PRICE—The bad news is the Templars didn’t last long in the first round of the 3A baseball state playoffs. The good news is that it’s not quite over yet.
Manti’s baseball team fell out of the first round as the No. 12 seed of the tournament, losing to No. 5 Grantsville, 10-5, last Saturday at Carbon High School. Nevertheless, the Templars were just able to keep their hopes alive as they rebounded with a convincing win over No. 13 South Sevier, 13-7, in the first game of the one-loss bracket, notching their ninth win of the season.
Manti didn’t struggle to hit the ball against Grantsville’s pitchers, combining for seven hits in the game, but getting all the way home was a different battle. Grantsville’s defense committed only a single error in a seven-inning affair.
Things were even going the Templars’ way for a good chunk of the game. After keeping the Cowboys scoreless in the first inning, Manti was first on the board with a run at the top of the second.
After scoring three more runs in the next two innings, Manti sported a 4-2 at the top of the fourth inning, a lead that Grantsville tied, 4-4, at the bottom.
After that, it was all Grantsville, as the Cowboys rattled off four runs at the bottom of the fifth and another two unanswered at the bottom of the sixth. Manti got one more run on the board at the top of the seventh, but it wasn’t nearly enough to save them.
As the Templars were playing for their lives against South Sevier later that day, senior Jason Nelson delivered arguably his best performance of the season. Coach Jim Nelson’s son hit three doubles, part of 11 total hits for the team, and scored three RBIs, tying his season best. Jason also claimed the win at the mound for Manti, moving his season pitching record to 4-3.
Having survived the first weekend of playoff action, the Templars are rewarded with a rematch against No. 3 Union this Thursday at Bingham High School. The Cougars are coming off a high-scoring loss to Richfield, 16-13. Manti already lost to Union once early this season, 2-1.
If the Templars can get past the Cougars, they’ll face the winner of Morgan vs. Delta later that day.