By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Trevor Kimm was just hoping not to embarrass himself during a Tuesday homecoming at Anderson University.
The Manchester College sophomore far exceeded that goal.
Kimm, a former star at Anderson High School, went 3-for-5 including an RBI single in the first inning that helped push the Spartans to a 2-0 victory and sole possession of first place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
“The adrenaline is always pumping when you come home,” Kimm said just outside the victorious visiting dugout at Don Brandon Field. “I’ve got a lot of family and friends here. I just wanted to not play terrible.”
Kimm singled in each of his first three at-bats and robbed high school teammate Cole Heberling of a single up the middle to start the ninth inning.
For much of the contest, it looked as though the second baseman’s first-inning RBI would be all the offense 22nd-ranked Manchester (16-3, 6-1 HCAC) would need.
Pitcher Bryce Murphy entered the day with a 1-2 record, but he had posted a 0.81 ERA in 22 1/3 innings and a team-high five saves. He went the distance against the Ravens (9-10, 5-2), allowing just three hits overall and just one baserunner to reach scoring position.
“He threw everything for a strike in any count,” AU coach David Pressley said. “His change-up was working. It was hard for guys to get comfortable in the box, which is what good pitchers do.”
The Ravens’ biggest threat came when former AHS and Highland star Jordan Ball doubled off the base of the fence in left field to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning. But Murphy sat down the next three hitters in order, and AU went quietly in the ninth after Kimm ranged far to his left and threw out Heberling to start the inning.
Andrew Eiler got Anderson’s first hit on an infield single with one out in the sixth inning, and Jacob Craft singled to lead off the seventh. Craft also walked with two outs in the fourth, and Ryan McPike reached on a fielder’s choice in the seventh.
That accounted for all of the Ravens’ baserunners.
But AU remained in the game behind a solid effort by freshman pitcher Brian Page. He lasted 7 2/3 innings, scattering 10 hits and being charged with both earned runs.
Page pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the third inning and stranded runners in scoring position in the second, fourth and fifth. Manchester finally broke through again in the eighth on a two-out single by Murphy against reliever Tyler Watson.
“Holding us to two runs, their pitcher threw well even though he’s a freshman,” Kimm said. “They’re going to swing it eventually. They always do every year.”
He was happy to see his defense improve, and he pointed to good offensive performances against HCAC rival Defiance over the weekend and Division I IPFW on Monday at Victory Field as signs of what the Ravens are capable of doing.
“I think we’re going to keep climbing,” Pressley said. “And we’re going to keep improving with a young team.”