Baseball takes one from undefeated Shawnee Heights

Jacob Clanton, Print Editor-in-Chief

Coming into the doubleheader against Manhattan High, Shawnee Heights was undefeated. The Indians (8-4, 6-4 Centennial League) would change that, swiftly taking game two from the Thunderbirds (8-1, 6-1) 2-0 after dropping the first one 3-0 Friday night.

“It’s a confidence booster,” senior Talon Claussen said, “and it just shows you can compete with anybody. They’re a really great team, and to show that we can take a game from them, it shows that we have what it takes to make it pretty far.”

Claussen started the night on the mound for MHS, throwing for six innings in game one. Claussen allowed just two runs on seven hits.

“Once I got my offspeed on and my fastball was consistently on,” Claussen said, “I just had both pitches working for me, so I could throw either one depending on where I was at in the count, just to get ahead of the batter.”

The key for Claussen was throwing accurately.

“His control was good,” head coach Don Hess said. “He walked two or three guys, so his walks were held down. When Talon is throwing strikes, he’s pretty difficult to his because of his velocity, and he was able to come back. He’d fall behind in some counts, but he was able to scratch back in and have some good at bats. He and Ethan gave us a chance the first game, we just weren’t able to take advantage of it.”

The Indians could never gather any run support. MHS only managed four hits in that first game, leaving opportunities missed in the 3-0 loss.

“We’re still struggling to make some adjustments at the plate,” Hess said. “We took way too many pitches the first game. I’ve always been a grip it and rip it kind of guy, and we were taking pitches when we don’t need to be.”

There was a scary moment in the first game when an errant throw hit senior Carson Marsh in the face. However, he never considered leaving the game.

“I was good,” Marsh said. “I just had to stop the bleeding.”

The errant throw didn’t seem to affect Marsh very much, as he came out and pitched seven innings of shutout baseball in the second game.

“In most days, most situations, he’s not even out there anymore,” Hess said, “but he knew he was going to pitch and he knew he needed to take one for the team, and he really responded. He’s had a lot of big wins for us, but I think that was the most impressive outing all things considered.”

Marsh didn’t just beat Shawnee Heights with his arm, he beat it with his bat too. In the fourth inning, junior Zac Cox led off reaching on an error. Two batters later, Marsh drove him in with a double.

“[Scoring meant] a lot because we hadn’t scored before then,” Marsh said, “so the fact we got a run up there let me know that I could just go up there and relax and throw with the lead.”

From there, Marsh put the game on cruise control, allowing only one more hit on the way to a 2-0 victory.

Manhattan returns to action Tuesday night as it hosts Emporia (2-6, 2-6). For the Indians, learning to be consistent is key.

“[We need] consistency in the field and at the plate both,” Claussen said. “We go back and forth messing up in the field and the plate, so just consistency on both sides. If we get consistency, we’ll be good.”