Manti baseball drops two

MANTI—If one is focusing on the good news about the Manti baseball team last week, it’s that the mercy rule was not involved.

Other than that, the struggling Templars’ result against the No. 1 Juab Wasps was about as expected, with Manti losing both games last week, 12-2 last Tuesday and 8-1 last Friday.

Manti’s record moved to 5-9 on the season, and with a 16-team playoff bracket around the corner, the Templars find themselves in need of some help in the RPI department. While RPI rankings are currently closed to the public pending a big reveal this Wednesday, their win-loss record alone puts them ahead of only four teams in 3A.

Manti came in as a big-time underdog against the dominant Wasps, and in the first game, it was a rough trip from the start as Juab went ahead, 4-1 after a single inning. The Templars held it together on defense for the second and third, but by the fifth inning, best-laid plans began to unravel as Juab scored three more runs in that inning for an 8-1 lead, running away with the win.

Seniors Nathan Squire and Jason Nelson each hit a double, as well as junior Isaac Schoppe. Nelson took the loss at the pitching mound.

In game two, Manti struggled to even get on base, only netting two hits. Juab’s pitching over both games was pristine, as Manti’s batters struck out 13 times in the game, and 30 times in the series. Though it started out with a 4-1 lead for Juab after four innings, the Wasps threw four runs on the board in the fifth inning to separate themselves, including a home run.

Manti’s hopes aren’t completely dashed. The three games remaining on their schedule include a two-game series with American Leadership Academy, the only team behind them in the Region 14 race. They’ll conclude their regular season next Tuesday with a road game against North Sanpete.