Manhattan split with JC in first home doubleheader of the season

Kris Long, Staff Writer

Manhattan High baseball came into their second double header of the season April 2, against their Junction City rivals, with their confidence boosted from earlier wins against Hayden, 10-1 and 11-9. However, JC won the first game, 10-6, but Manhattan came back to win the second 3-2.

Things did not get off to a good start. In the top of the first inning Manhattan gave up five runs and struggled to keep up for the remainder of the first game. For the first and second innings, Manhattan continued to be competitive, scoring three in each and almost closing the gap with the score being 6-7 at the end of the second. However, Manhattan gave up two more runs in the third, and one in the fifth and sixth. They struggled to get runners on base after the third inning and no runs were scored after that.

“[During] the first game we had too many errors,” head coach Don Hess said. “We just didn’t respond in some situations as well as I hoped for, but … we did we did keep fighting. We were trying to be competitive even if things weren’t going our way.”

Despite the loss, Manhattan went into the second game confidently.

“We were really fired up because they’re our rivals and we really … couldn’t … let them sweep us,” junior Aidan Proctor said. “We came out with a certain fight.”

The second game started more slowly. Manhattan took the lead against the Blue Jays in the bottom of the second inning with senior Zac Cox and Hoover scoring. Freshman Braden Dinkle brought them up 3-0 in the sixth.

Despite the lead Manhattan had to fight to stay in the game. In the bottom of the fourth JC had the bases loaded with one out. The JC player hit junior Tyce Hoover’s pitch. Proctor made a diving catch and threw to Cox who completed the double play getting Manhattan out of the inning with no runs scored against them.

A similar situation arose in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and zero outs. JC had already scored one earlier in the inning, meaning a grand slam would put Manhattan behind. Cox, who was brought on to pitch at the beginning of the seventh, had the JC batter at a full count and after a few fouls walked him, giving JC a second run. The crowd held its breath as Cox started the next at bat. Cox struck him out after four pitches. The next batter walked up to the plate. Cox again pitched a full count and on the sixth pitch struck the JC player out, winning the game for Manhattan.

“First game we … lacked some intensity [but] we responded well the second game and I was proud of our effort,” Hoover said.  “[We were] able to fight and come out with a victory.”

The team plays the Topeka High Trojans (0-2) at Topeka on Friday.