NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – If you listened close enough at Spartan Field Friday, April 28, you might just have heard the late Gene Kelly crooning his classic rendition of "Singing In The Rain".
While the star of the stage and motion pictures and his fellow actors and actresses of the 1952 box office hit are a distant memory to some and foreign to others, Manchester University and Anderson University's offenses did some singing in a steady spring rain of their own during a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader. They combined for 30 runs, 41 hits, five doubles and five home runs with the visitors and perennial league power Ravens returning south with 10-4 and 13-3 victories over the Black and Gold.
A glance at the final totals might show a pair of runaways. However, it was the exact opposite for the two league rivals.
Trailing 7-1 through five and a half frames in the opener, Coach Josh Dzurick's crew go through versus AU starter Rachel Fiscus with three tallies in the bottom of the fifth, as junior shortstop Mandi Boggs (Frankfort, Ind.) drilled a run-scoring single and sophomore third baseman Kate Skeens (Gas City, Ind.) sent a ball high and out of the home confines for a two-run shot, trimming the deficit to 7-4. Manchester University was closed to coming back further but left on a runner on second with two outs in the sixth, and Anderson added three in the seventh to seal the final.
Game two was nip-and-tuck early. Trailing 2-0 after one and a half, the Spartans (13-23-1 overall, 3-11 HCAC) answered with three tallies in the bottom of the second. Junior outfielder Mallorie Jennings (Bourbon, Ind.) brought in a run with a single, part of an afternoon in which she was three-for-six at the dish, and senior second baseman Chloe Hensley (South Bend, Ind.) got a ball into the right center field gap scoring two runs for a 3-2 Manchester University lead. AU responded quickly with six in the third, highlighted by a home run, and added five more in the sixth, with a grand slam providing the impetus, to end the contest early.
Hensley followed Jennings closing on the Spartans' offensive totals, ending two-for-five with a double and the two RBI. The trio of Skeens, senior outfielder Emilee Liston (Cicero, Ind.) and freshman first baseman Shakira Perez (Elkhart, Ind.) each ended two-for-seven over the two games.
The Spartans conclude their 2017 season Tuesday, May 2, hosting Transylvania University in a 3:30 p.m. doubleheader. The afternoon serves as Senior Day 2017 recognition.