It was all smiles for the Chanute Post 170 AAA team on Tuesday evening heading out into the night.
The local American Legion senior baseball team ousted the Garnett Fuller-Thompson Post 48 Muddogs AAA, 2-1 and 4-2, on a warm evening at Katy Park in front of a handful of Chanute faithful.
For Game 1, the senior team replicated the manufacturing of the baseball they worked on in practice before Game 1.
And in Game 2, Chanute used a late inning surge to overcome a challenging Garnett squad, which ultimately propelled the team to their ninth win of the year and their sixth win in a row.
Chanute 2, Garnett 1 – Baseball pundits say the key to winning games is solid fundamentals and the manufacturing of the baseball.
This is exactly what happened in Game 1. With no score heading into the bottom of the sixth, center fielder Mason Manbeck suicide squeezed to the third base line, which brought in utility player Jaden Costin. A batter later, catcher Cade Addis singled to left field, scoring Manbeck on a play to the plate. After one run produced by Garnett, Chanute ended up winning 2-1, the first game of a doubleheader.
Post 170 AAA head coach Mike Cooper said the bunt was by design.
“That squeeze was perfectly called and sacrificed,” Cooper said after Game 1. “That was a called play. We try to run a lot when we get on. We try to move guys to score.”
And the players try to produce hits in an effort to score; Chanute chalked up six hits compared to Garnett’s eight. Addis was 1-for-3 with an RBI, while third baseman Kam Koester was 2-for-2, extending his average to .421 – tied for the highest batting average on the team with Manbeck, who, of course, engineered the game’s first RBI.
Starting pitcher Kyle O’Neil (2-0) took the win. He struck out two, walked only one and didn’t give up any earned runs in a complete, seven-inning ballgame.
O’Neil said he was locked in.
“My approach to the game was just to throw strikes and let my defense work,” O’Neil said. “I’ve been told to stay aggressive. That was my mindset. It feels great to get another win for the team.”
The only run Garnett produced was in the top of the seventh. Tyler Denny advanced to first and second on an outfield error, and then Kyler Brotherton singled on a ground ball to left field, which allowed Denny to score his team’s only run.
Brotherton and Denny were both 2-for-4, with Brotherton producing an RBI. Bryce Sommer was 2-for-2. On the hill was Damon Kueser, who struck out four, walked none and didn’t give up any earned runs in six innings.
Chanute 4, Garnett 2 – Right now the Chanute senior baseball team has a mindset of “never say die.”
Dwarfing any chance of giving in, the team managed to rally late once again. With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the third, Manbeck singled into left field, which scored Costin. Two batters later, while junior-and-senior player Caden Schwegman was at bat, Manbeck scored on a passed ball, solidifying the game’s final score at 4-2 through a shortened, five-inning game.
Manbeck was 1-for-2 with two RBI, while Schwegman and first baseman Taylor Lassman were 1-for-2, with Lassman producing an RBI. Total, the team registered four hits, while Garnett had three.
On the hill was starting pitcher Koester (3-0), who walked one and gave up one earned run in a three-hitter, five-inning game.
Chanute began the game exactly how they ended it: with a statement. Manbeck in the bottom of the first scorched a sacrifice fly to center field, and this scored Costin after he tagged up on third. An inning later in the bottom of the second, Lassman singled on a fly ball to center field, and this brought in Schwegman to put the score at 2-0.
Garnett, however, responded in the top of the third. Brotherton grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring Gabe Setters. A batter later, Austin Adams scored after Chanute’s infield error, which tied the game at 2 apiece.
But Chanute was not to be denied, as proven by Manbeck, who is hitting at .421 with 16 hits and nine RBI on the year. He also has a .500 on-base percentage, coupled with a .605 slugging percentage. There’s a reason he won the Chanute Tribune’s Male Athlete of the Year award.
“Those at-bats are huge; we had to have them,” Cooper said. “The guys just came through when we needed them (to) produce some runs.”
Garnett’s Kueser and Dalton Kellerman were both 1-for-2. Starting pitcher Sommer struck out two, walked one and allowed two earned runs in four innings of action.
Chanute Post 170 AAA (9-6) will look to extend its win streak when they play at 6 pm Thursday versus rival Iola at Katy Park.