KANAB—As winter turned to spring across the state, so too did the ice appear to melt off the Templars.
Manti baseball continued a cold run in the first part of the weekly slate, pushing their record to 0-2 with a home loss to Richfield, 7-5, but they turned it around in impressive fashion over the weekend as they went 3-1 at the Chuckwagon Classic, beating Providence Hall, 7-6, Morgan, 4-3, and the host team Kanab, 12-7, after beginning the Classic with an 11-1 loss to Beaver.
The Bulldogs’ record moved to 3-3 overall.
Manti got down against Richfield early as the Wildcats scored five runs in the third inning to take a 6-1 lead. Despite what ended up being a close loss, the Templars had an impressive day from the pitching mound as three different pitchers saw at least two innings each and combined for 10 strikeouts against Richfield.
The Beavers played their way out of the Templars’ reach quickly in the first game at the Classic last Friday, taking an early 3-0 lead and holding Manti scoreless until the bottom of the last inning. Down 11-0 at the bottom of the sixth, senior Karson Parry made the hit that would seemingly turn the whole week around for Manti as he smacked a home run over the fence for a lone RBI.
The home run proved a sign of things to come, as Manti’s bats were alive for the rest of the tournament. The Templars pulled out close wins against Providence Hall and Morgan. Against Providence Hall, sophomore Jaden Barton hit a double and a triple and notched two RBI as Manti pulled ahead of the Patriots with four runs in the third inning and held them off to the end. Sophomore Britton Keisel was impressive at the mound, pitching eight strikeouts.
Against Morgan, Manti crossed home plate first with a run in the second inning and held on in a low-scoring defensive affair. As triples are a rarer occurrence in baseball than home runs, it was incredibly odd to see Manti hitters combine for three triples in one game, courtesy of Barton, sophomore Reggie Frischknecht, and sophomore Kayson Bailey.
As the tournament ended, Kanab briefly looked like they were going to throw cold water on the Templars’ good vibes as they went up on Manti, 3-0 after the first inning, but Manti instead answered with an 11-run second inning, their highest scoring inning of the season so far and most in a regular season game in several years. Bailey and sophomore Braxton Henningson each sent a hit over the fence in an excellent hitting performance for Manti at the plate. Bailey led with four RBI.
The Templars will take their momentum straight into region play this week as they take on Union on Tuesday and Thursday, then prepare for a rivalry matchup with North Sanpete next week.