For The Herald Bulletin
NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. —
The Anderson University softball team became the first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference team to win three straight postseason tournament championships on Saturday, defeating Manchester University 5-1 in the second championship game.
The Spartans won the first championship game 3-2 in eight innings to force the “if necessary” game. Five teams had won back-to-back HCAC tournament championships, but the Ravens were the first to win three in a row.
It was also the record seventh tournament title for the Ravens in the 18 years of the tournament, and they hold the record with 17 appearances in the four-team event.
In the second championship game, Amy Wuestefeld led the Ravens offense with two hits and two runs, including a triple.
Lauren Smith and Megan Ream each had two hits and an RBI, including a double by Ream. Lys Hess added an RBI double, and Yardley Collett also had an RBI hit.
Smith earned the victory on the mound, allowing four hits and one run in seven innings while striking out four.
AU got two runs in the first inning and led 3-1 after four frames. It added insurance runs in the fifth and sixth innings. The Ravens outhit the Spartans 9-4 in the contest.
In the first championship game, the Spartans scored the game-winning run in the eighth inning without the benefit of a hit.
The leadoff batter reached on a passed ball after striking out and advanced to second on a groundout. She tagged and went to third on a flyout to right field and the throw back into the field went into leftfield, allowing the winning run to score.
Hess led the Ravens offense with a two-run homer, a double and two of the team’s five hits. Katy Ogden also had two hits in the game and scored a run.
Smith took the loss on the mound, despite not allowing an earned run. She pitched the final three innings, allowing two hits.
AU (25-15) will advance to the NCAA tournament next Thursday at one of eight regional sites. The tournament pairings will be released on Monday at 10 a.m.