Whether it’s on the baseball field, playing video games or vying for the last slice of pizza, the Deer Valley senior third baseman is ready to compete. It’s that gamer attitude that gets the Wolverines amped up.
“It’s motivating,” senior shortstop Michael Lanter said. “He’ll get in anybody’s face, and he’ll pump everybody up. Whenever we’re doing bad, he gets in the other team’s face and he just tears them apart and it gets us motivated.”
Between the crack of his bat and the wisecracks from his mouth, Manci’s hard to miss on game days. He’ll do whatever it takes to help out his team, whether it’s a clutch hit, turning a double play with Lanter or just jawing out the opposition.
Manci feels comfortable speaking out. “I’ve always been like that,” Manci said. “I’ve been playing with them for so long, I can tell them whatever I want to tell them.”
Manci also has an effect on the mound. Senior pitchers Marcos Martinez and Ricky Delgado said the third baseman is an expert at saying the right thing at the right time. That kind of motivation helps them get key outs. They appreciate the honesty, even if it’s vocalized a few decibels too high.
“It just feels like if he wasn’t here with me, I wouldn’t be out here too,” Martinez said. “I would be not trying to work as hard and be as good as him. He’s always out there giving his 100 percent.”
Manci lets his bat do some talking, too. Last season, he earned first-team all-Bay Valley Athletic League honors after batting a team-best .403. He also led the Wolverines in basepath larceny, racking up 16 steals.
Manci is off to a fine start this season. In Deer Valley’s first seven games, in which the team went 6-1, Manci is batting at a .292 clip and has swiped four bases. Manager Dennis Luquet feels that the left side of the infield, comprising Manci and Lanter, can be one of the best in the league. While at times Luquet needs to cool Manci off, he believes the senior is an integral part of the team.
“Intensity, I guess, is the number-one word you’d have to use with him,” Luquet said. “He wants to do well and he wants the other guys to do well. … He’s probably one of the best third basemen we’ve had at Deer Valley.”
It’s not hard to find where Manci gets his competitive spirit. Growing up in a house with two big brothers – Justin and Joe – who both play sports usually leads to healthy sibling rivalry.
Joe played golf for Deer Valley, while Justin is a third baseman for the Cal State Stanislaus baseball team. Joshua is hoping to continue playing baseball collegiately, like Justin did, either at Diablo Valley College or for Stanislaus, where he plans to study criminal justice. After he’s done on the diamond, Manci wants to become a police officer or firefighter.
“I watched my brothers do good, and I always wanted to do better than them,” Manci said. “Everything’s a competition.”