After losing a mid-week game last week and taking the weekend off, the American Legion Manhattan Manko senior 17ers were ready to get back to the busy schedule typically associated with summer baseball.
They traveled to Topeka for a game against The Yard out of Lee’s Summit, Mo., winning 9-1 in a game that was never close.
The 17ers travel to Oklahoma City this weekend for a full-slate of games against quality competition.
Against The Yard, Manhattan had a pair of big innings, while getting solid pitching performances from four different guys, allowing only one unearned run over nine innings of baseball.
“It started off with a big pitching performance by Ethan Fabrizius, followed by Chris Klug, Evan Olson and Conner Brown,” Manhattan coach Luke Snyder said. “So we had four guys throw, and all four were around the strike zone and threw pretty well.”
In the second inning, Manhattan plated four runs on three hits. Grant Herpich hit an RBI single to give the 17ers the lead, with Kellen Myers hitting a two-RBI single and Dustan Whipple scoring on a passed ball.
The 17ers added to their lead in the next three innings, getting single runs in the third and fourth before adding three runs in the fifth to lead 9-0.
In the fifth, Alex Huerta and Herpich each reached base on a hit by pitches. Josh Klug hit an RBI single to score one and Josh Mullin came up with a two-run single a batter later to give the 17ers a big lead.
“We had two crooked innings, where we put up a four-spot and a three-spot, and then we had a couple innings where we managed to scratch across a run,” Snyder said. “That’s what I want — I want us to be a threat every single inning to score. If we put pressure on the defense every single inning, eventually, you find a four-run inning or a three-run inning.”
The Yard scored its only run after a dropped third strike and an error allowed an out to turn into a baserunner on second. A double allowed the unearned run to score before Brown ended the game on a strikeout.
Manhattan (5-4) took five free bases on hit batters, as The Yard’s pitching staff struggled with control and the 17ers continued to stand their ground.
“Our guys understand their job is to reach base, and they’re not a group of guys that are going to jump out of the way of a pitch,” Snyder said. “They’re going to stand their ground and get on first base anyway they can.”
Fabrizius (3-1) earned the win with four innings of work, while the rest of the staff worked two innings or less to ensure they can pitch this weekend. With a full seven days off, several pitchers threw bullpens in practice to stay sharp.
“We have some pretty good arms on our team,” Snyder said. “We’re fairly deep in pitching. I want to make sure everybody stays sharp and gets some work, and stay rested for the weekend.”