” Hess said. “We had seven hits, and he had four of them. He had four singles and two RBIs.”

In the second game, Manhattan’s Michael Leeper came on in relief and pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the win.

“He was absolutely rock solid the whole way,” Hess said. “He did a great job in the time we needed it, because in those conditions, we didn’t want to fall behind too far. He came in and got us out of an inning, then pitched very well the rest of the time.”

In the opener, Bret Fehr had a pair of doubles to pace the Manhattan offense, while Chris and Josh Klug each had doubles.

“We had five different guys with hits,” Hess said. “We put the ball in play and we hit it hard, but there were some other things. We lined out into a double play in the first inning, then we hit some balls hard, just like at them.

“We played well enough to get the job done.”

Hess said the weather, which was less than ideal, was minimized by the turf at Emporia.

“It didn’t impact the game as much as you thought it would, in terms of miserable playing conditions,” he said. “We had standing water on the sides of the field, but it was just a cold, miserable night.

“Every ball that hit the ground was wet. We air-mailed a throw in the second inning in the first game, then after that, everybody figured out how to throw a wet ball a little bit.”

Hess said postponing the game was possible, but after the Indians made the trip to Emporia, was not ideal.

“It’s only our fifth doubleheader, so either team probably had much wiggle room in terms of a makeup date, but we were already down there, so everybody just decided to give it our best,” Hess said. “Emporia played very well, though, that was the most fundamental I’ve seen an Emporia team in a long time. They sure didn’t make anything easy on us.”

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