The Manhattan American Legion Manko senior 17ers opened postseason play today in the Class AAA Zone tournament in Salina.
The 17ers played Junction City at 2 p.m., and a win would match Manhattan up against Newton at 8 p.m.
All games are being played at Dean Evans Field. The other teams in the tournament include the Salina Falcons and Buhler Blue.
“It’s win or go home,” Manhattan coach Steve Disbrow said Monday morning. “It’s obviously double-elimination, but we’re attacking it as the most important game we’ve played all year (is the next one). That’s been our approach all summer really.
“It’s a long summer and a nine-inning game is kind of a microcosm of that. You can’t waste opportunities, but at the same time we just have to be focused on ourselves and winning each inning.”
The top two teams from each of the four AAA Zone locations will advance to the state tournament next week in Pittsburg. Manhattan will be seeking to advance to its first state tournament under Disbrow, after former coach Luke Snyder moved down to take over the junior team.
The 17ers are coming off a 16-15 win over a Salina Falcons team they could meet again during this week’s Zone. Prior to that, the 17ers finished the Great Plains Shootout with a 4-1 record. Manhattan is 11-5 in its last 16 games.
“The biggest thing for us is to not do anything different then we have the last few weeks,” Disbrow said. “We’ve been playing really well and we don’t want to change anything we’ve been doing or how we’ve been doing it.
“It’s just about playing all 27 outs and making sure we can be as consistent as we can be.”
The junior 17ers will open play in the Class A state tournament on Wednesday against Doniphan County in Leavenworth.
Manhattan previously won the Marysville Zone tournament last week, sweeping through the field to secure a spot in this week’s state tourney.
Winning an American Legion state tournament automatically qualifies a team to compete in its regional tournament, with the chance of advancing the national tournament.