Baseball takes low scoring make-up game

Jacob Clanton and John Ostermann

After the 28-run game against Wichita East (2-4) last week, Manhattan High expected a repeat. Instead, the Indians (5-1) played in a pitchers’ duel against the Blue Aces, pulling out a 4-2 victory in the make-up game.

“I thought our pitching was outstanding,” head coach Don Hess said. “I think [senior Talon Claussen] had a couple walks, which has been his challenge. Ethan [Kaus, senior], on a cold day, came in and closed the door and was really good also.”

The Indians allowed only one hit on the day, a single in the first inning that drove in one run.

“I was just having fun,” Claussen said. “It was a pretty good game, and I’m happy it was only one hit, but getting that down to no hits would be even better.”

Manhattan responded in the bottom of the first, with Claussen getting a leadoff single and scoring on a double from junior Ben Gallagher.

“It’s always good to score some runs yourself,” Claussen said. “As long as we’re scoring runs, it doesn’t really matter, but when it’s yourself scoring, it makes you feel a little better.”

Offensively, MHS struggled at times, loading the bases three times but only scoring once.

“I think in the first two innings we had guys at third base with less than two outs and didn’t score,” Hess said. “I don’t care what level it is, when you come across a playoff game or something like that, you got to figure out how to score guys, whether it be shortening your swing or having a different approach. I thought we were kind of not very good in that area.”

However, with two outs in the third, Manhattan was able to score three runs to take a 4-1 lead.

“It’s always nice when you can score with two outs because there’s just no guarantee,” Hess said. “A lot of people, you get two outs, you start scrambling for your glove, and you’re moving on to the next inning, and to be able to score with two outs says a lot about the determination that your team has.”

An error put the leadoff man on in the fourth for Wichita East, who eventually came around to score. After putting the leadoff man on base, Manhattan retired 11 of the final 12 hitters at the plate.

“I don’t know how many strikeouts [Claussen and Kaus] had,” Hess said, “but they were getting ahead for the most part. Just as impressive as their pitching is they fielded their position real well too. Five or six ground balls [came] back to the mound that we handled flawlessly, so in a lot ways, that was just an outstanding effort.”

The Indians almost added to their lead with a two-out rally in the fifth, but couldn’t close the deal, cruising to a 4-2 victory.

Manhattan returns to action Friday night, hosting league rival Washburn Rural (2-1). The Indians are looking for a better night hitting.

“We just need to do a more consistent job at the plate,” Hess said. “I think most coaches would want that to happen, is just be consistent at the plate.”