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  • Val T.

Coleman’s 2 hits, 2 RBIs, E. Howdeshell’s 2-run blast highlight Lady Z win over Manchester

Maddi Heinzmann, Coleman also have 2 RBIs


Sports Editor, RTC

Kylie Coleman

NORTH MANCHESTER — Knocked indoors by bad weather for a week, the Rochester softball team got to work on bunting.

That work, plus some patience and some hits for extra bases, paid off against host Manchester in a 13-3 win in five innings at Warvel Park Wednesday.

Kylie Coleman led a nine-hit Lady Z attack with a double, a triple and two RBIs. Maddi Heinzmann had a two-run triple as part of a five-run second, and Emma Howdeshell slugged a two-run homer in the fourth. Sydney Haughs also had two RBIs.

Rochester is 8-4 overall and 3-1 in the Three Rivers Conference. Manchester is 3-13, 1-3. Rochester stayed one game behind TRC co-leaders Tippecanoe Valley and North Miami, both of whom won Wednesday. Valley travels to North Miami Thursday.

Aubrey Miller had two hits and scored twice and also got an outfield assist from right field when she threw out Paxton Baker trying to score from third to complete a double play in the third. Miller’s throw was so strong and accurate that catcher Kallie Watson had to run halfway up the third baseline to tag Baker after receiving it, and Watson nearly threw out Karsyn Kamphues at second base trying for a triple play.

“That was a big catch and a big throw that really stopped any momentum that Manchester was trying to get there,” Rochester coach Jim Coleman said.

Mia Howdeshell, Mylee Heinzmann and Darah Strasser each contributed an RBI.

Rochester did not strike out against Manchester freshman pitcher Samantha Shock.

Mia Howdeshell earned the win after allowing two runs in three innings. Emma Howdeshell allowed one unearned run over the final two innings.

“We know that we’ve really extended Mia a lot further in some of the games, so Emma’s going to have to come in and give us some quality innings, and she did that very well tonight,” coach Coleman said. “So she’s a great competitor, and for her to come in and in a situation where there was a little bit of pressure, but yet she was able to throw the ball across the plate and really give us two innings that we needed.”

Rochester scored four runs in the first inning and five more in the second to build a 9-1 lead. Shock walked four and hit a batter and also gave up an RBI double to Coleman and a single to Watson in the first.

Shock drove in Hadley West with a single in the bottom of the first.

Miller led off the second with a grounder to second base that she outran for an infield single. Coleman’s gapper scored Miller from first, and Coleman was safe at third for a triple after Manchester’s third baseman could not field a short hop throw.

Sydney Haughs’ single scored Coleman to make it 6-1. Watson laid down a sacrifice bunt, and when nobody was at first to cover on the throw for an error, Haughs reached third and Watson reached second.

Maddi Heinzmann then pounced on Shock’s first pitch and crushed a deep triple to right center to bring home Haughs and Watson and make it 8-1.

“It was like my perfect pitch, right down low,” Maddi Heinzmann said. “At first I thought it was going over, but it was just a little short, and I was like, ‘OK, we’re still running.’ We’re going to get a triple.”

Mia Howdeshell’s RBI grounder to third drove Maddi Heinzmann to make it 9-1.

Another Manchester misplay on a bunt – this time the bunt was off Coleman’s bat – led to Miller scoring in the top of the third. Watson’s RBI grounder to short made it 11-1.

“It’s something honestly we’ve been working on since the Valley game (a 6-4 loss on April 24),” coach Coleman said. “We’ve put a lot of time in getting that bunt down, moving the baserunners and being able to read that third baseman and first baseman and adjusting to that.”

Kamphues’ RBI walk in the third cut the deficit to 11-2, but Emma Howdeshell answered with a no-doubt two-run blast to left in the fourth to make it 13-2.

A dropped fly ball in the bottom of the fifth led to Manchester’s final run.

Lady Z notes

  • Rochester drew Winamac in a Class 2A, Sectional 37 quarterfinal at Rochester. Rochester lost to Winamac 9-8 in their regular season meeting on April 11.

“We played them early in the season at Winamac,” coach Coleman said. “I felt that we made a few mistakes in that game, so for us to get that rematch against Winamac back at home for us, I welcome it. It will be nice to see a familiar team. If you ask a lot of our girls, I know we’re looking forward to it.”

  • Maddi Heinzmann tore her ACL in a basketball game against Northwestern in November 2021. She said she worked on the fundamentals, and she was back on the softball diamond in April 2022. Since then, she said she has worked more on her swing.

Last year, Heinzmann struck out in 42 percent of her at-bats. This year, she has struck out in 16 percent of her at-bats.

“Since coach Coleman came through, he’s been pushing me to stay up and keeping my hips in and then opening up when I see the pitch and when it’s in the zone,” Maddi said.

Rochester 13, Manchester 3 (5 innings)

Rochester 452 20 – 13 8 1

Manchester 101 01 – 3 6 2

WP – Mia Howdeshell (3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K)

LP – Samantha Shock (5 IP, 8 H, 13 R, 11 ER, 7 BB, 1 HBP, 0 K)

2B – Kylie Coleman (RHS)

3B – Kylie Coleman (RHS), Maddi Heinzmann (RHS)

HR – Emma Howdeshell (RHS)

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