The Manhattan Optimist Monarchs 18U softball team started the season with five games at the Memorial Day NIT tournament in Kansas City last weekend. The Monarchs fell 7-3 in the first game to the Knights. Kenzie Kruse homered and Abigail Chainey, Kat Range and Taylor Strickland all singled in the loss.

The Monarchs lost their next game 13-8 to TNT despite a late rally. Strickland had a pair of doubles, while Amira Bivins singled twice and Chainey tripled. Emily Genereux recorded a single and Kruse added a double, too. The Monarchs lost in their third game of the tournament, 9-0, to Velocity. Jenna Nelson, Chainey, Bivens, and Range recorded the only hits of that matchup for Manhattan.

Kruse provided an offensive highlight in a 9-1 setback to the Nebraska Flames, posting a double.

The Monarchs’ lone victory of the tournament came against the Hype, in a game where they trailed 3-0 but mounted a comeback to win 5-4. Kami Tiedman singled on a bunt while Kruse legged a double. Strickland secured the victory with a walk-off double.

The Monarchs couldn’t keep up the momentum, losing the following game to the Travelers 8-1, where Dori Robinson, Chainey, Kruse, Genereux and Rangle all hit singles. The Monarchs lost their final game of the tournament in a tight, 2-1 loss against the Missouri Flamez. Sam Berg and Rangle had doubles while Kruse and Tiedeman singled in the one-run defeat.

Chaney, Genereux and Strickland handled all pitching duties for Manhattan during the tournament.

The Monarchs will return to the diamond this weekend, taking part in the Oklahoma City Challenge.