The American Legion Manhattan Manko Senior 17ers recorded their first win of the season on Tuesday, defeating the Topeka Stars 9-7 at Norvell Field in Manhattan.
Manko (1-4) trailed 3-1 after five innings, but its offense erupted in the sixth inning, scoring six runs to take a 7-3 lead. The Stars responded with three runs in the top of the seventh to close the margin to one, but the 17ers countered with two runs in the bottom-half of the inning to take a 9-6 lead. Topeka added a run in the eighth but couldn’t muster enough offense to get over the hump.
Trey Schultz started Manko’s sixth-inning rally with a one-out single. Jesse Steinbring followed with a walk and then Alex Huerta was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Manko made the Stars pay with a trio of RBI singles. Caleb Gorman delivered a two-run single to even the game up at 3-all. Kellen Myers followed Gorman’s hit with a RBI single to give Manko the lead before Brett Fehr smacked another RBI single, scoring Gorman.
Topeka then walked Josh Klug, loading the bases. Tyler Holen followed with another walk, scoring Myers. Dustan Whipple popped up a pitch for the second out, but Schultz, who started the rally with a single, walked to force in another run to give Manhattan a 7-3 advantage.
Josh Klug was the only Manko player with more than one hit (2-for-3), while six other 17ers recorded hits in a balanced offensive effort.
The 17ers will look to build on Tuesday’s victory when they begin play in the Kansas State Team Camp on Thursday at Tointon Family Stadium. Manko will play Junction City at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday before taking on the Wichita Jets on Friday at 10 a.m. The 17ers will wrap up pool play against Mountain Vista High School (from Colorado) at 10 a.m. on Saturday before entering championship play on Sunday.