RICHFIELD—If nothing else, for Manti baseball Coach Jim Nelson, it was great to see baseball again, and for a moment, things looked really exciting for the young Templars.
By the end, however, Manti baseball was dealt a dose of reality as their season opener on the road against a top-five team in Richfield ended in a 14-4 loss last Wednesday. Manti held an early lead, 4-3 after the first inning, but the Wildcats pulled ahead quickly after and shut Manti down the rest of the way.
“It sure was nice to see our team back on the field,” Nelson said. “We had seven unearned runs in the game. We were nervous and it showed. A few games of varsity experience should help. After the first inning, we just had a hard time stringing hits together.”
The Templars only managed three hits the whole game. Two of those came from senior Jason Nelson, who had two of those hits and got a double out of one of them.
Manti wasn’t completely out of it until quite late in the game. Richfield pulled ahead in the second inning, 5-4, and neither team scored in the third.
While Manti could get any runs at the top of the fourth inning, the bottom of the fourth was a whole different script for the Wildcats. Richfield rattled off a series of eight runs in the inning and made life miserable for sophomore pitcher Bryce Boehrer.
“[Boehrer] threw better than the fourth inning showed,” Nelson said. “We just didn’t give him the defensive support he needed.”
After Richfield scored another run in the fifth, the 10-run rule was activated, and suddenly a game that was neck-and-neck for most of it was over on a mercy rule.
Manti’s work remains cut out for them, but seeing as it’s the third straight year (including 2020) that the Templars have lost their season opener, evidence suggests that the nerves will eventually calm for Manti.
After taking on Summit Academy last Monday after press time, the Templars now head to the Frozen Rope Shootout in Richfield this weekend for games against Milford, Emery, and 4A Ogden.