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MANTI LITERALLY `RUNS' AWAY FROM GUNNISON FOR 2A TITLE

When the regular season ended, Region 12 rivals Manti and Gunnison both knew the only way they could meet again would be for the state title.

The two teams got their wish Thursday afternoon at Cougar Field, and six innings later, Manti was crowned the 2A state champion with its 11-0 pounding of the Bulldogs."Gunnison is great ball club, and we've had a good rivalry for a lot of years," Manti coach Mark Olson said. "It was fun playing Gunnison in the state championship."

It was definitely sweet for the nine Manti seniors who've been playing together since elementary school.

"This is the best," Templars' catcher Mike Barton said. "This is our dream, this is what we've worked for all year."

The senior wrapped up his career going 3-for-3, including a home run and four RBI.

When the game first started, neither team expected it to be such a lopsided affair, but one could sense it might happen in the early stages of the game.

After Manti's first hitter struck out, the next two hitters both reached base on errors. It was pretty clear the young Gunnison team was nervous.

The Bulldogs committed five errors and were never really in the game because of it.

Even if Gunnison had been playing error-free ball, it didn't really matter with the way Manti's Bryan Kiesel was throwing. He pitched all six innings striking out six and only giving up two hits.

"This is unbelievable," Kiesel said. "I can't stop shaking."