Baseball opens season with sweep

Jacob Clanton, Print Editor-in-Chief

In baseball, the name of the game is pitching.

“In the game of baseball,” head coach Don Hess said, “it’s who you have on the mound, and Carson [Marsh, senior] was lights-out the first game, and he gave us a lot of strikes. Second game, we struggled, we walked the leadoff guy inning after inning after inning, and then it put pressure on the defense, so it was a learning experience.”

The Indians benefited from stellar pitching in their home opener, beating Topeka West 11-0 in five innings. The second game would be more of a struggle, but MHS would hold on, beating the Chargers 7-5.

It didn’t take long for Manhattan to get going. With two outs in the first, junior Zac Cox smacked a double, beginning a four-run rally. The Indians would add four more in the second, jumping out to an early 8-0 lead.

Topeka West couldn’t do anything offensively. Marsh threw 4.67 scoreless innings for Manhattan, allowing only one hit.

“I came out confident,” Marsh said. “I was a little nervous, just because it was the first game, didn’t matter who it was, but I was confident, I threw strikes [and] my slider was working.”

Marsh benefited from Manhattan’s great offensive start.

“It’s a lot easier [when you have the lead],” Marsh said. “You can go up there and just relax and throw. Sometimes it feels like you’re trying to aim and all this other stuff, but when you got that lead, you can go up there and just throw strikes, I mean, there’s not a lot of pressure.”

It took Manhattan a while to close the game, but it finally did in the fifth, with junior Ben Gallagher hitting a walk-off single. His hit drove in two, giving MHS the run-rule win.

The second game would prove tougher for the Indians. Unlike Marsh in the first game, senior Talon Claussen could never find a rhythm on the mound, going for just two innings and giving up three runs. Senior Denton Tajchman entered in relief in the third, but only lasted one inning, giving up two more runs.

Offensively, Manhattan got guys on base, but couldn’t score them. The Indians stranded nine baserunners throughout the game.

There were bright spots though. Senior Thomas Gevock was on fire, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and a walk.

“I thought he hit the ball really well,” Hess said. “One thing that we’re always going to get from Tom is great effort, and he’s hit the ball really well this spring through all of our practices, and we just know that Tom, he’s going to dig in and give you everything he has, and so I’m real proud of him.”

Pitching wise, MHS finally found some stability in the fourth with Cox coming in. He would finish the game, giving up no runs on two hits.

“Our plan was to have him throw two,” Hess said. “I looked at him before the seventh inning, and I told somebody to go get loose, and Zac wasn’t very happy with that, and so we told him we were just going to have to play it by ear, and then we decided during the inning that probably it was going to be his, win or lose.”

Cox held off the Chargers, helping Manhattan secure the 7-5 victory.

The Indians return to action on Monday, hosting Wichita East. Although it lost a lot of seniors from last year’s’ state runners-up team, Manhattan is ready to compete.

“We know we lost a lot of seniors last year,” Marsh said, “but it’s our time to step up, so I think we’re ready for the rest of the season, there’s still some stuff we were shakey on during this doubleheader, but we’ll fix it.”