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The Suburbanite
  • Manchester baseball relishing best start in six years

  • Manchester is off to its best start on the diamond during six-year head coach Derrick Mauger's tenure. The Panthers have compiled an 8-4 record as they nearing the mid-way mark of the season.

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  • Manchester is off to its best start on the diamond during six-year head coach Derrick Mauger's tenure. The Panthers have compiled an 8-4 record as they nearing the mid-way mark of the season.
    “This is our best start since I took over program,” Mauger said. “The success can be attributed to the fact we are getting pitching from both our starters and relievers, and we are playing very solid defense.”
    Manchester, which is coming off a 16-11 campaign, has wins this year over Smithville 7-5, 9-5, Coventry 3-0, 19-11, Field 5-3, Tuslaw 11-2, Tusky Valley 5-4, Triway 5-0.
    Their losses have come against Tuslaw 22-2, Tusky Valley 5-1, Triway 8-0 and Fairless 2-0.
    “We are hitting better than I expected for the early going, and we have been able to manufacture runs by bunting and hitting behind runners,” Mauger said. “Our players confidence is the highest I have seen. They come in expecting to win and don't quit just because they may be behind late in games.”
    Some of the teams top offensive performers have been senior Jake Bumgarner, juniors Evan Griffiths and Chandler Stahl, and freshman Mason Nist.
    Bumgarner leads the team with a .477 batting average, 10 runs batted in, and 14 runs scored in the lead-off spot, while Griffiths is hitting .357. Both Nist, and Stahl are batting over .300. Stahl also has 10 runs batted in.
    Pitching-wise Bumgarner has a 4-1 record with a 0.83 earned run average, and 35 strikeouts. Griffiths is 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA and 28 K's. Junior Josh Seidel has two saves, and Sterling Jackson has been stellar in relief with a 2.86 ERA.
    “I'm not surprised by this start, because this team has really come together, and they are very supportive of one another,” Mauger said. “They understand that everyone has a role, and that if each person does what they can to help the team, they will have success.”
    Success, though, is built on a strong play in the field.
    “The type of success will continue if we continue to get quality pitching, and play solid defense,” Mauger said. “If we continue to play at a high level in those areas, we will find ways to produce enough runs to win games. A large part of our success is also hinged on staying team-oriented and realizing sometimes you need short memory.”
    Manchester will return to action on Monday hosting Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy.

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