WINONA LAKE – An otherwise close game between Grace’s baseball team and Marian was blown open thanks to the long ball on Tuesday.
The Knights (13-14, 7-4 Crossroads League) used three home runs to pull away from the Lancers 8-2 at Miller Athletic Complex. Marian was lethally efficient, scoring its eight runs on 10 hits.
The game was scoreless for the first three innings as Blake Converset kept Marian off-balance from the mound. The Knights, however, broke onto the scoreboard with a three-run homer in the top of the fourth.
In the bottom half, Grace threatened with a two-out rally thanks to back-to-back singles from Jamar Bray and Jason Stevens, but the potential run-scoring inning was snuffed out with a pop out.
Marian doubled its lead in the fifth after a sacrifice fly and a two-run home run put the Knights ahead 6-0.
Grace got a measure of revenge with a homer of its own in the bottom of the fifth. With a runner on first base, Shay Hepler launched a 2-2 pitch over the right field fence to give the Lancers a spark.
The Knights countered with a leadoff solo home run in the sixth and added an insurance run in the seventh for the final 8-2 scoreline.
The Lancers (12-17-1, 4-8 CL) had baserunners in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, but Grace was unable to string together multiple hits in any of those frames.
Kyle Brunner was Grace’s most effective pitcher, tossing two clean innings to end the ballgame. He allowed one hit and one walk in those two innings.
Hepler finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run, and Jason Stevens was 1-for-4 with a double. Bray and Xavier Harris batted 1-for-3, and Hunter Ackerman scored as a pinch runner.
The Lancers end the week with a three-game series at Spring Arbor over the weekend.