Manchester University
Oak Leaves

April 8, 2016

Junior Anna Schillinger, Sophomore Laurren Ladwin, Junior Emilee Liston, Senior MacKenzie Williams

Softball Begins with Doubleheader Split

Zach Newcomer, Kody Smith

Following a sleet and snow-filled weekend of un-Spring like weather, the Manchester University softball team finally took the field on Sunday, April 3 to kick of its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) season against the Hanover College Panthers in a doubleheader. Following an 11-5 start to the season, the Spartans were quieted by the overwhelming offense of the Panthers.

In game one, an offensive showcase was displayed by the Panthers, who piled on nine runs. On the strength of a seven-run fourth inning, the Panthers defeated the Spartans 9-0 in a five-inning contest. Starting pitcher Sydney Griffin was superb on the mound for Hanover, pitching five innings allowing no runs on just two hits and six strikeouts. First year Sydney Thompson and sophomore Mikayla Deisler compiled the only hits offensively for the Spartans, while junior Anna Schillinger took the loss on the mound.

The Spartans rebounded following the game-one onslaught, taking a 9-7 victory in a thrilling softball game to secure their first conference victory of the 2016 season. Following the top of the first inning that saw Manchester fall behind 2-0 on the strength of a Lillian Hughes two-run homerun, the Spartans struck back with an RBI-single by senior McKenzie Williams, scoring sophomore Laurren Ladwig. Manchester would flex their muscles in the third inning of play, showcasing a seven-run outburst. Junior Emilee Liston started the inning with a double, followed by a no-doubt two-run homerun off the bat of Ladwig. Freshman shortstop Mandi Boggs struck an RBI-double off the wall in left field, followed by a two-run single by sophomore right fielder Mallorie Jennings. Manchester would see the lineup round back to Liston, who would hit an RBI-single to score the seventh run of the inning. She finished the game with 3-4 with a double, an RBI and a run-scored. First Year third baseman Kate Skeens had an impressive showing in game two at the plate as well, going 4-4 with a run scored. Williams took the bump for the Spartans, turning in her seventh complete-game effort of the season. She pitched seven innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits in her sixth victory of the season and stretching her record to 6-2.

Emilee Liston attributed the Spartans pre-conference schedule to potential success for the team in HCAC play this season, including the team’s spring trip to Florida “We had a very competitive front-loaded schedule before conference that has allowed us to prepare for the competition we'll see once conference begins,” Liston said. “Our 8-2 record was a huge highlight. In fact, I've heard it was one of the most successful spring break trips ever. We were able to get closer as a team off the field as well, which was pivotal to our success.”