Manchester University
Oak Leaves

April 15, 2016

HITTING IT OFF Senior Ashley Stahl steps up to the plate and is ready to swing.

MU Softball Prepares for Tournament

Stratton Smith

Coming off of a two-game split against the Mount St. Joseph Lions, the Spartans softball team has their eyes set on the conference tournament as they moved to 14–8 overall (3–3 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference).

With the conference tournament right around the corner, the Black and Gold believe they have the ability to make the tournament, though it may be a battle. “I think that the conference tourney is up in the air for everyone,” said senior captain Mackenzie Williams. “I believe that we need to have at least ten wins in order to get in because it is going to be a tough tourney this year.”

Sophomore pitcher and outfielder, Mallorie Jennings, has great respect for the other teams within the HCAC, but has faith in her own team. “I think that the conference overall is pretty strong this year, but I believe we have a great opportunity to make the tournament,” Jennings said. “We have seen how great our offense can be, which, I believe, makes us a pretty strong threat. As both a player and a team we just need to get more consistent offensively and defensively in order to get the sweeps we need to make the tournament.”

Anna Schillinger, junior pitcher, added: “As long as our bats are coming through, then I think we have the ability to beat everyone we play.”

The Spartans have had a boost of confidence ever since their spring break play in Fort Myers and Naples, Florida. “We had a great run in Florida this year going 8–2,” said Williams. “That was a great confidence boost for the team and it really opened the team’s eyes to what we could actually do. The team has never given up this year, which is great. We think that we can win every game, even going into the 7th inning when we are down.”

Leadership for the Black and Gold is a great foundation for their season this year. “Mackenzie Williams is our team captain and I believe many of us look to her for leadership,” Jennings said. “Being a senior and a previous all conference player, she knows what it's going to take for us to be successful come tournament time.” 

Williams added: “Everyone on the team is a leader at some point during the season and it really helps out the team. Working hard in practice and everyone having the same end goal on the team is helping us get into a good position come tournament time.” 

Schillinger agreed. “I think everyone has a big role in this team and each player has their own leadership qualities.”

Team pride is another aspect that will hopefully guide the team to a tournament seed. “I'm proud to be a part of a team where I can see how much support we all have for each other,” Jennings said. 
Schillinger added: “I’m very proud of my teammates so far and I'm excited to see where the season takes us.”