NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – While the Manchester University 2017 season ended with a pair of Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference losses to league runner-up Transylvania University Tuesday, May 2, there was a bigger picture in focus at Spartan Field.
Fans, friends, and teammates paid tribute to a pair of Black and Gold players suiting up in their Spartans' uniforms and stepping on the diamond for the final time in their collegiate careers. Outfielder Emilee Liston (Cicero, Ind.) and infielder Chloe Hensley (South Bend, Ind.) had led the way for plenty of positives during their time … a few of which were 60 wins, a 20-plus victory campaign in 2015 and a conference postseason tournament berth in 2014.
They joined their team, adding a few more memories on a cold and blustery afternoon. Liston turned in her 34th career multiple-hit contest in the opener, going two for three and scoring a run. Hensley wound up a strong four-game run in which she hit .300 at the plate with a safety in game one, too.
Their teammates did their level best to try and add to those efforts and send the duo out on a winning note. Sophomore third baseman Kate Skeens (Gas City, Ind.) launched a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning of the lid lifter to cut a 3-0 visitors lead to 3-2, but the Pioneers' Renae Morton tossed in her eight strikeout as part of a one-two-three seventh. Skeens came back with an RBI, while freshman first baseman Shakira Perez (Elkhart, Ind.) sent in a run with a single in the nightcap, but it wasn't enough to overcome a 5-1 start by TU over the first four innings that led to an 8-2 final.