BY JIM MISUNAS
HAYS – Baseball was Jared Maneth’s life until there was no baseball.
Thank goodness, the hard knocks of baseball has prepared him for what’s ahead.
“Baseball has taken me places I would’ve never seen,” Maneth said. “I played baseball before big NJCAA crowds at Grand Junction, Colorado. I was fortunate to play baseball with a lot of great players and good teams.”
Great Bend catcher Maneth is one of the future Fort Hays State college graduates who has secured his first job as an agronomist for Crop Quest, based in Dodge City.
“We work for farmers and offer recommendations for any crop that’s grown,” he said.
Maneth’s promising senior season at Fort Hays State was cut short March 12 when the NCAA shut down college baseball due to the coronavirus. The Tigers (11-13) were in the middle of a showdown against No. 2 ranked Central Missouri State. The Tigers had potential to qualify for the MIAA postseason tournament.
“Coach Jerod Goodale told us that it would probably be our last game and our emotions were all over the place,” Maneth said. “Everybody thought it’d be a break. No one knew the extent of it at the time.”
Maneth will bypass an extra baseball season granted by the NCAA. He is on schedule to graduate in May with a degree in agriculture business. He’s completing his classes, all taught online.
“Going online with all your classes is interesting,” he said. “You’ve got to learn the expectations of each teacher. That’s a lot harder when you don’t see them every day.”
Maneth rode his baseball career to Manhattan, Hays and an appearance at Grand Junction Colo. with Barton Community College in the NJCAA World Series.
“Baseball helps you learn where hard work will get you in life,” he said. “I played baseball for different coaches and I’ve taken something positive from every coach. They all teach you something that will help you.”
He’s appreciated his teammates at every stop along the way.
“What I enjoy the most is the great relationships with players and coaches,” he said. “Starting in Little League past high school, you’re spending time together as teammates.”
Maneth was a three-year starter for the Great Bend Panthers. In 2016, the Panthers captured the Western Athletic Conference championship (7-1). Great Bend’s American Legion baseball team finished as AAA state runner-up in 2017 when the Chiefs qualified for the state tournament three times.
The Great Bend Chiefs won five consecutive post-season Legion games in 2017 in a storybook finish after seeing an umpire pass away during a late-season game at Hutchinson.
“Sometimes, your mindset changes and we learned and found a way to win a lot of close games that summer,” he said.
Maneth played for the 2018 Barton Community College baseball team that captured the Jayhawk West Title for the first time in 24 years. The Cougars won the Central District Championship to qualify for the NJCAA World Series for the first time in school history.
Maneth batted as designated hitter and played first base at Barton under coach Brett Biggs. Georgia signee Kaden Fowler and Nebraska-Omaha signee Brett Bonar moved Maneth away from catching for two years.
“Signing with Barton was the best thing for me because it’s set me up where I am today,” Maneth said.
After spending the fall 2018 campaign as Kansas State, Maneth transferred to Fort Hays State. As a catcher, Maneth returned to his favorite job – calling pitches.
“When you’re a catcher, you think with the game, which is an advantage,” he said. “I always liked to call pitches because a catcher has the best feel for the game. A catcher knows what’s working in tandem with the pitcher.”
FORT HAYS HIGHLIGHTS
1-31—Maneth’s two-run single helped the Tigers edge MSU Denver 4-3.
2-2—Maneth drives in the game-winning run as the Tigers sweep MSU Denver. Maneth is batting .714.
2-8—An RBI single by Maneth ignites a seven-run inning in an 11-9 victory over No. 23 Colorado School of Mines.
2-13—Maneth leads the Tigers with a .467 batting average and a .619 on-base percentage.
2-15—Maneth’s grand slam homer over the left-field wall sparks the Tigers past New Mexico Highlands 13-10.
2-28—Maneth’s RBI double helped The Tigers beat Pittsburg State 7-4 in MIAA action.
3-5—The Tigers are 11-8 going into the weekend. Jared Maneth is reaching base in half of his at bats, the fourth-best on-base percentage in the MIAA.
Helped the Cougars to the 2018 NJCAA Tournament. Maneth played in 30 games with 30 hits, 25 runs and 23 RBI. Finished with averages of .339/.422/.487 as a Cougar. As a freshmen, Maneth drove n 10 runs with nine hits.