Spartans Topple Jackets to Earn HCAC Crown
Monday, April 29, 2013 | by Martin Kluk
Manchester (18-13, 10-3 HCAC)
Defiance (13-20, 6-9 HCAC)
4/29/2013 | Defiance, OH | Attendance: 100
Win: Lund (11-4) 7.062244
Loss: Rowland (6-7) 7.055020
Planck (MU) 401000
Willmann (MU) 311100
Niezgodski (MU) 211010
Stephan (MU) 301200
Schmidt (MU) 301000
Basinger (DC) 202000

DEFIANCE, Ohio – The Defiance softball team dropped its final two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference contests of 2013 on Monday, April 26. The Manchester Spartans earned the conference season title with the sweep by scores of 5-2 and 6-4. DC falls to 13-21 (6-10 HCAC), while Manchester improved to 19-13 (11-3 HCAC).

Action started off well for the Yellow Jackets in game one, as they put the first run on the board in the bottom of the first. Junior Maggie Neanen (Eaton, OH / HS) led things off with a single and was followed up by a Katie Miller (Archbold, OH / HS) walk. Senior Gloria Basinger (Bluffton, OH / Cory-Rawson) then poked a hit of her own to load the bases. Junior Kailea Holbrook (Defiance, OH / HS) then knocked in Neanen with a fielder’s choice to give DC the early lead.

After two scoreless innings, the Purple and Gold tacked on another score in the fourth frame. Sophomore Tori Plummer (Perrysburg, OH / HS) worked a walk and was brought home on a double by junior Macy Ferrall (St. Mary’s, OH / Memorial) to put DC up 2-0.

Things were going great for the Jackets, as freshman All Rowland (Westerville, OH / Westerville North) was dealing with only one hit allowed through five frames. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off for Defiance in the top of the sixth inning.

Rowland had recorded the first two outs in the inning and then the defense coughed up three errors and Manchester mixed in two hits two score five unearned runs in the inning and take the 5-2 lead.

The Spartans surge completely took the wind out of the Yellow Jackets, as the home team couldn’t muster a hit over its final two at bats to fall in game one 5-2.

In the start, Rowland couldn’t have done much more on her end. The freshman recorded her 10th complete game of 2013, tossing seven frames allowing only five hits and five unearned runs. Her record dropped to 6-7 in the defeat. At the plate, Basinger led the team with a 2-for-2 outing and Miller chipped in by going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks.

For game two, both teams went scoreless through two frames before the visiting Spartans took the advantage with a run in each of the third and fourth innings.

Defiance responded in the bottom half of the fourth with a run of its own to cut into the deficit. Pinch runner Megan Pleskovic (Strongsville, OH / HS) was knocked home by sophomore Brittany Shough (DeGraff, OH / Riverside) on a single to center that made it 2-1 Manchester.

However, the Spartans offense got in a groove, as they hit around starting pitcher Lauren Dicke (Lima, OH / Lima Shawnee) for a pair of runs in each of the next two frames that made it 6-1 Manchester through six.

After a scoreless top of the seventh for the visitors, DC tried to concoct some late-inning magic in its last at bat. Singles by Neanen, Basinger, Holbrook and McAvoy cut the Spartans lead to 6-4. That was all DC could put together unfortunately, as Manchester struck out the final batter for the conference clinching win.

Dicke tossed five innings surrendering six runs (four earned) with five punch outs and her record on the season fell to 2-9. Freshman Katie Patchin (West Farmington, OH / Bristol Local) came in relief over the last two frames and was solid with no hits allowed and three strikeouts.

Yellow Jackets Basinger and McAvoy were the top hitters at the plate. Basinger was 2-for-3 with a run and a walk, while McAvoy added a 2-for-4 performance with a walk and one run batted in.

The Defiance softball team will return to action tomorrow Tuesday, April 30 for a non-conference doubleheader with the Olivet Comets. Game one is slated to begin at 3:30 p.m.