WHITING, Ind. - It was a busy weekend of softball for the Foresters as they hit the road for a pair of non-conference doubleheaders; sweeping Manchester University, 9-6, 8-4, Friday afternoon before dropping both games to a talented Calumet College of St. Joe squad, 7-6, 5-3, on Saturday.
With only Indiana Wesleyan left on the schedule before postseason play, HU moves to 18-16.
Against the Spartans on Friday, both teams made the most of their nine hits in game one to plate plenty of runs and give the fans plenty to cheer about.
After spotting Manchester a three-run advantage after the first frame, Huntington wasted little time countering. With bases loaded in the top of the second, Bailey McIntire worked a base on balls to log HU’s first RBI. Katie Knous, who posted the inning’s only hit, then made her way home on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 3-2.
The third inning proved to be even more prosperous for Coach Gower’s squad as they pounded out five hits to manufacture just as many runs and take a permanent lead.
Katie Bowers started things off with double to right center, Lindsay Shellabarger reached base on a bunt and then Emily O’Leary blasted one out of the park to give her team a 5-3 lead. Freshman classmates McIntire and Katie DePew each came up with run-scoring singles to push the lead to 7-3.
MU outscored the Foresters 3-2 the rest of the way with HU’s runs coming by way of a passed ball in the fourth and an RBI single by Bowers in the seventh to keep the Spartans at arm’s length.
Bowers and Shellabarger each finished with two hits. Bowers also scored two runs and drove in another while O’Leary registered three RBI and scored twice.
Emily Puterbaugh notched the win in the circle. She tossed six innings and gave up six runs, three earned, on seven hits and three walks while striking out four. Ariel Sheets logged an inning of scoreless relief.
The nightcap started off similar to the opener as the Spartans took a 3-0 lead before their visitors finally got on the board. HU’s big inning came in the fourth. O’Leary and Shellabarger opened things up with back-to-back singles and Knous drew her first of two walks in the contest to load the bases.
Pazia Speed knocked in the first run of the frame on an RBI-groundout. A throwing error and wild pitch resulted in two more runs scored and then Annie Weaver capped things off with a sacrifice bunt to plate the final run of the inning to give HU a 4-3 advantage.
Huntington had a little help on their fifth run when Knous, who had singled earlier in the inning, eventually came around to score on a passed ball in sixth.
HU added three more runs to their total in the seventh thanks to RBI base pokes by Bowers and Shellabarger and another passed ball. Manchester got one back in their half of the frame but it wouldn’t be enough as the Foresters cruised to the win to complete the series sweep.
Annie Weaver, O’Leary and Shellabarger pounded out two hits apiece. Weaver and Shellabarger also tallied an RBI as did Speed.
Sheets picked up her second win of the season. In five innings on the mound, she gave up seven hits, three runs, two of which were earned, and one walk while striking out four.
In Saturday’s opener, HU outhit Calumet 10-8 but it didn’t translate into more runs as Crimson Wave’s Kristen Ashby belted one over the fence in the bottom of the sixth to outlast their visitors for the 7-6 win.
The first five innings weren’t kind to Huntington as they struggled to keep Calumet off the boards, giving up a plethora of runs to dig themselves in a 6-0 hole.
Fortunately HU didn’t go down without a fight, mounting an impressive comeback in the top of the sixth to knot things up at 6-6.
Bowers wasted no time trimming the lead in half by registering her sixth homer of the season, a three-run shot. Two singles and an out later, Allison Greene knocked in her team’s fourth run and then eventually came around to score, along with Speed, on a Crimson Wave error to briefly even things up before Ashby came up with her game-winning dinger.
Classmates Bowers and Greene each finished with two hits. Bowers scored a run and added three RBI to bring her season total to 23 while Greene scored a run and drove in another.
Sheets took the loss for HU. She tossed the first four innings and gave up four runs, one earned, on four hits.
The nightcap saw Bowers record her second homer of the day but it wouldn’t be enough as the Foresters played catch up the entire contest before succumbing to the 5-3 loss.
The Crimson Wave scored in the first and third innings to jump out to a 2-0 lead before the Foresters finally pieced together a two-run rally in the fourth. After Bowers opened up the inning with a lead-off double, O’Leary knocked her in with an RBI-single and then came around to score on a Pazia Speed run-scoring base poke to deadlock things at 2-2.
Despite Bowers’ seventh inning blast, the Foresters couldn’t contain Calumet’s offense as the Crimson Wave scored a run in each of the final three innings to clinch the win.
Taking the loss was Kaylin Yon who went the distance and gave up seven hits, five runs, only two of which were earned, and two walks while striking out five.
Bowers recorded a double and homer to pace HU at the plate. She also scored a pair of runs and posted an RBI. O’Leary also tallied two hits, scored and a run and drove in another.
HU wraps up its regular season today when they face the Wildcats of Indiana Wesleyan at 2:00 p.m.