Grace’s women’s golf team produced a strong performance as it continues the spring season.
The Lady Lancers improved their team score by 21 strokes and placed seventh at St. Francis’s Otter Creek Invitational.
Friday’s round was held at Otter Creek Golf Club, while Saturday concluded at Timbergate Golf Course.
Sydney Abbott was one of Grace’s steadiest golfers over the weekend. She carded 83 on Friday and dropped her score to 79 during her final round.
Rachel Harvey was second for the Lady Lancers, shooting 85-80.
Lauren Keiser produced a 169 (83-86), and Anna Marshall improved by 10 strokes to card a 170 (90-80).
Kristin Holt had the best improvement on the squad. After shooting 92 on Friday, the sophomore rallied with an impressive 81 during her final round.
“I was so proud of the ladies for turning things around today. We struggled a bit on Friday, but we played much better today,” said Grace head coach Denny Duncan. “I feel like we are starting to come around to our team’s potential this spring, which is very exciting.”
The Lady Lancers continue the spring season with the IU Kokomo Classic, held April 14-15 at the Kokomo Country Club.
Grace’s baseball team won its third straight game, sweeping St. Francis in a doubleheader on Saturday.
The Lancers (12-14, 8-7 Crossroads League) continued its impressive Crossroads League campaign by winning 9-8 and 15-7. Grace is currently third place in the league standings over halfway through league play.
In the opening game, Grace scored early and held on late for a one-run win. After three innings, the Lancers led 7-4.
Xavier Harris drove in the game’s first run in the top of the first, and he later came home to score after an error by the Cougars (12-25, 6-9 CL).
Grace took the lead for good in the third with five runs on five hits, all scored with two outs. The inning should have ended with a strikeout on Houston Haney, but USF dropped the third strike which allowed Haney to beat the throw and reach base safely.
The Lancers made USF pay. Later in the inning, Chris Griffin had an RBI triple, and Jacob Sapp drove in another run with a double for Grace’s seventh run.
The fourth inning saw Sam Newkirk score. The freshman doubled and then raced home after a single by Haney.
Griffin added another RBI with a solo home run in the fifth inning. But the Cougars countered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth to cut Grace’s lead to one.
But that proved to be the final runs of the game. Jacob Hammel came in and produced a clutch 6-out save. He did not allow a hit during the sixth and seventh innings, striking out three in the process.
Griffin and Harris both batted 2 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs, and RJ Snyder was 2 for 4 with 2 runs, 2 stolen bases and 1 double. Mitchell Enyart was 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI.
In the second game, Grace broke open a virtual deadlock with an explosive ninth inning.
The teams could hardly be separated for the first eight innings. Both sides plated twice in the third to start the scoring. Haney launched a two-out, two-run home run on an 0-2 count in the top of the third.
Grace scored two more in the fifth when Harris drove in a pair with a single, but the Cougars had tied the score 4-4 by the end of the sixth.
As the game entered the ninth and final inning, the teams still could not be separated with a 6-6 deadlock.
But in the top of the ninth, Grace unleashed a game-winning stretch. The inning started shakily for the Cougars with an error on the first batted ball. Enyart then had the go-ahead RBI with a single to score Harris. On the next at-bat, Sid Elford doubled to bring in another run.
Shortly afterwards RJ Snyder drove in a pair with a double, and Harris knocked in another with a single. Griffin put the exclamation mark on the inning with a three-run homer over the left field fence.
USF was able to score a run in the bottom of the ninth, but it was not enough to make up for Grace’s nine-run ninth.
Griffin was automatic at the plate, hitting 5 for 5 with with 4 RBIs, 2 runs, 2 triples and 1 home run. Harris was 2 for 5 with two runs and three RBIs, and Haney finished 3 of 4 with two RBIs.
David Anderson had 2 doubles, 3 runs and 1 stolen base, and Snyder was 2 for 5 with 2 runs, 2 RBIs and 1 steal.
Logan Swartzentruber tossed the first five innings, allowing three runs with six hits and a strikeout.
The Lancers return home on Tuesday for a 2 p.m. contest against Indiana Wesleyan.
Grace’s softball team debuted its sparkling-new Coach Phil Dick Field on Saturday, and the Lady Lancers split with rival Bethel in the home opener.
After suffering a 4-0 defeat in the opener, Grace ended the day on a high note with a 7-2 victory.
The new grandstands were filled in Saturday’s opener with hardly a seat left vacant by the game’s first pitch.
In the first contest, the Lady Lancers (8-22, 4-14 Crossroads League) were unable to get find their offensive stride. Grace threatened to open the scoring in the second inning on a single to left field by Andrea Castillo. The scoring threat was neutralized, however, when Taylor Asher was thrown out in a close play at home plate.
The score remained deadlocked at zero into the fifth inning before Bethel (9-21, 4-14 CL) was able to plate a pair of runs on a two-run single. The Pilots extended their lead in the sixth inning with two more runs.
The Lady Lancers put up a fight at the end, tallying three hits from Sam Heim, Jessica Kaurich and Britney Young. But Grace could not push a runner across home.
Heim finished 2 for 3 at the plate in addition to a strong performance as the Lady Lancers’ starting pitcher. Young also added a pair of hits.
Bethel got on the scoreboard in the top of the first, but Grace quickly took control of the game. After giving up a run from the mound in the first, Dori Knight quickly settled in. She struck out the side in the second inning, allowing Grace to take the lead.
Michaela Lee tied the game in the bottom of the second, perfectly executing a squeeze bunt to score Emily Bobb. But Grace was not done.
Jess Vandenboom followed Lee with a run-scoring double that plated Bethany Gardner. Heim built on her strong first game with a triple to plate Vandenboom, and Olivia Scarbrough singled through the right side of the infield to plate Heim and cap off a four-run inning.
The Lady Lancers added another trio of runs in the third inning. Asher scored first, and Gardner plated Castillo with a run-scoring single. Gardner then scored herself on a ground ball by Vandenboom.
Erin Lawhon took care of the rest from the mound. Lawhon did not allow a run to score in relief for the final 3.2 innings, yielding just one hit and no walks.
Gardner finished 2 for 3 with two runs scored and her first collegiate RBI. Heim continued her hot stretch with another 3 for 4 showing, and Morgan Tapscott also went 2 for 3 for the Lady Lancers.
Scarbrough had a pair of hits and an RBI, and Vandenboom drove in two runs.
The doubleheader opened up 12 consecutive home games for the Lady Lancers. Next week, Grace will play three doubleheaders at Coach Phil Dick Field, including St. Francis on Tuesday, Indiana Wesleyan on Thursday and Marian on Saturday.
TRACK & FIELD
Grace’s track and field team won a pair of events and also set a school record on Saturday at the George Glass Invitational, hosted by Taylor.
Isaac Brown broke his brother Nathan’s prior school record in the high jump. He cleared 6-feet-8.75 to hit the NAIA “A” qualifying standard.
The Lancers finished first and second in the men’s javelin throw. Thomas Hickerson won the event with a toss of 178-7, and Abbott Joy was runner-up at 161-6.
The men’s 4×800-meter relay squad also finished first. Brady Willard, Jonathan Balda, Brendan Hamilton and Kyle Smith crossed the finish line in 8:01.70.
Balda, Smith and Hamilton teamed up with Dylan Felger in the 4×400 to finish second at 3:29.05, and Smith was also eighth in the 400 at 50.95.
Elijah Brooks produced a personal-best time of 9:59.08 to finish second in the 3,000 steeplechase, and Korry Hamlin (15:53.51) and Ben Rankin (15:57.79) both broke the 16-minute barrier in the 5,000.
Grace’s men were well-represented in the throwing events. Walker Hobbs placed eighth in the shot put and hammer throw, William Shafer was sixth in the hammer and seventh in the discus, and Caleb Brown ended eighth in the discus.
On the women’s side, Nordia Campbell ran 12.75 in the 100 dash to place fifth, and she was seventh in the 200 at 26.40. She also ran in the 4×100 with Julia Malson, Alexis Williams and Olivia Lugibihl, which ended in third place (51.43).
Malson, Williams, Kaitlyn Mack and Makenzie Adams placed fifth in the 4×400 in a time of 4:19.63, and Mack was also fourth in the 400 hurdles at 1:10.06.
Jessica Zvers returned from a long layoff (injury) to run at strong 5,000 meter race in 19:35.23, and Jenna Duff also competed in the high jump for the first time this year after recovering from an injury. Duff placed sixth at 4-6.
Next weekend the Lancers will travel to the Huntington Invitational on April 13.