MU
Oak Leaves



April 22, 2016

Softball
UP TO BAT First Year Sydney Thompson steps up to the plate for her turn at bat.

Spartan Softball Stays Positive Despite Defeats

Keith Berry

The Manchester University softball team is making a push toward the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament coming up in just a couple of weeks. However, after the last few match-ups, the Spartans (16-12 overall, 5-5 HCAC) seem to be a bit off of their game. Last weekend marks the first four game losing streak after losing competitions to both Franklin College (20-10 overall, 5-5 HCAC) at home and Alma College (24-6 overall, 9-1 MIAA) on the road. The Spartans have not lost more than two games in a row since March.

Last Saturday, the Spartans lost to Franklin College 7-1 in the first competition and 11-3 in the second competition. During the first game of the set, first-year short stop Miranda Boggs (Frankfort, Ind.) scored the Spartans’ run for the competition. Senior pitcher/first baseman MacKenzie Williams (Kendallville, Ind.), led the way in hits with two out of three at bats. According to muspartans.com, Williams tallied a .462 batting average. During the second game of the set, senior designated hitter/outfielder Kaile Niezgodski (South Bend, Ind.), first-year catcher Sydney Thompson (Logansport, Ind.), and sophomore pitcher Mallory Jennings (Bourbon, Ind.), each scored a run for the Black and Gold. Williams led the way in hits with two out of four at bats.

The Black and Gold were shut out both games of the set at Alma College. During the first game of the set, junior outfielder Emilee Liston (Cicero, Ind.) and Kaile Niezgodski led the way in hits with one apiece. During the second game, MacKenzie Williams and senior third baseman Jessica Chorak (Hammond, Ind.) led the way in hits with two apiece. Sydney Thompson added one hit.

Despite the recent losses, the Spartans are keeping their playoff hopes alive. The team has decided to learn from the experiences, highlight the positives and avoid things that could set them back again. “We talked about how talented Franklin was and Alma being the twelfth ranked team,” said Josh Dzurick, head coach of the Spartan softball team. “You can lose four games to teams like that and still come out feeling good.”

Dzurick encouraged his team and reminded them that games like these happen to everyone. “Blaming each other and pointing fingers is the easy thing to do, but if we are the type of program we want to be then we have to hold ourselves accountable and try to pick each other up and do better,” he explained. “We also have to take advantage of opportunities like Wednesday with another conference game.”

He says practicing during the week and transferring that type of energy to a game consistently is an essential key to achieving the team’s goals. “It really came down to our focus, energy level and how we played,” he said. “We can’t get pumped up for a game against Anderson and then come down and not make the same plays in other games that put us in a position to win.”

Coach Dzurick and the Spartans are going head-to-head with the Defiance Yellow Jackets on the Spartan softball field. The first place will take place at 3:30 and the second will be at 5:30.