By: Jake Renie
FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin softball team welcomed conference foe Manchester for Senior Day on a beautiful Monday (Apr. 22) afternoon at Behrens Field. Playing in front of a large crowd, the Grizzlies game their home fans plenty to cheer about with a sweep of the Spartans, giving them wins in six straight conference games.
Game one started as a back-and-forth contest before a power surge in the fourth inning propelled the Grizzlies (15-13, 7-3 HCAC) to a 9-2 win. Game two started off as a pitching duel but the Spartans (10-18, 4-6 HCAC) fought off a four-run deficit in the seventh to take the lead before Franklin countered with two in their final trip to the plate, earning a thrilling 6-5 win.
Game One: Franklin 9 – Manchester 2
Shelby Mager earned a walk early in the second inning, and Danielle Wyse later drove her home with a double in left-center to start the Grizzlies' scoring. The Spartans would later tie it up in the third, and then take their first lead of the day lead with another run scoring in the fourth.
Franklin turned to their bats again in the bottom of the fourth, tacking on five more runs to take the lead for good. Emily Thompson capitalized on a throwing error to tie the game at two and later in the inning, Monica Collins smashed a ball into left center, driving home both Taylor Bounin and Justice Carmichael. Lexi Gaffney and Collins would slide into home later in the inning when Sydney Logsdon smacked a single into right field, stretching the lead to 6-2.
Collins became another insurance run in the sixth, scoring on a fielder's choice. Wyse continued a stellar opening game with a two-run single later in the inning, plating Logsdon and Natalie Weber.
Kayla Selzer (7-7) would control the Spartan lineup in the circle, tossing her eighth complete game of the year. The junior allowed just one earned run and six hits with four strikeouts and no free passes allowed.
Game Two: Franklin 6 – Manchester 5
After four innings with only three hits accumulated, the Grizzlies looked to their bench in search of a spark in the fifth. Freshman Makiah Thomas stepped up with the bags full and two outs and delivered a two-run single to open the scoring. Franklin loaded the bases again in the sixth inning, plating two more runs with a Justice Carmichael sac fly and a Monica Collins single, doubling their lead as the final inning approached.
Down to their final three outs, the Spartans rallied for five runs in the top of the seventh, taking their first lead of the day and turning the heat up on the Franklin bats. The Grizzlies replied in emphatic fashion in the bottom of the inning, putting two runners on to start the inning before Wyse knocked in the tying run with a two-out RBI single. On the very next pitch, Abby Hickson dropped down a beautiful bunt, scoring Sydney Logsdon to give the Grizzlies their first walk-off win of the year.
Alisha Burch started game two, lasting 6 1/3 innings while allowing four earned runs and six hits. Wyse (2-1) picked up the win, recording the final two outs of the seventh inning.
Franklin wraps up their six-game homestand on Tuesday (Apr. 23) afternoon with two league games against Transylvania University. First pitch from Behrens Field is set for 3:30 p.m.