Grace’s baseball team traveled to the Grand Park Sports Complex to play Marian in a nine inning Crossroads League matchup.
The Lancers (1-19, 1-5 Crossroads League) had several opportunities to get on the scoreboard, but they struggled to come through in the clutch. Grace ended the game with a total of 10 runners left on base. This allowed Marian (9-15, 3-3 CL) to come away with a 6-0 win.
Cameron Maxwell started the game with a single on the very first pitch he saw. Austin Baker followed with a single of his own two batters later to give Grace runners on first and second with one out; however, both runners would be stranded there to end the inning.
David Anderson got the start on the mound for the Lancers. It did not take long for Anderson to get into a rhythm. In his first inning of work he set the Marian bats down in order including striking out two. In the second inning, the Knights were threatening with runners on first and second with one out. A fly out and a fielder’s choice followed to give Marian the bases loaded with two outs. Anderson slammed the door with a strikeout to keep the game scoreless.
Grace had a chance to grab an early lead in the third inning. Two walks set up an opportunity with runners at first and second with one out. Marian got the second out of the inning via a pop fly to the shortstop. With two outs, Gabe Douglass singled to left field, but Maxwell was thrown out at home while attempting to score from second.
Hunter Ackerman maneuvered around the bases to give Grace an opportunity to score in the fourth inning. After reaching on an error, Ackerman stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch. After two consecutive strikeouts, he would be stranded on third base to end the inning.
Marian broke the scoreless tie in the fourth inning. A one-out triple set the stage for the Knights to take the lead. A catchable popup in foul territory would have given Grace its second out of the inning, but it was dropped by Douglass. Marian took advantage on the next pitch with a RBI single to centerfield to earn a 1-0 lead. Anderson was able to limit the damage by forcing a double play ball by the next batter.
Grace could not respond in the fifth. Ethan Brooks started the inning with a single, but he would not move from first base.
Marian would begin to pull away in the bottom of the fifth. The Knights started their half of the frame with a double. It seems like Grace was going to work its way out of the jam after a strikeout and fly out followed the double; however, another double extended Marian’s lead to 2-0. The Knights would plate another run in the inning to make the score 3-0 heading into the sixth inning.
The Knights would nearly put the game out of reach in the bottom of the sixth. Marian added two more runs to its lead thanks to three hits and a walk to make the score 5-0.
With time running out, Grace had another prime opportunity to make some noise at the plate. Houston Haney started the eighth inning with a single, followed by a walk by Baker. Another walk by Will Swisher loaded the bases for the Lancers with one out. A strikeout and a fly out ended the inning and killed the momentum for Grace.
Marian added another insurance run in the eighth inning thanks to a double followed by a two-out single. The Lancers failed to put up a fight in the ninth inning as they lost game one in the series 6-0.
Maxwell, Haney, Baker and Swisher had a hit and a walk each. Anderson finished with 5 innings pitched, 2 earned runs and 5 strikeouts. Jordan Noska provided two innings of relief, including a scoreless seventh inning.
Grace is scheduled to finish its series against Marian on Tuesday in a doubleheader. The first pitch of game one takes place at 1 p.m.
Grace’s softball team was unable to put together two complete games in a doubleheader loss at Spring Arbor on Monday.
The Lady Lancers let a late lead slip in the opener during a 5-4 loss, and the Cougars (11-10, 5-5 Crossroads League) completed the sweep 10-4 in the second game.
Grace outhit Spring Arbor 10-7 in the opener and seemed poised to take the game.
The Lady Lancers (8-16, 2-8 CL) were blanked for the first five innings as SAU pulled ahead 3-0. Two runs in the first inning by the Cougars were unearned, benefitting from a two-out error by Grace.
Grace broke onto the scoreboard and nearly won the game in the top of the sixth. Chandler Elliott and Ashley Kleinbub led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and Kyleigh Garner tied the game with a three-run bomb over the right field fence. Garner’s blast was the first home run of her career.
Olivia Scarbrough continued Grace’s surge with a single, and Britney Young doubled to bring in Scarbrough for the go-ahead run to make the score 4-3.
But the Cougars rallied back in the bottom of the sixth. Hannah Middlebrooks retired the first two batters in the inning, but SAU managed to tie the game with two timely hits. The Cougars then took the lead off a Grace error on the next at-bat.
Grace put two baserunners on during its final at-bats, but the final two batters were retired.
Middlebrooks threw well in a complete game. The freshman allowed two earned runs with seven hits from the mound.
Elliott was 3-for-4 from the plate, and Kleinbub and Garner had two hits apiece.
SAU scored in the first inning during the second game as well. The Cougars plated two times in the first and second innings to grab an early lead.
Grace scored one run in the second inning thanks to a well-executed squeeze bunt from Young to score Kleinbub.
In the top of the third, Grace tied the game with three more runs. Sam Heim plated on a fielding error by the Cougars, and Garner hit a two-out, two-run double to make the score 4-4.
But the Cougars won the game in the fourth and fifth innings. SAU scored twice in the fourth and hit a grand slam in the fifth. Grace was unable to produce a comeback over the final innings.
Garner was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and Heim batted 2-for-3 with a run and a stolen base.
The Lady Lancers will play a doubleheader at Concordia on Thursday and at Huntington on Friday.