The Grace College softball team nearly swept Bethel College on the road Monday, settling for a split.
The Lady Lancers gave up a two-out, walkoff winner in the opener to fall 2-1, and Grace rallied with a 9-6 victory in the second half of the twin bill.
In the opener, Grace lost by one run despite outhitting the Pilots (2-10, 1-3 Crossroads League) 7-4.
Dori Knight pitched a gem, giving up just two runs on four hits with four strikeouts, but she was saddled with the loss as Grace struggled to score runs.
Bethel struck first with a run in the top of the first, and Grace was silent for the first three innings.
Ashley Kleinbub tied the game with a solo home run in the fourth, and Grace threatened to take the lead when Sam Heim singled and stole second. But Heim was stranded on second.
The sixth inning will stand as Grace’s missed chance. Chandler Elliott and Kleinbub reached base safely to lead off the inning, and Knight also singled with two outs to load the bases. But the Lady Lancers (8-10, 2-2 CL) were retired with a line out to the infield.
Bethel won in the game in the seventh inning thanks to a two-out, RBI single.
Kleinbub batted 2-for-2 with a stolen base, and Heim was 1-for-3 with a steal.
Grace found revenge in the second game as the team manufactured its hits into runs. The Lady Lancers overcame five fielding errors and 10 runners left on base to win 9-6.
Grace scored early and often in the second game. Kleinbub doubled to plate Elliott in the first inning, and Grace never trailed again.
In the second inning, the Lady Lancers doubled three times—each time scoring a run. Emily Bobb’s double scored Heim, Hannah Herbster’s double scored Bobb, and Abby Mozingo’s double brought in Herbster.
Grace tacked on three more in the third inning, benefiting from Bethel errors in the inning to take a 7-0 lead.
The Pilots managed to score six runs between the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings, but Grace added an insurance run in the fifth and sixth.
Herbster got the win by pitching the first 4.2 innings, and Hannah Middlebrooks earned a hard-fought save. She tossed the last 2.1 innings, yielding just one hit with three strikeouts.
Herbster impressed from the plate, going 4-for-5 with 2 runs, 2 RBIs, 1 double and 1 steal, and Bobb was 3-for-4 with a double and a steal.
Mozingo had two hits and two RBIs, Kleinbub had two hits and two runs, and Heim plated twice.
The Lady Lancers will enjoy their home debut on Tuesday, welcoming No. 20 Marian for Miller Athletic Complex for a 3 p.m. doubleheader.
Grace’s baseball team enjoyed its first victory of the year against St. Francis on Monday.
The Lancers were quiet in the opening game during a 4-0 loss, but Grace came up with timely plays to win the second game 4-2.
The doubleheader, originally scheduled to be Grace’s home opener, was moved to Fort Wayne due to playing conditions in Winona Lake. Grace still batted as the home team despite playing in Fort Wayne.
In the first game, the Lancers (1-16, 1-2 Crossroads League) and USF both had eight hits. But the Cougars (5-14, 2-1 CL) walked away with a 4-0 victory.
All four of USF’s runs came in the fourth inning. The Cougars used five singles and a sacrifice fly to plate four times.
Grace had potential rallies snuffed out three times with a double play, occurring in the third, fourth and sixth innings.
Hunter Ackerman, who batted a perfect 3-for-3 in the game, tried to jumpstart a rally in the seventh with a double, but he was stranded on second base to end the game.
Kyle Brunner and Jordan Noska pitched clean innings of relief for Grace, and starter Scottie Clark went five innings with four strikeouts and four runs. Ethan Brooks reached base twice with a walk and a hit.
Grace’s bats came alive in the latter parts of the second game, propelling the Lancers to victory. The Cougars held Grace scoreless for the first four innings, but strong pitching from David Anderson kept the score close.
Anderson, who pitched seven innings to get the victory, held USF to two unearned runs from the mound.
Grace tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. William Swisher singled and reached third base after a walk and a balk. He then scampered home after Mitchell Enyart singled to the outfield.
In the sixth, Grace pulled ahead. Houston Haney doubled and stole third base. Austin Baker singled Haney in, and Baker went on to steal second. Swisher launched a double to right field, scoring Baker and giving Grace a 3-1 lead.
Ackerman hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to bring in Gabe Douglass for an insurance run.
Brunner and Noska combined again to lock up the Cougars over the final two innings, combining to allow no runs on one hit from the mound.
Swisher batted 2-for-3, and Haney and Enyart were 2-for-4. Baker plated two times, and Cameron Maxwell had a hit and two walks.
The Lancers travel down to Indianapolis on Tuesday for a 4 p.m. game against Marian.