Forfeit forces baseball split against Wichita East

Jacob Clanton, Sports Editor

Manhattan almost didn’t play Wichita East. After being postponed twice due to rain, the Indians fit the game in on the last day of the regular season. Though it was the end of the season, MHS didn’t have the game they wanted.

“You have the rules say, ‘[if you pitch] a certain amount of pitches, you have to sit out a certain amount of days before you can pitch again,’” senior Jake Steinbring said, “and we broke that rule. Obviously we didn’t know we did.”

Steinbring threw about 70 pitches against Junction City last Tuesday, and as a result, was unable to pitch until Saturday. However, no one on the team realized this, forcing Manhattan to forfeit the game.

Before the game was forfeited, Manhattan had a good game going. Junior Josh Bussmann pitched over five innings, giving up only six hits.

“I used a lot of off-speed pitches,” Bussmann said, “so it changed it up a lot. It worked well.”

MHS was also able to string together hits, giving Bussmann run support in his first Varsity start.

“I was a little nervous coming in,” Bussmann said, “because obviously I don’t want to mess up my first start so I can get some more time. [It was] pretty nerve-wracking, but I thought I did well for my first start.”

The forfeit gave Manhattan some firepower for the second game.

“We were all pretty much pissed off,” Steinbring said, “and came out with some fire and performed at a decent level.”

The Indians used that fire to go off offensively. Manhattan scored 17 runs on 15 hits, plating runners every inning.

“We were just trying to do what we’ve been doing all year long: hit the ball,” Steinbring said. “Luckily we got it done.”

Manhattan had efficent pitching too, with juniors Talon Claussen and Denton Tajchman combining for three runs on two hits in six innings of work.

“[The pitching] started off alright,” Steinbring said, “but I think we just did a good job of barreling it up and smacking [the ball] around a little bit.”

The Wichita East doubleheader was the third of the week for Manhattan. Even so, the Indians didn’t prepare differently than any other game.

“I don’t think it really impacted us,” Bussmann said. “Some of us might have been a little worn out by the third doubleheader of the week, but I’d say we were still up and ready to go. Our big wins against J.C., I bet that got us pretty hype for the games on Friday too.”

With the 17-3 MHS victory, the Indians clinched homefield advantage for regionals.

“I feel like being home and everything will give us a good advantage,” Bussmann said.

Though Manhattan has accomplished many goals, it knows it can accomplish more.

“It’s a long process of trying to get better and trying to get to where you want to be and perform, and get a chance at a state title,” Steinbring said. “I think we have a chance.”

Manhattan will begin its run at the state title by playing Gardner-Edgerton tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Tointon Family Stadium. For the Indians, focus will be key.

“You just got to play every game like it’s your last,” Steinbring said, “because it’s not always going to be there.”