By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The Anderson University softball team scored early and often to salvage a doubleheader split with Hanover Saturday afternoon.
After dropping a 2-0 decision in the opening game, the Ravens roared back with a 9-1 win in the second and that win clinched a spot in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament, to be held next Friday and Saturday.
The site of that tournament will be determined on the season’s final day. Manchester is in the driver’s seat with a 9-3 conference mark compared to 10-4 for the Ravens. Winning percentage determines the champion and thus the tournament host.
Manchester’s winning percentage is .750 after a sweep of Rose-Hulman on Saturday. AU now has a .714 percentage. Both teams have doubleheaders today, Manchester visiting defiance and the Ravens hosting Mount St. Joseph (2 p.m.). If Manchester sweeps, it will clinch the title and host the tournament.
“We didn’t get what we wanted (a sweep),” said AU head coach Tony Holloway. “But we sewed up a berth in the tournament. I’ve told you that since 2000 only the conference champion has won the tournament. We’re going to need some help if we want to host.”
The game the Ravens lost to open Saturday’s play was against the HCAC’s strikeout leader, Panthers sophomore pitcher Leah Kemmerer. Anderson three times got a runner to second with one out and once got a runner to second with two outs but couldn’t cash in with a big hit.
AU starting pitcher Sami Frazier gave up only two hits in the game and deserved a better fate than to be saddled with the loss. But Hanover’s two hits both came in the same inning, the fourth, and it brought home the only run the visitors would need to win.
Victoria Wilson singled to center to open the fourth. Kemmerer hit a line drive that was snagged by AU second baseman Lauren Smith. Smith threw back to first to try for the double play. The throw handcuffed Yardley Collett and the ball bounced toward the Raven dugout. Anderson catcher Natalie Moorhouse couldn’t get to the ball before it rolled into the dugout so Wilson was allowed to go to second.
One out later, Hanover’s Chelsie Nuhring punched a double over the drawn in outfield to score Wilson with the only run the Panthers needed.
“She lived on the outside corner and that’s our weakness,” said AU leadoff hitter Katie Lee, who reached base all four times she came to the plate. “She brought it pretty good.”
The Panthers added insurance in the seventh without benefit of a hit. Two walks, two wild pitches and a passed ball made it 2-0.
Anderson left little to chance in the second game. The first eight hitters in the game for the home team reached base and scored before an out was recorded. The big blow was a grand slam home run by Hagerstown sophomore Sorcha Cox. “I thought I hit it hard enough to go out but I wasn’t sure so I just kept running,” said Cox. “I wanted for us to score some runs for our seniors.”
Saturday was Senior Day for the Ravens.
Two seniors, Megan Ream and Lys Hess, each had two hits of the eight the Ravens amassed in four turns at bat.
“I thought we played tentatively in the first game,” said Holloway. “I think those were the two best pitchers in the conference in that game based on the way they are playing now.”
In the second game, AU starter Devin Moorman, also a senior, gave up four hits and one run to notch the victory.