Luke Snyder saw his team get shut out for a second straight day on Saturday as Mountain Vista defeated the American Legion Manhattan Manko Senior 17ers 8-0 at the Kansas State University Team Camp. And although there was nothing to show for it on the scoreboard, Snyder was encouraged by the way his guys swung the bat.
“I’m starting to see some good things at the plate,” he said. “We’re getting more competitive each game, we’re putting better swings on the baseball. We just need some of those two-out hits with runners in scoring position. That’s our biggest part right now. We’re able to get guys on, we’re moving guys around every now and then but we’re just not driving them in.”
Manko trailed 8-0 after just two innings on Saturday. Starting pitcher Jesse Steinbring issued three walks in the first inning and Mountain Vista made him pay with a three-run triple. Steinbring got out of the inning without any more damage done, but he couldn’t escape the trouble that happened in the second frame. A leadoff walk, followed by a RBI triple and a RBI double, gave Mountain Vista a 5-0 advantage, ending Steinbring’s day on the mound.
Mountain Vista added three more runs in the inning on three singles off of right-hander Chris Klug. But the 17ers bullpen was strong the rest of the way, holding their opponent scoreless over the next four innings, something Snyder was happy with.
“They threw strikes and we made plays on defense behind them,” he said. “That’s the key. You have to make the other team beat you and walks and hit batters don’t do that.”
Following Thursday’s 6-1 loss to Junction City, Snyder said his pitchers needed to cut down on walks and hit batters, which the relievers accomplished on Saturday.
“At this level, unless you can throw 90 miles-per-hour, location beats velocity,” Snyder said. “We had some guys come out of the pen and they proved that. We weren’t throwing the ball real hard but we were hitting our spots. We were throwing off-speed pitches for strikes and we did some good things. You have to be able to locate. You give free passes then it’s going to come back and get you.”
Saturday’s loss, which marked the third time the 17ers have been shut out this season, pushed Manko’s record to 1-7 on the year. But Snyder saw some positives from a lot of his guys in a losing effort.
“We’re starting to see some good things,” he said. “It may not all be there yet but we’re getting there and moving in the right direction.”