Baseball ends long break with sweep

Jacob Clanton, Sports Editor

Breaks are usually good for any athlete, as they allow for recovery and rest. Long breaks in the middle of the season though, aren’t quite as good.

That was the problem Manhattan High (11-3) faced, as it played its first baseball game in 10 days against Topeka High (4-12) on Friday. The Indians ended their rain-caused break with an  11-5, 10-0 sweep of the Trojans.

“[The long break] gets you healthy,” head coach Don Hess said, “but yet it also stacks up a lot of games, a lot of innings in [a] one week period before we get to regional. It’s probably about that time you’d like to be on a regular routine playing like anybody else and that way everybody can kind of understand what [their] roles are going to be, and how they fit those roles, and when you have long layoffs, sometimes those things get a little distorted.”

The long break didn’t seem to affect MHS initially, as the Indians scored five runs in the first inning.

“We’ve spent a lot of time talking about … just being ready when the game starts because that’s been an area that we’ve been really weak at,” Hess said. “It was good [that] we threw up five runs, and then we just kind of sat on it, you know, and that’s not so good.”

Manhattan continued to put runs on the board, scoring four in the fourth inning. Senior Jake Steinbring got the runs flowing, hitting a one-out, two-RBI double, before eventually scoring himself.

The Indians weren’t the only ones scoring, as the Trojans scored three runs in the first inning off senior starting pitcher Nick Wohler. Topeka added two runs in the fourth off of junior Carson Marsh.

“I thought defensively we did some nice things,” Hess said, “but all in all, it looked like we hadn’t played in a week. I think we were a little bit rusty.”

Even so, Topeka would not score again. Steinbring threw two scoreless innings to end the game, helping Manhattan win 11-5.

MHS rotated through pitchers regularly, with no pitcher throwing more than three innings. By doing this, the Indians ensured everyone would be ready to throw by Monday, their next game.

“We want to make sure we had all of our pitchers available on Monday whether they throw a lot, or whether they throw at all on Monday,” Hess said. “We have six games next week, and we really have to be strict with how we use our guys.”

Pitching was the name of the game at the beginning of the second game. Junior Ethan Kaus threw a no-hitter for three innings, striking out four. The only runner Kaus allowed on base was on a walk.

Great pitching is nothing without run support, but that wasn’t a problem for Manhattan. The Indians scored six runs in the first three innings, and had two hitters with perfect nights at the plate: Junior Chase Brown and senior Chance Andrade.

“I think it just helped hitting before games and getting concentrated,” Brown said, “[and] just coaches helping me out with my swing.”

Much like the first game, pitching changed quite often. Juniors Talon Claussen and Denton Tajchman each pitched one inning, holding Topeka scoreless.

Due to a mix of hard hitting and shutout pitching, Manhattan run-ruled Topeka in five innings, scoring two runs in the fifth to push the lead to 10-0.

With the sweep, MHS can now focus fully on next week’s three doubleheaders.

“We just got to make sure we have everybody healthy,” Hess said. “There’s some illness going around, so we have to make sure we take care of ourselves and then just be ready to go. We’re chasing a regional host opportunity, and we have talked at length about making sure we put ourselves in good position, but we can’t fall on our faces and not see it through.”

The Indians will be hosting Hayden in their next appearance Monday, before turning around and hosting rival Junction City Tuesday on Senior Night. For MHS, concentration will be key.

“We just got to stay concentrated and keep our head on,” Brown said, “stay good on with the goal and just play well.”