Baseball Stories

Postseason awards come in for Grace


WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Joey Hickerson, Jacob Bloom and Dellos Schabel each received individual accolades for their performance on Grace's baseball season during the 2013 season.

Hickerson headlined Grace's awards when he picked up honorable mention status for the All-Crossroads League Team. The sophomore outfielder batted .319 with six home runs and 15 stolen bases in the leadoff role for the Lancers.

Hickerson, Bloom and Schabel each made an appearance on the NCCAA Midwest Regional Team as well. Bloom paced Grace offensively with a .389 batting average, pounding out 12 doubles and 37 runs driven in.

Schabel was the NCCAA Regional Relief Pitcher of the Year after posting a staff-low 2.61 ERA in 14 appearances. In Crossroads League competition, Schabel allowed just five earned runs in 21.1 innings, holding opponents to a .224 batting average.

Grace's season ends at Taylor


UPLAND, Ind. - The Grace baseball team wrapped up the 2013 season with a pair of losses to Crossroads League leaders Taylor University on Saturday.

The Lancers fell 7-1 in the opener before slipping 15-6 in the second game.

Joey Hickerson helped Grace get on the scoreboard first in the opening inning when he hit a leadoff double. Hickerson moved along the base paths and came to score off the bat of CJ Swartz.

That proved to be the only tally of the game for Grace. The Trojans recorded seven runs on nine hits en route to their victory.

Dillon Papa finished 2-for-3 to pace the Lancers from the plate.

In the second game, Taylor held a four-run edge over Grace entering the fourth inning.

The Lancers struck back to tie the game with four runs in the top of the fourth, but the Trojans pulled away for a nine-run win.

Grace struggled in the field with four errors, allowing five unearned runs to plate.

Jacob Bloom batted 2-for-4 in the second-game defeat, Brook Vosler scored a pair of runs, and Jeff Watkin drove in two runs.

The defeat ends the careers of Grace’s five seniors: Clifford Buttermore, Jeff Himes, Matt Helm, Kier West, and Jason Smith.

Lancers come up just short to Taylor


WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace’s baseball team gave the Crossroads League-leading Taylor University all it could handle on Friday.

But the Lancers fell in a pair of one-run games (5-4, 10-9) from Miller Field in their home finale for the 2013 campaign.

In the first game, Grace held a 4-2 lead over the Trojans after a three-run outburst in the fifth inning.

After back-to-back singles by Dillon Papa and Quentin Herbster, Jeff Himes came up to bat with runners on first and third and two outs. Himes then laid down a perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt to plate Papa.

CJ Swartz singled next to score Herbster and Himes on the next at-bat, handing the Lancers a two-run lead over Taylor.

The Trojans flexed their offensive muscles in the top of the sixth, however, with six hits and three runs to reclaim a small 5-4 lead.

Grace placed a runner on second base in both the sixth and seventh innings, but they were unable to bring either baserunner home to lose by one run.

Swartz finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a stolen base.

The Trojans jumped ahead 2-0 in the first inning with a two-run homer. Joey Hickerson helped Grace strike right back with a leadoff home run over the left-field fence.

Taylor tacked on two more runs with a two-out rally in the second to go along with five runs in the fourth. All hope seemed lost when the Lancers found themselves trailing 10-2 in the bottom of the sixth.

But Grace dug deep to rally with seven runs in the sixth to pull within 10-9 of the Trojans. Grace ripped off six hits along with three walks. The Lancers loaded the bases with two outs, but their rally was cut short with a fielders’ choice to second base.

The Trojans retired the first three batters Grace sent up in the bottom of the seventh, holding on for the 10-9 victory.

Hickerson, Jacob Bloom and Jeff Watkin each finished 2-for-3, and Swartz was 3-for-4 to conclude an outstanding day at the plate. Both Swartz and Hickerson drove in two runs while Hickerson scored twice as well.

The Lancers will get two more shots at Taylor in the regular-season finale on Saturday 1 p.m. from Upland, Ind.

Pair of nailbiters results in split for Grace Baseball


WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Crossroads League foes Grace and Bethel combined for a pair of tightly contested baseball games on Monday with each team winning one of two.

The Lancers scored four runs in the 10th inning to win 8-4 in the opener before falling 2-1 in a pitchers’ duel.

Grace needed a seventh-inning rally to send the first game into extra innings. Bethel held a 4-0 lead heading into Grace’s half of the seventh.

Jeff Himes and Frank Rocchio got the Lancers’ rally started with consecutive RBI singles, and Jacob Bloom’s sacrifice fly scored Joey Hickerson to put Grace behind 4-3 with two outs. Himes then tied the game on the next at-bat when he scored on a Bethel throwing error.

The score remained deadlocked at 4-4 until the top of the 10th inning when Grace ripped off four runs. Bethel committed three errors to aid Grace’s cause.

The Pilots tallied two hits in the bottom of the inning and also had a batter hit by a pitch, but a 6-4-3 double play and a pop out to second base retired the side.

Dellos Schabel earned the win from the mound by tossing four innings of scoreless ball, and Michael Reitz tossed 1.1 innings of relief without yielding a run.

Joey Hickerson started the game from the mound, yielding two earned runs and five hits in 4.2 innings. He also went 3-for-6 with a run and a stolen base from the plate.

Steven Hovermale was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and Dillon Papa plated twice as well.

Offense was much harder to come by in the second game as the game entered the bottom of the sixth inning scoreless.

The Pilots struck first when they scored a runner from third base on a wild pitch.

Grace countered with the tying run in the top of the seventh. Hovermale reached base on a walk and advanced to second base on a ground ball. Jeff Watkin then singled to center field to bring in Hovermale and tie the game.

Bethel won the game in their next at-bats, however. The Pilots loaded the bases with one out and singled in the game winner to left field.

Matt Helm took the loss despite giving up just seven hits in six innings.

CJ Swartz and Jeff Watkin recorded the only two hits of the second game for Grace.

Grace, nearing the end of the regular season, has one four-game series remaining against Crossroads League leader Taylor University. The Lancers remain one game behind the Pilots for eighth place in the league standings.

Grace’s home finale will be against Taylor on Thursday at 2 p.m. They will wrap up the regular season on Saturday 1 p.m. at Taylor.

Lancers split with Pilots on Senior Day


WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace’s baseball team kept its postseason hopes alive with a split of Bethel College on Saturday.

The Lancers’ Senior Day saw an opening-game loss before rallying late in the second game to win 4-1.

Grace is currently one game behind Bethel for eighth place in the Crossroads League. The top eight teams in the league will compete in the postseason league tournament in May.

Bethel jumped on the scoreboard first in the opener with a five-run second inning. The Pilots (11-27; 8-16 CL) led off the inning with two straight hits and were aided by a pair of Lancer fielding errors to score five runs.

The Pilots picked up two more unearned runs in the fourth inning to grab a 7-0 lead.

After mustering just one hit over the first five innings, Grace’s bats came to life in the sixth with a pair of runs.

With two outs on the board, Grace (13-19-1; 6-16-1 CL) produced back-to-back RBI singles from Jacob Bloom and CJ Swartz to cut Bethel’s lead to 7-2.

But Grace’s rally fell short as Bethel added another tally to win 8-2. The Pilots outhit the Lancers 12-4 in the opener.

Bloom finished 2-for-3 in defeat for the Lancers.

The Pilots struck first again in the second game when they scored a first-inning run against freshman lefthander Jared Holloman.

Holloman kept Bethel off the scoreboard for the next five innings, putting the Lancers in an opportunity to rally.

Jeff Himes tied the game in the third inning with a two-out single to score Brook Vosler.

The go-ahead run for Grace came in the sixth inning when Himes reached base on an error. Bloom singled Himes to second base, and Swartz’s RBI single on the next at-bat put the Lancers on top.

Frank Rocchio added another RBI single, and Steven Hovermale’s sacrifice fly ball gave Grace a 4-1 lead.

Dellos Schabel came in to pitch the top of the seventh inning and saw Bethel load the bases in their final at-bats. But Schabel held on to record the save and keep the Pilots from scoring a run.

Seven different players for Grace recorded a hit. Holloman picked up the win from the mound by tossing six innings of five-hit ball, allowing one run without a walk.

Grace’s Senior Day honored their five outstanding seniors: Clifford Buttermore, Matt Helm, Kier West, Jeff Himes and Jason Smith.

The Lancers will take on the Pilots again on Tuesday in Mishawaka, Ind., for a 2 p.m. doubleheader.

Marian edges out Grace in 10-inning thriller


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Grace’s baseball team fell in an extra-innings clash with Marian University in the first half of their doubleheader on Monday.

The Lancers’ rally in the bottom of the 10th inning came up short in a 6-5 loss in the opener before Marian eased away with a 14-2 victory in the second game.

The doubleheader was originally scheduled to play at Miller Field, but field conditions resulted in Grace traveling down to Indianapolis to play the Knights at MU Ballpark for the second series in four days.

Marian took the lead three times in the opening game, and the first two times Grace battled back to tie the score.

Jeff Himes and Joey Hickerson scored in the bottom of the fourth inning to knot the game at 2-2. In the sixth inning, Hickerson plated his second run of the game on an RBI single by CJ Swartz to tie the score again at 3-3.

The Knights threatened to score in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and nobody out. But Dellos Schabel produced a brilliant piece of pitching by striking out the next batter and getting the following Knight to ground into a double play to escape unscathed.

Marian plated three unearned runs off two Lancer errors in the top of the 10th inning to take the lead for good.

Grace was poised to tie the score again in the bottom of the 10th inning. The Lancers scored two runs and had the bases juiced with two outs, but their comeback ended prematurely with a ground out to the shortstop.

Swartz batted 3-for-4 with three runs driven in for Grace, and Himes batted 3-for-5. The Lancers outhit the Knights 11-7 in the game, but their four errors hurt the team’s cause.

Marian’s offense ran past Grace in the second game. The Knights tallied 14 runs on 21 hits, holding the Lancers to two runs on five hits.

Tyler Weber finished 2-for-3 from the leadoff position for Grace, and Jacob Bloom doubled in a 1-for-2 performance.

The Lancers are scheduled to play at Saint Francis for a doubleheader on Tuesday at 2 p.m.

Grace baseball splits with Marian on the road


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Grace’s baseball team earned a split on the road when they took on Crossroads League opponent Marian University on Friday.

The Lancers displayed balanced hitting and remarkable pitching from Clifford Buttermore in Grace’s opening 11-1 victory before succumbing to fielding errors in their 4-2 defeat in the second game.

Buttermore allowed one run in a seven-inning gem in the first game. He walked one, struck out six batters and gave up eight hits to earn the win from the mound.

The Lancers gave Buttermore more than enough offensive support with 11 runs on 16 hits. Every Lancer who batted managed to record a hit as eight different players scored a run for Grace.

After being held off the scoreboard for the first two innings, Grace pounded out 11 runs over the final five innings.

Jeff Himes produced three RBIs on 2-for-4 hitting, and Brook Vosler finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored. Tyler Weber, Jacob Bloom, CJ Swartz and Brady Ousley each tallied multiple hits in victory.

Grace’s second game with Marian was even in nearly every statistical category except for one – errors. The Lancers were responsible for two fielding errors compared to zero for the Knights, allowing Marian to score two unearned runs in their 4-2 win.

Grace scored first when Swartz batted in Himes and Joey Hickerson in the opening inning. But the Knights capped off their rally with two runs in the third inning and the winning two runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Jared Holloman was the unfortunate loser on the mound for Grace despite tossing a six-hitter against the Knights. The Lancers and the Knights each tallied six hits, but Grace stranded eight baserunners compared to four for the Knights.

Hickerson and Swartz notched two hits from the plate for Grace.

The Lancers will have two more games against Marian on Saturday at Miller Field. The first pitch is slated for 2:30 p.m.

Lancers breeze past Maple Leafs


WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace’s baseball team put on its finest Crossroads League performance of 2013 in a sweep of Goshen College on Sunday.

The Lancers (11-15; 4-12 CL) made short work of the Maple Leafs, winning 11-4 and 6-1.

Grace fell behind 1-0 in the opener before playing “small ball” put the team back in front in the third inning.

CJ Swartz opened the third inning with a single, and Brook Vosler sacrificed him to second. Another single from Tyler Weber put runners on the corners with one out, and Goshen was called for a balk to plate Swartz.

A fielding error by the Maple Leafs (3-28; 2-16 CL) again put runners on the corners, and Joey Hickerson laid down a squeeze bunt to the right side of the infield to score Weber.

In the top of the fourth, Goshen placed a runner on third base with two outs. Grace handed Goshen their second run when they dropped a fly ball for the potential third out of the inning.

The Maple Leafs in turn handed the Lancers a few runs in the bottom of the fourth. Goshen was credited with three errors and another balk as Jeff Watkin, Frank Rocchio, Dillon Papa, Weber, Jeff Himes and Hickerson all came around to score in the inning, and the Lancers never looked back.

Rocchio added a solo home run in the fifth inning in the team’s 11-4 win.

Swartz batted a perfect 4-for-4, and Weber finished 3-for-4 in the leadoff position. Matt Helm picked up the win from the mound by tossing five innings of five-hit ball, striking out four batters in the process.

The Lancers got off to a fast start in the second game with three straight RBI hits in the first inning to stake a 3-0 lead. Their spurt included consecutive doubles from Hickerson and Jacob Bloom.

Mike Shank added a two-run single in the fourth inning, and Swartz singled in another tally in the fifth to increase the Lancers’ cushion to 6-1.

Kier West impressed from the mound with a complete-game three-hitter. He needed just 75 pitches to retire the Maple Leafs, striking out three batters and walking none.

Shank, Hickerson and Papa each notched two hits for Grace, and Bloom scored twice.

The Lancers’ next league games are on Thursday when they travel to Marian for a doubleheader at 2 p.m.

Grace splits in wild doubleheader with Goshen


GOSHEN, Ind. - Grace’s baseball team had a memorable doubleheader with Goshen on the road on Saturday as 43 runs were scored in the two games.

The Lancers’ incredible seventh-inning rally went for naught in a 10-9 defeat in the first game before blowing out the Maple Leafs 20-3 in the second game.

Goshen racked up eight runs in the second inning of the opener and led 9-1 heading into Grace’s final at-bats in the top of the seventh inning.

But the Lancers made an improbable charge with eight runs to tie the game. Grace notched seven hits, including a grand slam from senior Jeff Himes, in their rally. Himes’s home run brought the Lancers to within one run, and Jacob Bloom singled in the game-tying run to score Joey Hickerson in dramatic fashion.

Their efforts were in vain, however, as Grace’s defense was not able to hold Goshen in the bottom of the seventh. After a leadoff single, Grace handed the Maple Leafs the winning run with a hit-by-pitch and two walks.

Tyler Weber and Bloom finished 2-for-4 in defeat.

After a quiet, scoreless start to the second game, Grace erupted for 20 runs over the final four innings to pull away for a win.

The Lancers tallied 14 hits with three doubles and 11 singles. The Maple Leafs helped Grace’s cause with six fielding errors.

All nine batters for Grace registered a run, led by four runs from Himes and three runs apiece from Weber, Bloom and Jeff Watkin. Bloom and Himes batted 3-for-5 in victory, and Bloom and Brady Ousley each drove in four runs.

Grace will host Goshen in a rematch at Miller Field on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Lancers grab first league win of season


WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace’s baseball team took down the Crossroads League leader for their first league victory of 2013 on Thursday.

The Lancers split with Spring Arbor with a 4-1 defeat in the first game before staging a comeback to win 4-3 in the second game.

Clifford Buttermore took the loss from the mound in the opening game despite allowing just three hits and three walks in a complete-game effort. Grace was credited with six errors in defeat, allowing the Cougars (11-10; 7-1 CL) to record four unearned runs.

Spring Arbor used Lancer fielding errors in both the fourth and fifth innings to get on the scoreboard.

The Cougars benefited from two errors in the fourth inning to stake a 2-0 lead. They also recorded one of their three hits in the game during the fourth.

The fifth inning saw Grace make an error on the first at-bat. The Cougars’ leadoff in the fifth proceeded to steal two bases and score on a squeeze bunt.

The Lancers (8-14; 1-11 CL) picked up their second hit of the game off a home run by Joey Hickerson in the seventh inning. His blast over the centerfield fence on the first pitch of his at-bat was his fifth homer of the season. Grace was unable to manage another baserunner after Hickerson’s home run, however.

In the second game, Grace trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the third before Hickerson reached base on a fielding error. Jacob Bloom then knocked a towering double over the rightfielder’s head to plate Hickerson.

The Cougars notched another run in the top of the fourth before the Lancers rallied to take their first lead of the day in the bottom of the fourth.

A single, walk and hit-by-pitch allowed the Lancers to load the bases with one out. Grace head coach Bill Barr then surprised Spring Arbor by calling a squeeze bunt, which Tyler Weber laid down to perfection in scoring Dillon Papa and reaching base safely.

An overthrown ball by Spring Arbor allowed Brook Vosler and Mike Shank to plate the go-ahead runs with two outs.

Dellos Schabel took care of the rest from the mound, keeping the Cougars off the scoreboard over the final three innings to secure Grace’s first league victory of the season. Schabel struck out six batters and allowed three hits in three innings of relief, picking up the win to his credit.

The Lancers will hope to continue their winning ways on Saturday when they travel to Goshen College for a doubleheader at 1 p.m.

Lancers overcome by Spring Arbor


SPRING ARBOR, Mich. - Grace’s baseball team continued its recent skid with a pair of losses to Spring Arbor on Tuesday.

The Lancers fell 11-3 in the opening game of the twin bill before wasting a strong pitching performance from freshman Jared Holloman in a 2-0 defeat in the second game.

The Cougars (10-9; 6-0 Crossroads League) blitzed the Lancers from the outset of the opener, claiming a 10-0 lead after three innings were completed.

The Lancers (7-13; 0-10 CL) found signs of life in the top of the fourth inning with a three-run outburst. Frank Rocchio and Steven Hovermale led off the inning with consecutive singles, and CJ Swartz walked as all three advanced along the base paths to score.

Grace loaded the bases in the top of the fifth inning as well with one out, but the Lancers were unable to capitalize by scoring another run.

Rocchio led Grace from the plate by going 2-for-3.

Holloman recorded the best outing of his young collegiate career in the second game of the doubleheader. He allowed two runs on seven hits in a complete-game effort.

The only two runs of the game were tallied in the bottom of the third inning. A two-out triple allowed two Cougars to score in what proved to be the game-winning hit.

The Lancers, who were held to just two hits, were unable to produce a rally after Spring Arbor’s runs. Rocchio and Swartz tallied one hit apiece for Grace in defeat.

Grace left six runners stranded on base in the second game compared to seven for Spring Arbor.

The Lancers will hope to snap their 11-game losing streak on Thursday with a rematch against Spring Arbor at Miller Field.

Huntington takes two from Grace


HUNTINGTON, Ind. - Huntington University proved to be too much for Grace’s baseball team on Saturday as steady offense lifted the Foresters to a pair of wins.

The Lancers were hampered by three errors in a 5-2 loss in game one before slipping 8-3 in the second half of the twin bill.

Grace tallied a single run in both the top of the first and third innings thanks to the bat of Joey Hickerson. The outfielder blasted a home run on the third pitch of the day in the first inning and tallied an RBI single in the third to plate Steven Hovermale.

Huntington countered back with two runs in the bottom of the third to regain the lead as Grace stumbled with a pair of fielding errors. The Foresters added two more insurance runs later, and Grace was unable to score again for the rest of the contest.

Hickerson was 2-for-3 for the game. He also pitched for the Lancers, allowing four hits and three walks in six innings.

Grace trailed 2-0 in the second game before tying the game in the top of the fourth inning.

The Lancers executed a squeeze bunt to score their first run when Jeff Watkin’s bunt scored Dillon Papa from third base. Brady Ousley singled on the next at-bat to bring Jeff Himes home.

The Foresters again had a response in their next at-bats with three runs in the fourth and three more in the sixth to ease away for victory.

Ousley was a perfect 3-for-3 in the second game with two RBIs, and Papa was 1-for-3.

The Lancers continue league play on Tuesday when they travel to Spring Arbor for a doubleheader.

Lancers come up short against Foresters


WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace’s baseball team dropped its first two home games of the 2013 season on Friday to Huntington University.

Errors plagued Grace’s first game in a 4-0 defeat before Huntington eased away to a 10-3 victory in the second game.

Clifford Buttermore was efficient on the mound in the opener, allowing just four hits and one unearned run for the Lancers. But Grace committed five fielding errors to hand the Foresters three of their four runs.

Huntington scored one run in the top of the first inning, one in the third and two more in the seventh.

Offensively, Grace was handcuffed with just two hits. The Lancers managed to place a runner in scoring position in the fifth and seventh innings, but they were unable to produce a run either time.

Jeff Himes and Steven Hovermale recorded Grace’s two hits in a losing effort.

In the second game, the Foresters scored six runs in the top of the first inning after notching four singles and a double.

Grace’s offense finally got on the scoreboard with two runs in the bottom of the sixth and another on the seventh, but their effort was not enough to overcome Huntington’s massive first inning.

A double from Jacob Bloom plated Jeff Himes and Joey Hickerson with two outs in the sixth. Jeff Watkin produced another two-out RBI in the seventh inning with a single to left field, scoring Hovermale. Bloom tallied two hits in the second game.

Matt Helm took the loss from the mound. Kent Judy pitched a scoreless seventh inning for Grace.

The Lancers will conclude their season series with the Foresters on Saturday when they travel to Huntington, Ind., for a doubleheader.

Grace nipped by Wildcats in pair of games


MARION, Ind. - The Grace College baseball team dropped two close games on Saturday to Indiana Wesleyan.

The Lancers fell 2-1 in extra innings in the opener before losing 6-2 in the second game of the doubleheader.

Indiana Wesleyan went ahead 1-0 after five innings when a double and a single scored a run. Grace was quick to respond, however, with a game-tying run in the top of the sixth.

Jacob Bloom initiated the inning with a single and then stole second. A wild pitch advanced Bloom to third, and Matt Morgart’s ground ball allowed Bloom to scamper home and tie the game.

Neither team managed to earn a baserunner in its half of the seventh inning. The Wildcats won the game in the bottom of the eighth with a sacrifice fly to plate Quinn Nofziger.

Joey Hickerson highlighted Grace’s loss by pitching all seven innings in defeat. He allowed seven hits without a walk while also going 1-for-4 from the plate himself.

Grace appeared to erase their disappointing loss in the opener with a quick 2-0 start in the second game.

A two-out single from Brady Ousley scored Hickerson and Jeff Himes in the top of the first inning.

The Wildcats, however, swung the game back in their favor for good with three runs on four hits in the bottom of the first.

Indiana Wesleyan added two more insurance runs in the fifth inning and another in the third to ease away for their 6-2 win.

Ousley led Grace from the plate with a 2-for-3 performance with two RBIs.

The Lancers will get another shot at the Wildcats on Tuesday when they host Indiana Wesleyan for a doubleheader at 2 p.m., weather permitting.

Pitching strong for Grace in defeat


MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - Seniors Clifford Buttermore and Matt Helm were impressive on the mound for Grace, but the Lancers still dropped their Crossroads League opening doubleheader to Mount Vernon Nazarene on Friday.

The Lancers were only outhit 11-10 in the pair of games, but the Cougars escaped with a 3-2, 2-0 set of victories.

Grace struck first in the third inning of the opener with a Jeff Himes RBI single to plate Brook Vosler.

The host Cougars regained the lead, however, with two runs in the fourth and another in the fifth to claim a 3-1 advantage.

Himes helped Grace start a potential comeback when he led off the sixth inning with a single and came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Jeff Watkin.

But Grace’s rally came up one run short with a three-up, three-down seventh inning.

Buttermore took the loss on the mound despite yielding just six hits and two earned runs. He walked zero batters and struck out three.

Himes and Jacob Bloom finished 2-for-3.

Matt Helm pitched a complete game for the Lancers in the second half of the doubleheader and took the loss with just five hits allowed.

The Cougars scored the only two runs of the game in the fifth inning due to a pair of Lancer errors. Mount Vernon needed one hit in the fifth inning to score their two runs.

Grace’s best chance to score came in the second inning when Bloom led off with a walk, and Watkin followed that up with a double to left field. But the Cougars erased Grace’s threat with three consecutive outs, including throwing out Bloom at home on a fielder’s choice.

Bloom tallied half of Grace’s hits in the second game with a 2-for-2 performance.

The Lancers will hope to pick up their first league victories of the season on Saturday when they travel to Indiana Wesleyan.

Lancers off to best start since 2010


WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace’s baseball team had one of its finest spring break trips in recent memory thanks to an explosive offense under first-year head coach Bill Barr.

The Lancers’ start of 7-3 is the team’s best opening record since 2010.

Grace split doubleheaders against both Trinity Christian and Trinity International in Winterhaven, Fla., including an impressive 15-5 drubbing of Trinity International on March 6.

Calumet College of St. Joseph proved to be little opposition to Grace, falling 9-3 and 9-0 to the Lancers on March 4.

The Lancers have averaged 8.0 runs per game, which ranks No. 5 in the NAIA, while batting .339 as a team over the first 10 games (No. 11 in NAIA).

The two-headed offensive monster of sophomore Joey Hickerson and junior Jacob Bloom has highlighted Grace’s start. Hickerson leads the nation in hits per game (2.0/game) and runs per game (1.6/game). He is currently batting .500 with a team-best three home runs and seven stolen bases.

Bloom boasts a robust .576 batting average to rank No. 2 in the NAIA. He has blasted out four doubles, two triples and a home run, and his 2.2 RBIs per game tops the nation. He notched seven RBIs in Grace’s 15-5 win over Trinity International.

Jeff Himes (.400 batting average) and Tyler Weber (.316 average) have also been major contributors to Grace’s offense.

From the mound, seniors Matt Helm and Clifford Buttermore have led the pitching staff. Helm’s 1.38 ERA is the team’s best mark, and Buttermore has posted a 2.45 ERA in 22 innings pitched. Buttermore struck out 13 batters in a one-run, eight-inning gem against Cairn University on March 10.

Hickerson has been strong in the pitching rotation as well with a 3.21 ERA in two appearances, and Dellos Schabel has a 3.72 ERA in three relief appearances.

Grace is scheduled to open its Crossroads League season on Thursday with a doubleheader at Mount Vernon Nazarene. The Lancers’ home opener is set for Tuesday at 2 p.m. against Indiana Wesleyan.

Lancers sweep first games of 2013


OAKLAND CITY, Ind. – The Grace College baseball team started its 2013 campaign with a pair of wins on Friday against Oakland City University.

The Lancers (2-0) won 7-5 to kick off the season before taking the second half of the doubleheader 6-5 in eight innings.

Grace started its season with a five-run first inning against Oakland City. Jacob Bloom earned the first run of the season with an RBI single to plate Joey Hickerson.

Tyler Weber then hit a two-run single to bring in Bloom and Frank Rocchio. Jeff Watkin and Weber scored later in the inning to lift the Lancers to a 5-0 lead.

Oakland City used a triple to score one in the bottom of the first and added two more in the third.

The Lancers looked to put the opening game out of reach by tacking on two more runs in the top of the sixth on scores from Matt Morgart and Jeff Himes.

The Oaks (0-2) added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth and were poised to score again with runners on the corners and one out. But a line out to third and a pop out retired Oakland City’s threat. The Oaks could only manage one more baserunner in the seventh inning to end the game in Grace’s favor.

Grace was outhit 13-5 in their win, but the Lancers also picked up six walks and four hit-by-pitches.

Hickerson led Grace by going 2-for-3 with a run and a stolen base. Bloom and Weber each tallied two RBIs.

Buttermore was the winner on the mound with a complete-game effort. He struck out six batters with zero walks and 13 hits.

Grace held on for an extra-inning thriller in the nightcap, 6-5.
Neither team could break the 4-4 deadlock in their half of the seventh inning, taking the game to a decisive eighth.
Brook Vosler got the Lancers going with a one-out walk. He then advanced to third on a throwing error by Oakland City. After a strikeout, senior Himes produced the go-ahead RBI single to center field.
Himes's alert baserunning brought him all the way to third base, and Rocchio singled to right field to score Himes in what would be the winning run.
Dellos Schabel, who pitched five innings in relief of starter Michael Reitz, faced a bases-loaded situation with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but strong defense allowed Schabel to hold on for the win. Grace picked up the second out on a force out at third base, and they clinched the victory with a pop out to first base.
Himes scored three runs on 3-for-5 from the plate, tallying two doubles. He and Rocchio tied for team honors with two RBIs. Hickerson finished 2-for-5 with a triple.
Schabel earned the win on the mound by allowing three hits and one run in five innings.

The Lancers’ next game is their 2013 home opener. Grace will host Trinity Christian on Thursday at 12 p.m. for a doubleheader at Miller Field. Listen to the call of both games live here.

Barr pilots Grace Baseball in 2013


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – A new era for Grace College baseball is set to commence this weekend when the Lancers open the 2013 season under first-year head coach Bill Barr.

Barr has coached baseball for 22 years, most recently at Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi, W.V. He is more than familiar with the Crossroads League, having graduated from Mount Vernon Nazarene and coached successfully at Indiana Wesleyan.

The Lancers have high expectations for Barr’s first season. According to Barr, the players want to set a school record for wins in 2013 and have worked tirelessly in the offseason to achieve that mark.

“I really want the guys to play to the best of their ability. We want to be a team in every sense of the word,” Barr said. “If we play with courage, have high expectations of ourselves and have confidence in each other, we can have a great deal of success.”

Grace’s grinding offseason work was designed to reflect the grueling Crossroads League schedule of 36 games in 40 days.

Barr is hoping a deeper pitching rotation this season will be up to the task of a long season.

Seniors Clifford Buttermore and Matt Helm highlight Grace on the mound. Buttermore led the Lancers in 2012 with a 3.39 ERA, striking out 59 in 58.1 innings. Helm (4.35 ERA) fanned 35 batters in 39.1 innings.

Kier West, Michael Reitz, Joey Hickerson, Dellos Schabel and Tim Weber add much-needed depth and pitching experience in what should be a strength for the team this spring.

Offensively, Grace will need to replace two of the more prolific hitters in team history. Nate Wottring graduated as the all-time leader in hits and doubles, while Josh Petry left as the school’s RBI king.

Replacing some of the “better hitters in the conference,” according to Barr, won’t be easy. But returners Jeff Himes (.326 batting average), Hickerson (.382) and Jacob Bloom (.276) are ready to continue last year’s success.

Grace will also hope to counter the losses of last year’s seniors with a top-notch defense. Barr has brought in several athletic infielders – including freshmen Frank Rocchio, Brady Ousley and Dillon Papa – to pair with returners Brook Vosler and Matt Morgart in anchoring the infield. Rocchio, in particular, has demonstrated strong leadership skills, according to Barr.

“We’ll have to play a balanced game this year. We need to play defense and have some timely hitting,” Barr said. “We are working hard to be a good contact-hitting team that runs the bases well. We’re focusing on moving runners and getting bunts down to make our game a little bit more diverse.”

Although the Lancers are working hard to progress on the field of competition this year, the team under Barr is working just as hard off the field.

“We are teaching a lot more than just baseball. We are trying to teach life lessons and to set them up to be successful both here at Grace and beyond,” Barr said. “The guys have a lot of makings of a championship team with their character, heart and work ethic. If we play consistently and to our potential, we’ll have a good year and a winning season.”

Opening day for the Lancers is Friday when Grace will travel to Oakland City to kick off the 2013 season.

Grace to host pair of winter camps


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's baseball team is putting on two camps this winter. Grace's Christmas Camp will be held on Dec. 14-15 which will be followed by a Winter Camp on Jan. 19, 2013.

Head coach Bill Barr, along with assistant coaches and Grace baseball players, will provide 1-on-1 instruction and specific skill development for hitters, pitchers and catchers.

All aspects of the game of baseball will be covered with an emphasis on hitting and pitching. Barr, who is in his 21st year as a head coach, will direct all clinic instruction and activities and will be aided by collegiate coaches and players.

For more details along with registration information, download the Camp Brochure or email Coach Barr at barrb@grace.edu.

Grace Fall Showcase & Clinic


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace baseball coach Bill Barr is pleased to announce that the team will be holding a free Fall Showcase on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Miller Field.

The showcase will include a pro-style workout and scrimmage featuring high school 2013 and 2014 graduates as well as junior college freshmen and sophomores.

The team will also offer a Baseball Skills Clinic that morning for players as young as 8 years old up to high school seniors. The clinic will offer instruction in all areas of the game, helping players better prepare for the spring season. The clinic is being offered for $45 for early registration or $55 to register the morning of the clinic.

If you wish to register for either the free fall showcase or the skills clinic, email Coach Barr at barrb@grace.edu or call 574-265-8656.

You may also register by printing off the Registration Form. Please include your check made payable to "Grace College Baseball" if you plan to attend the clinic. You may mail in your form to:
Grace College
Attention: Bill Barr
200 Seminary Dr.
Winona Lake, IN 46590

Please keep in mind that all participants hereby waive, release and discharge Bill Barr, and the respective staffs, employees, successors, and assigns, of and from any and all rights and claims for damage resulting in injury of my person or property, which may be sustained or suffered by me in connection with my association with or participating in, or arising out of my traveling to or from the Grace College Baseball Clinic and Showcase.

Lancer Baseball Insider, Summer Edition


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – As the summer gets into full swing and campus has quieted down, the Lancer baseball staff has been busier than ever.

This summer edition of the Lancer Baseball Insider will take a look at the recent changes in the Lancer baseball coaching staff, another future Lancer and review statistical leaders from the 2012 season.

Go Lancers!

Volume 1, Issue 5

First Annual Grace Summer Showcase


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s baseball coach Bill Barr is pleased to announce a new tradition in Lancer baseball. The first annual Grace Summer Showcase will be held on Monday, June 11, and Friday, June 15, at Grace’s Miller Field.

Each day of the showcase will include a pro-style workout and scrimmage featuring high school 2012, 2013 and 2014 graduates as well as junior college freshmen and sophomores.

Click on the links below to view and print out the informational flyer and the recruiting profile form.

You can get registered two ways, the first is to download the profile form and follow the directions below. You can also just print off a copy and fill out the form and then scan, take a picture or post mail it in to us.  The address to mail in your form is below. Any questions can be directed to the showcase staff at gracecollegebaseball@gmail.com

Directions for E-Form:   1. Open the attachment in Adobe Reader
2. Click the “Sign” button in the top right hand part of your screen and then fill out the form.
3. When you have completed the form click the “Done Signing” bottom in the toolbar on the right.
4. Save the document to a folder and change the title of the document to your full name.
5. Email us back at gracecollegebaseball@gmail.com and attach the document,  please don’t forget to tell us your first and second choice of days for your workout.

Address for Registration to be mailed to:
Grace College
Attn: Bill Barr
200 Seminary Drive
Winona Lake, IN 46590


2012 Grace Summer Showcase
Showcase Recruiting Profile Form

Bill Barr becomes next coach for Grace baseball


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace College has announced that Bill Barr will serve as the next head coach of Grace’s baseball team.

Barr, who has served as an assistant athletic director and associate head baseball coach at Grace for the past five months, assumes control of the Lancer baseball program from Josh Bailey. Bailey has accepted a job with Wildman Business Group.

“It’s been incredible having Bill as a member of our staff this year. We believe it will be an easy transition for him to move in as coach,” said Grace athletic director Bailey Weathers. “We’re sad that Josh [Bailey] decided to take a full-time position off campus, but we’re excited to have Bill lead the baseball program. Bill does a great job teaching fundamentals, particularly working 1-on-1 with the guys and with game management. We’re really excited to have Bill continue with the program and expect him to lead the team forward to great things.”

Overall, Barr’s résumé includes 22 years of experience coaching baseball, including 14 at the collegiate level, and seven years of experience as an athletic director. Before coming to Grace in January, Barr was most recently the head coach at Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi, W.V.

“We anticipate great things for the future within Grace and the baseball program. I appreciate the opportunity to be the head coach for Grace,” Barr said. “The players, parents, administration and athletic department have made me feel welcome, and I appreciate the hard work that the players, Coach Bailey and his staff have done to move the program forward to the point it is today.”

In Barr’s first season coaching Alderson-Broaddus in 2010, he directed the Battlers to one of their most successful seasons in program history.

Alderson-Broaddus, an NCAA Division II school, was expected to finish fourth in their division of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC), but Barr guided the team to its first division title in school history and a 27-14 overall record.

Barr was named the WVIAC Coach of the Year as a result, and the Battlers were ranked in the top 10 of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association for the Atlantic Region during the season.

“My past experiences with Grace College as a competitor and now as an employee have been very positive and professional, which is a main reason my family and I came to Grace,” Barr continued. “I understand the challenges we face moving forward but believe that the Lord has a plan and will lead us in a positive direction by blessing our efforts.”

Prior to his work at Alderson-Broaddus, Barr coached the baseball team at Oklahoma Wesleyan University from 2005-09.

In the year before Barr arrived at Oklahoma Wesleyan, the team finished 4-51. In Barr’s final season at Oklahoma Wesleyan, the team broke the school record for wins with a 29-26 season. Barr also nearly doubled the baseball roster during his tenure.

Barr, who is nearing 300 career wins as a head coach at the collegiate level, had a successful stint at Indiana Wesleyan University. Overall, Barr took the Wildcats to four consecutive appearances in the NCCAA National Tournament and set the school record for wins when the team finished 32-21 in 1994.

While at Indiana Wesleyan, his teams averaged 22 wins per season, and he was awarded as an NAIA District Coach of the Year twice and an NCCAA Regional Coach of the Year twice.

Barr graduated from Mount Vernon Nazarene University with a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education in 1983 then went on to obtain a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Ashland University in 1992.

Barr is married to Jacki, and the couple has two daughters named Bethany and Brittany.