By Brad Morris
ASHVILLE — An eight-day layoff was no problem on Wednesday for Teays Valley’s Sydney Manring.
The sophomore right-hander checked visiting Liberty Union to just two hits and struck out 12 batters in helping the Vikings to a 5-0 Mid-State League Buckeye Division win.
“I wasn’t happy with the way I pitched in the last couple of games, so it was nice to come out here tonight and feel pretty good pitching,” Manring said. “I had a good feel for my rise ball, and I just went after the batters.”
The Vikings (20-3, 11-0) secured a share of their second consecutive league championship and can claim the honor outright with one more win in their final three league games. Teays Valley is in the midst of a 27-game winning streak in league play dating back to 2021.
“It’s nice to have a share of the title, but we’re not going to be satisfied until we win it outright,” Manring said. “We’ve had a week off due to the weather, so we want to get back to playing consistently and get on a run here going into the tournament.”
The two teams combined for just six hits in a pitchers’ duel between Manring and freshman Suzie Shultz, who allowed four hits, walked five, hit a batter and struck out 10.
Teays Valley used its athleticism to take a 1-0 lead in the first.
Morgan Cantrell worked a walk with one out and went to third on a wild pitch on ball four to Micah Mann. Cantrell then scored on another wild pitch.
“Morgan did a nice job of being alert and taking the extra base there and it paid off with using our speed to manufacture a run,” Teays Valley coach Derrick Hastler said. “When you are in a battle like we were tonight, sometimes you have to get aggressive and take extra bases when you can.”
The Vikings went back to work in the second to expand their lead to 3-0.
Manring coaxed a walk and advanced to third on a single to right off the bat of Michelle Brumfield, who alertly took second on a throw to home.
Cantrell then hit a fly ball to right that was knocked down by a gusty westerly breeze. The right fielder was unable to make a diving catch on the play, which allowed both runners to score.
Teays Valley scored its final two runs in the fifth.
Brumfield was hit by a pitch to start the home fifth and was joined on the base pads when Cantrell singled to right.
After Mann grounded into a fielder’s choice that took Brumfield off the base pads, a double steal put both runners into scoring position for Reagan Mengerink, who lined a two-run single to right.
“We worked on putting together quality at-bats and making (Shultz) work, but she did a nice job of keeping us off-balance, mixing her pitches and moving the ball around,” Hastler said. “Our speed helped us score in the second and again in the fifth when we were finally able to string together some quality at-bats that either resulted in a walk or hit.”
Cantrell led the Vikings by going 2-for-2 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Hastler complimented Manring on her complete game effort.
“Sydney hasn’t pitched in (eight days), so I was impressed with how she came out here tonight and was dominating at times,” he said. “She did a nice job of really going after the hitters and getting ahead in the count.”
Teays Valley wore special pinstripe jerseys for the game in honor of high school teacher Sara Bennett, who is battling a medical condition. The baseball and tennis teams were also in action on campus, and a 5k and other activities were held at Viking Stadium to raise funds and help the Bennett family.
“We wanted to do our part and help one of our own,” Hastler said.
The Vikings continue league competition by traveling to Circleville (15-5, 8-3) on Thursday and Liberty Union (13-4, 6-4) on Friday.
“I like the way the schedule sets up for us, because we are playing the top teams in the league and that will require us to be very focused and play pretty well,” Hastler said. “After the layoff we’ve had, we want to get back into the swing of things and facing good competition is the best way to do that.”
Teays Valley 5, Liberty Union 0
Liberty Union 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Teays Valley 120 020 X —5 4 2
Shultz and Kanet; Manring and Mengerink