WINONA LAKE – Grace’s softball team was unable to keep pace with No. 11 Indiana Wesleyan on Friday, losing 11-3 and 7-5 at Miller Athletic Complex.
The Lady Lancers (10-22, 4-14 Crossroads League) were outdone by three home runs in the first game, losing via run rule. The final game of the day saved the excitement for last as a seventh-inning rally came up just short for Grace.
Grace struck first in the opener thanks to Chandler Elliott’s RBI single to plate Sam Heim.
But the Wildcats (35-6, 16-4 CL) came alive offensively, pouring in 11 runs over the next four innings to win by the run rule.
The only other runs for Grace were scored in the third inning after Kyleigh Garner hit a two-out, two-run double.
Heim batted 2-for-3 with two runs and a stolen base. Grace, who was held to five hits in the opener, had no other player with multiple hits.
Grace fell behind 7-0 in the second game and seemed poised to lose in a run-shortened game again, but the Lady Lancers demonstrated resolve to fight back.
Garner led off the fourth with a double and came home to score on a batted ball from Dori Knight, producing Grace’s first run.
The score remained 7-1 in IWU’s favor until the bottom of the seventh, where Grace nearly stole the game.
Grace quickly loaded the bases in the seventh thanks to two hit batsmen and a single from Hannah Herbster. Heim and Elliott drove in runs on consecutive at-bats, and Ashley Kleinbub scored two more runs with a single to the outfield.
With IWU clinging to a two-run lead, Emily Bobb and Morgan Tapscott reached safely to load the bases again. But the tying run was left on second base as Grace was retired with a called third strike to end the rally.
Elliott pitched a clean three innings of relief to end the game, giving up one hit and no walks.
Herbster hit 2-for-3 with a run, and Kaitlyn Heffner was 1-for-2 with a run scored.
The Lady Lancers are scheduled to be on the road Saturday at No. 2 Marian, depending on the weather forecast in Indianapolis.