Manning Monarchs heading to the playoffs on the diamond
By Jeff Staser
Manning – After rough outings against some of the toughest competition on the schedule, the Manning Monarchs made a statement with an extra innings victory on the road against region rival, Timberland High School.
The 7-5, eight inning victory took the underclassmen-laden team to a 3-2 region record, and 7-8 overall.
“We’ve been struggling against some good teams with losses against Hanahan and Laurence Manning,” Coach Steve Crisanti said. “Then we went and lost a pair to Chesterfield over the weekend. To come off those losses and go on the road to beat a region opponent was big for us.”
The Monarchs gave up the lead twice before sophomore Sandy Anderson locked down the final innings with 23 pitches for the victory. Sophomore hurler Chandler Evans gave the Monarchs a strong 94 innings in the start before giving up the ball in the 7th.
“Chandler joined our team this year,” Crisanti said, “and he’s a pitcher’s pitcher. He’s not over dominating, but is great at changing speeds and hitting his location.”
The Monarchs count on a pair of stating seniors, catcher Eric Johnson and center fielder Jesse Surette, along with utility senior Nick McArthur to lead an otherwise youthful team.
“Johnson’s been a big surprise at the plate for us this year,” Crisanti said. “He struggled last year, but has four triples this year and is among the team lead in hitting.”
Another surprise has been the smooth fielding of sophomore Jack Owens who made the move from second base to shortstop this year.
“He’s been real solid defensively,” Crisanti said. “That’s been a big plus for us. It has allowed us to plug him into that spot every day which is big for us.”
Manning will continue to look to underclassmen success like the power of sophomore corner fielder Darias Williams and freshman lead-off infielder Trevin Harrison to lead them past the first round in the play-offs.
The Monarchs were looking for a home win against Timberland at press time to lock down the third spot in the region.
“For this team, with all the youth on it, to make the play-offs this year is big for us,” Crisanti said.