The Manhattan High baseball team looked like it was shaking off more than a week’s worth of rust on Friday, struggling in a 2-0, 6-5 sweep at Emporia.
The first game was highlighted by the complete game pitching performance from junior TJ Giller, who allowed three hits and one walk, while recording seven strikeouts.
MHS coach Don Hess said Giller was one of the few good things in the 2-0 win.
“TJ was extremely impressive, he took to the mound and it looked like the guy had been doing it for a long time,” he said. “He was totally in control and that was good because our bats were very silent. He stepped up and deserved to win.”
The Indians scored a run in the first inning after Taylor Hilgers walked, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and came home on a Brooks DeBord single. Trey Francis scored on a passed ball in the third.
“We just showed up just not ready to hit,” Hess said. “Our first 10 outs were fly ball outs, so we didn’t even hit a groundball for over three innings. Our approach wasn’t good and we just didn’t get off the bus ready to hit.
“We had other opportunities, but we didn’t run the bases as well as we needed to and gave up a couple of outs because of that.”
The second game didn’t get off to as good a start on the mound, where Francis struggled with control early. Sophomores Chris Klug and Jacob Biller came in relief and helped the Indians hang on in the end.
“(Chris) really stabilized the game for us and made them earn their base runners,” Hess said. “To have two sophomores step up like that is a real bonus for us.”
Emporia loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning, with the go-ahead run at second base. But they lined out to right field to end the game.
Francis, Hilgers and Josh Klug each had two hits and an RBI, while Jake Priddle had two hits, a double and an RBI.
Hess said the bats were better in game two, but they still couldn’t put runs together.
“I think we ended up with 12 hits, we just weren’t able to get a bunch of stuff at the plate, and we didn’t score a lot of runs,” he said. “We did a lot better job, but we weren’t able to get all the hits at the same time.”
The Indians will come home on Tuesday for a doubleheader with Highland Park at Norvell Field.