OGDEN—Between this year and the last, the Templars are just having too much fun in the playoffs.
After earning the No. 14 seed, Manti baseball is still alive in the UHSAA 3A Baseball State Championship tournament following an upset win over No. 11 Ogden, 9-3, last Saturday.
The Templars played their way into the first round courtesy of a play-in game win over No. 19 Providence Hall, 11-1, last Friday, then put the fear into No. 3 American Leadership Academy in a very close loss, 8-7, to fall into the one-loss bracket.
Manti preceded the tournament by wrapping up their regular season with two solid wins, prevailing in a low-scoring affair over cross-county neighbor Gunnison Valley, 4-2, last Monday, then busting North Sevier on the road, 11-5, last Tuesday.
Those wins broke a sixgame losing streak for Manti, who finished the regular season with an overall record of 8-14 and took last in Region 14.
The Templars got on top of Providence Hall pretty quickly, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning on their home field. While not getting big hits at the plate, Manti hit the ball consistently, combining for 12 total hits in the game with only three strikeouts. After several scoreless innings for both teams, the Templars put it away in the fifth inning with five runs and closed the game out on the mercy rule.
Sophomore Britton Keisel was solid at the mound with five strikeouts, only allowing two hits.
ALA was a tough team, but Manti answered the call last Saturday afternoon, getting out to a 5-1 lead in the third inning before the Eagles rallied with six runs. With the game still a toss-up, 7-6 ALA, Manti got another run on the board in the final inning to tie the game at the bottom of the seventh, but ALA had one more in them to escape with the win before the end. Sophomore Jaden Barton led at the plate with three RBI.
Despite the loss, the Templars continued to roll with the momentum and combined for 14 total hits against Ogden, going up 6-2 after three innings. Consistency then became them as they scored a run in each of the final three innings, led by two RBI from junior Taylor Whitney.
The Templars will move to the second round of the playoffs with a game against No. 5 Grantsville on Thursday. The game will be played at Spanish Fork High School.