By Kevin Schrock
After starting the season 4-5, the University of Findlay softball squad has come back to win 14 of their last 17 games, including eight wins in a row. Leading the charge has been sophomore pitcher Chelsea McManaway. The lefty earned Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference pitcher of the week honors for her performance over the past few games, which included a no-hitter.
The Oilers played their opening conference series on Friday March 25 against Northwood University. They claimed a 10-1 win in game one, before McManaway made history in game two. She tossed six innings without allowing a hit. The lone base runner would reach because of a second inning walk.
“The key to my recent success is honestly my team,” said McManaway. “My team and coaches have backed me one-hundred percent and I cannot thank them enough for the continuous support they have shown me.”
Although the Oilers only managed six hits in that second game, six additional walks and a Northwood error allowed Findlay to cross the plate eight times which would be more than enough for McManaway. The Oilers claimed the 8-0 win to stretch their win streak to six.
The following day the Oilers played two more games at their home field, these put them up against conference foe Lake Superior State. Game one saw the Oilers score nine runs on 13 hits in just five innings of play. They cruised to a 9-1 victory over the Lakers.
In game two, after getting two solid innings of pitching from Jenna Inman, McManaway was back on the mound. She did her best to duplicate her performance from just a day before. However, after four more no hit innings she allowed a single in the seventh before striking out the final two Laker hitters to finish the game. With the win the Oilers found themselves in the middle of an eight game winning streak.
“This year we all connect and we’re all a giant family,” said McManaway. “I think that is the biggest difference in our team right now.”
Still, with plenty of season left the Oilers know that they cannot let off of the gas pedal now. They have the majority of their conference schedule left to play, and none of those games will be easy.
“We just have to take it game by game,” said McManaway. “Our team always brings the intensity to practice and games and it’s really showing up on the field. There’s not much more you can ask from us right now.”
The Oilers will be in action Tuesday at Ohio Dominican before they are back inside the friendly confines of their own Anderson Park on Thursday when they take on out of conference opponent Northwestern Ohio.