Despite E. Howdeshell’s 3 hits, Coleman’s big plays, Lady Zs fall to Manchester
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Payton Baker and Emma Evans had two hits and two RBIs each, and Avery Howard drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the sixth inning to lead the Manchester softball team to a 9-6 win over host Rochester at Fansler Field Wednesday.
Manchester also got offensive production from Olivia Neal, Karsyn Kamphues and Hadley Schanepp, the 7-8-9 batters in their order. They went a combined 5 for 11 while Rochester’s 7-8-9 batters went 1 for 9.
“Absolutely, that’s huge just because they have baserunners on when they go back to that top of the lineup,” Rochester coach Becky Lee said. “I think the bottom of our lineup, we were putting the ball in play, but it was just going right at someone, or we were making not-as-solid contact, but yes, that’s big for them to be able to have baserunners on when their … more experienced hitters were up to bat.”
Emma Howdeshell went 3 for 3 with two runs scored, and Sydney Haughs had two hits, an RBI and a run scored. Haley Durkes and Kallie Watson each had a hit, and Mia Howdeshell and Keyton Doran each had an RBI.
But the player who might have contributed the most to the Rochester effort was junior third baseman Kylie Coleman.
Coleman’s two-out, two-run double to the right-center field fence in the fifth gave Rochester a 6-5 lead, and she also made a heady defensive play in the top of the sixth.
With Kamphues having already scored and Hadley Schanepp on third and Payton Baker on second and the game tied 6-6, Molly Schanepp hit a grounder to Coleman. Coleman pump-faked like a football quarterback. Hadley Schanepp took two steps down the third baseline. Coleman then ran back and tagged Hadley Schanepp just before she was able to return to third for a fielder’s choice.
“Sold me,” a smiling Lee said later of Coleman’s pump fake. “I flinched.”
But Baker and Molly Schanepp pulled off a double steal with Baker just beating Watson’s throw to third.
Howard then singled to score Baker. Molly Schanepp initially held on Howard’s hit and then tried to advance when the throw missed the cut-off player, but Watson threw her out at third with Howard taking second. Evans then singled just inside the right field line to score Howard and make it 8-6.
Baker’s RBI infield single in the seventh made it 9-6.
“There were a couple plays that I think we normally are used to just fielding, throwing and taking our time that we had no chance on tonight because the top of their lineup, and even the bottom of their lineup, they had speed in a lot of places,” Lee said.
Evans, who is Manchester’s No. 2 pitcher behind Molly Schanepp, pitched an eight-hitter with one strikeout.
Mia Howdeshell pitched the first five innings and allowed six runs. Emma Sells took the loss in relief. She inherited a second-and-third, nobody-out jam in the sixth and allowed three runs over two innings. Mia Howdeshell and Sells combined to walk six and hit a batter.
Rochester took a 1-0 lead in the second on Doran’s RBI groundout. Manchester took the lead in the third on RBIs by Baker and Molly Schanepp, and they made it 5-1 in the fourth with Neal and Kamphues scoring on an error and Evans driving home a run on a two-out infield single.
Rochester got those three runs back in the bottom of the fourth. Haughs drove home one run with an RBI single. Coleman advanced to third on the play, and when the throw to try to get her at third was wild for an error, she also scored. Mia Howdeshell’s RBI groundout to shortstop made it 5-4.
The Lady Squires went down in order in the top of the fifth against Mia Howdeshell. In the bottom half, Darah Strasser and Sells grounded out before Watson singled to right-center and Emma Howdeshell was hit by a pitch.
That brought Coleman to the plate.
Manchester won their third straight game and improved to 4-9 overall and 2-2 in the Three Rivers Conference. Rochester dropped to 5-6, 2-3.
The teams could meet again in the Class 2A, Sectional 37 final at Wabash from May 23-28.
Manchester 9, Rochester 6
Manchester 002 303 1 – 9 11 2
Rochester 010 320 0 – 6 8 2
WP – Emma Evans (7 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 HBP, 1 K)
LP – Emma Sells (2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K)
2B – Payton Baker (MAN), Hadley Schanepp (MAN), Emma Howdeshell (RHS), Kylie Coleman (RHS)