NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Freshman Tristyn Koon (Kokomo, Ind.) and junior Madisyn Walter (Hanna, Ind.) proved an effective one-two punch in the circle, while Manchester University produced timely hitting on offense Tuesday, April 18.
Koon, battling Hope College of Michigan's Sydney Jones who came in with a sparkling 10-2 record and 0.84 earned run average, managed to match one of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association and NCAA Division III Great Lakes region's top young hurlers pitch-for-pitch in game one. Despite trailing 1-0 and having been K'ed seven times over the first three innings, Coach Josh Dzurick's team battled through it and broke into the score column twice in the fourth, behind a long home run to dead center field off the bat of sophomore third baseman Kate Skeens (Gas City, Ind.), and two more times in the sixth as Skeens added a third run-batted-in and sophomore shortstop Mandi Boggs (Frankfort, Ind.) got a liner up the middle just past the out-stretched glove of Jones to score freshman pinch runner Makenzzie Kazmierczak (South Bend, Ind.) with the eventual winning tally as part of a 4-3 thriller. Koon, earning her third win of the year, allowed just eight hits, didn't issue a free pass and struck out one.
Game two saw the home bats, much to the delight of the crowd at Spartan Field, continue their recent liveliness. Junior second baseman Laurren Ladwig (Crown Point, Ind.) blasted a leadoff home run in the first to wipe away a 1-0 deficit, and the Black and Gold, stretching a current win streak to four, moved to 11-17-1 with a 9-1, five-inning victory by plating single runs in the second, third and fifth and five in the fourth. Ladwig finished with three hits, three runs scored, and two RBI; senior left fielder Emilee Liston (Cicero, Ind.) compiled four hits; Skeens picked up where she left off in the opener with three more safeties; and sophomore designated player/outfielder Krystal Sellers (Bourbon, Ind.) ended with two hits.
All of that firepower was more than enough to allow Walter to even her season record at 7-7. Adding a fourth complete game to her season resume, she struck out three, wasn't touched for an earned run and was nicked for just five hits.
The Spartans move back into Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action Saturday, April 22. They go to Hanover College for a 1 p.m. start.