Thunder Baseball Sweeps Grace University

Junction City, KS - The Manhattan Christian College Thunder baseball team was back in action for a home series against the Grace University Royals (Omaha, NE). The two day, four-game series was played at Rathert Stadium in Junction City, where the two teams would face off in double-headers both Friday and Saturday afternoons respectively. 

The Thunder were coming off a tough series in McPherson, KS a week ago that saw them on the losing end of all four games in the two day series. Despite the four losses, the Thunder being a young team showed a lot of improvement throughout the weekend and that carried over to the series with Grace University. 

Manhattan was able to sweep the Grace University Royals outscoring them by 9 runs in the four games combined, which along with consistent play in the field helped the Thunder move to .500 on the season, at 4-4. 

First year head man for the Thunder, Jimmy McDonald got a chance to coach against his former team, as he spent a year as the pitching coach for the Royals in 2014, before accepting a position with Manhattan Christian College as head coach. The success the Thunder were able to have against Grace was definitely something that helped boost the confidence not only of the young players, but also for the young coaching staff. 

"The guys were hungry this weekend," said head coach Jimmy McDonald, "I was impressed with they're ability to keep fighting even when they were behind."

Being such a young team from top to bottom, it is often times easy to lose focus and confidence in games when you get down early. But McDonald is preparing his players for just that, for the moments that they have to face adversity. Those are the moments that will be telling of how good this team truly can be. 

"They showed me a lot of resiliency. We defnitely have a lot we can improve on but it was good to win some tight ball games. We are staying committed to the process and will be working very hard in practice to prepare for Benedictine this coming weekend, I am excited to see what this team can do this year if we can keep improving," McDonald said. 



In game one sophomore lefty Isaiah Katherein got the starting nod for the Thunder, and he would pitch an impressive six innings that included 106 total pitches, giving up 5 runs on 10 hits. The Thunder bats are what kept them in the first game of the Friday double-header, as they were able to score 7 runs on just 4 hits in the game. The telling story in this one was the Royals decision to rotate pitchers through every inning, which proved to be a detriment for them as the six pitchers who appeared for them would allow 12 Thunder batters to reach base on balls. Although he would be relieved after his six inning outing, Katherein would pick up the win in this one, as Manhattan would go on to win the first Friday game, 7-5. 


The second game of the two on Friday was quite different than game one, as freshman Gerardo Questell got the start in this one, and threw an impressive 6.1 innings only giving up 1 run on 3 hits throughout his time on the mound. Aided mightily by his infield and outfield, who combined for 21 putouts in the game, Gerardo was relieved in the sixth by fellow freshman Landrey Anders who closed the game out by retiring the final two batters with just seven total pitches. The Thunder bats were once again steady as they racked up 5 runs on 8 hits including 2 hits a piece from a trio of freshman in Jan Elias, Alexander Lopez, and Emmanuel Otero. Manhattan went on to win the second Friday afternoon game and sweep the first half of the series, 5-1.


The third game of the weekend series was one that saw the Grace University Royals start to hit their stride, and a game that would test the young Manhattan Christian College team late. The Royals would again attack the Thunder batters with a slew of pitchers throughout the six inning bout, in an attempt to keep them from finding any weaknesses in their pitching staff. The Thunder designated freshman Kellen Quick to get the start in the first of two games Saturday, and he did not dissapoint as he went six innings giving up just 2 runs on 2 hits in his time on the mound. The Royals climbed back into this one during the seventh in a hurry as freshman Landrey Anders would come in to relieve Quick, and give up 4 quick runs on 3 hits that allowed the Roayls to climb back within a 7-6 score in the top of the seventh. Freshman Seth Throckmorton came in to close things out and would retire the necessary remaining batters to guide the Thunder to their third win in a row, this time with a score of 7-6 over the Grace University Royals.


Despite already holding a 3-0 lead in the series over the visiting team from Omaha, the Manhattan Christian College Thunder were not even considering letting the final game of the series slip away. This one was much different than the three before it as we saw 32 total runs on 37 total hits come between the two squads. Senior Ben Rankin got the start for the Thunder and had a bit of a rough outing as he threw 117 total pitches giving up 13 runs, on 17 hits. But big bats from the Manhattan dugout as well helped them stay right in it, as they were led by freshman Jan Elias who hit a perfect 4 for 4 on the day and racking up 6 RBI in the game. Following Elias closely with 4 hits on 5 plate appearances was freshman Alexander Lopez who also knocked in 3 RBI, while sophomore Omar Goveo drove in 4 runs on a 3 hits for the day. Rankin was relieved by freshman Corey Riefler in the fifth inning, where Riefler would take control of the mound for the Thunder and allow only 2 runs on 3 hits in his stint to close out the game. 


The Thunder will be back in action for a double-header against the Benedictine College Ravens in Atchison, KS this coming Saturday March 5. Be sure to check back next week for another update on the Thunder baseball team, and how their series goes as they travel to Atchison.



MCC Scoreboard

2/29/2020 | Mens Basketball No. 4 Randall University | W, 88-73 (OT)
2/28/2020 | Mens Basketball No. 3 Arlington Baptist College | W, 94-86 
2/26/2020 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 7 Ozark Christian College | W, 89-72 
2/22/2020 | Mens Basketball No. 2 Barclay College | W, 91-80 
2/21/2020 | Womens Basketball No. 6 Faith Baptist Bible College | L, 67-62