It looked like it might take extra innings to decide the Northern 4A tilt. The two teams were locked up at 8-8 through six-plus innings.
Manogue put runners on first and third with two outs in the sixth but a popout nixed the threat of a go-ahead run. After turning away Reed in the top of the seventh, Manogue was finally able to push across a run after being held scoreless in the previous four frames.
Miners hitter Kyle Lewis was hit by a pitch. He raced around to third when Jake Pomi ripped a double to center field. With runners on second and third and one out, Reed opted to intentionally walk Garrett Grennert and set up forces at each bag.
It didn’t matter, Manogue’s No. 9 hitter, Logan Howard turned on a pitch from Raiders reliever Chris Flores and hammered it hard down the third-base line for a game-winning RBI single.
“It wasn’t fun,” Manogue coach Charles Oppio said. “I don’t mind it when you play well and lose, but we didn’t have a good approach today. They had a better approach than we did. We were lucky to win this game.”
Manogue (11-2, 6-1) got its offense going quickly. The Miners’ first two hitters of the game, Connor Thompson and MJ Farthing, blasted back-to-back solo homers to open Manogue’s bottom of the first and kickstart a four-run Miners rally.
The early deficit did not faze Reed. The Raiders answered with a six-run second inning. Chuck Stroberg initiated the Raiders’ rally when he singled and got to second when his hit was misplayed in center field. Casey Higgins followed with a single and Joey Dice proceeded to rap out a two-run RBI double, making it a 4-2 game.
Spencer Jones singled in another run for Reed. After a strikeout and groundout, Ryan Butler laced a run-scoring single for the east Sparks school, tying the game at four apiece. The Raiders weren’t done. Beau Tittensor was hit by a pitch and then A.J. Silva crushed a two-run triple, forging Reed on top 6-4.
“I liked our intensity,” said Reed coach Ray Charles, who has now watched his team lose three straight games. “I liked the way we played today, but when you’re struggling, things don’t seem, to work out for you. But I liked the way we competed.
“Manogue is a really good club. If we can play this well against good teams, hopefully, we can push through and get some wins.”
Manogue seemed ready for a slugfest. The private Catholic school responded with another four-run rally in the second. Howard and Kyle Pruneau collected doubles as the Miners rapped out five hits in the second. The outburst propelled Manogue into an 8-6 lead.
Still, the Raiders weren’t about to roll over. After a scoreless third inning, Reed tacked on a pair of runs, knotting the contest at 8-8. Butler walked and Tittensor reached on an error to get Reed going. A walk to Silva saturated the sacks with Raiders. An RBI single by Stroberg and an RBI groundout by Higgins allowed the RHS club to pull into the 8-8 tie.
“You know how it is. You jump up and go into cruise mode,” Oppio said. “Reed’s never going to go away.”
Reed’s starting pitcher, Jake Means, weathered the early offensive storm by Manogue and kept his Reed club in contention. After Manogue put up its two four-run rallies in the first two innings, Means silenced the Miners’ sticks. They did not score off him again as he turned in scoreless frames over the next four innings.
He finished scattering 12 hits while striking out five and walking one. Seven of the eight Manogue runs were earned.
“We made a couple errors that could’ve gotten him out of some innings,” Charles said. “That’s one thing. When we put Jake out there, we know he’ll compete. As the game wore on, he started throwing his off-speed stuff for strikes and getting ahead in the count.”
Oppio praised the Reed starter as well.
“I was impressed with their pitcher,” the veteran Miners coach said. “To give up eight runs in the first two innings and then come back with four zeroes, that’s really impressive.”