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Manchester boasts local talent

– A Manchester roster packed with Indiana players is in Appleton, Wis., today for the first game of the NCAA Division III College World Series.

That roster boasts plenty of Fort Wayne-area players as well.

“We’ve stuck together, played together,” said Spartans senior Corey Marchant, a Bishop Dwenger graduate. “We have a lot of Fort Wayne guys and a lot of South Bend-area guys. We kind of knew each other going into college, but it’s been pretty cool getting to know each other here.”

Marchant is one of seven Manchester players from Fort Wayne. Manchester (39-5-1) has built its success this year, and the last four years, around in-state talent.

It has paid off for coach Rick Espeset.

“I’m very proud,” said Espeset, who is in his 17th year with the program and is also the school’s athletic director. “Everybody that’s traveling is going to be from Indiana. I think it speaks to the strength of Indiana baseball.”

Nerves will be in play during the first trip to the CWS for this group, which includes 10 seniors from Indiana.

“This group of kids hasn’t been to the World Series before,” Norwell grad Bryce Murphy said. “We’re excited to see what it has in store for us.”

Friends, family and locals have kept track, too. Being close to home has been a special experience for the players, including former Snider pitcher Justin Scott. Scott said he likes being just 40 minutes from home.

Those close to him have been able to follow him and the program’s success.

As the Spartans prepped for their second CWS trip in program history, that support was invaluable.

“It’s great,” Scott said. “People have been paying attention to us and kept asking how we’re doing and things. We’re having a lot of support, and it’s just great being so close and hearing so many people talk about us.”