Wottring, Clark named All-Region First Team


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Pitcher Michael Clark and second baseman Nate Wottring were named to the NCCAA All-Region First Team on Thursday.

In his senior season, Clark boasted a 3.28 ERA and earned six wins on the mound, the most on Grace’s team. He also struck out 54 batters in 2011 and 163 during his career, ranking him second in all-time career strikeouts for the Lancers. His 12 career victories rank Clark in the top five in Grace history, and his six wins in 2011 rank him in the top three for single-season victories.

“Mike finished a great career with an outstanding season,” said head coach Josh Bailey. “His win-loss record doesn't do justice to how well Mike pitched this year. He was consistent all season and dominated at times. Being named to this regional team is a great way for Mike to complete his baseball career at Grace College.”

After breakout seasons in 2009 and 2010, Wottring continued the success he’s had at the plate during his junior season in 2011. Wottring led the Lancers with 48 hits, three home runs and eight doubles, and recorded a .322 batting average. He became Grace’s all-time career hits leader on April 23 when he blasted his 153rd career hit over the left-field fence to complete his climb to the top of Grace’s hitting records.

“Nate has been our best all-around offensive performer since his freshman year,” Bailey continued. “He produced again for Grace this season and was rewarded for his efforts by being named All-Conference and now All-Region NCCAA. We are excited to see what Nate is capable of accomplishing next year.  He has been a great representation of our program, on and off the field.”

Wottring Named to All-MCC Team


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Nate Wottring’s stellar junior campaign was capped off when he was named All-MCC by the Mid-Central College Conference.

Wottring led the Lancers from the plate with a team-best .322 batting average. Overall, he finished first or tied for Grace’s lead in six offensive categories including: at-bats (149), hits (48), doubles (8), slugging percentage (.450) and stolen bases (5).

He also cemented his name as one of the all-time greatest Lancer hitters on April 23, when he became Grace’s all-time leader for career hits.

His home run to left field against Saint Francis was his 153rd hit as a Lancer, breaking the record previously held by Mike Cox (1998-2001). He added four more hits before the season ended to increase his record to 157.

Grace's Pitching Not Enough in Play-In Series


MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Grace’s baseball team wasted strong pitching performances from Michael Clark and Clifford Buttermore in the Mid-Central College Conference Play-In Series and lost 3-0, 5-1 to Bethel College on Saturday.

The Lancers (16-30) were shutout in the opening game in the best-of-three series, managing five hits and a walk in nine innings. Senior Michael Clark continued his remarkable career from the mound by holding the Pilots (21-19) scoreless through six innings before Bethel tacked on a single run in the bottom of the seventh.

Grace had a golden opportunity to score first in the top of the seventh with runners on first and second with one out, but back-to-back strikeouts retired the side. After Bethel plated two more in the eighth, Josh Petry led-off the ninth with a single. However, the Lancers could not muster another baserunner.

Clark finished with three runs and five hits in eight innings pitched, striking out six and walking three. Petry, Brent Easterday, Cody Barrier, Jeff Himes and John Nuppnau recorded hits for the Lancers.

The story was much of the same in the second game. Clifford Buttermore gave up one earned run in eight innings from the mound, but the Lancers committed a pair of late errors in the loss.

Bethel’s Garrett Curless blasted a two-out solo home run to right field in the top of the first to make the score 1-0 – where it remained until the bottom of the seventh.

The Lancers misplayed a grounder and had a wild throw in the seventh, allowing the Pilots to plate four runs and open up a comfortable margin over Grace. Petry did his best to battle back, hitting an RBI single to score Wottring. But the Lancers continued to struggle scoring runs and could not manage to get closer.

The Lancers were only outhit 8-7 in the game. However, Grace did not record an extra-base hit in either of the losses on Saturday. In their last four games, Grace has scored two runs (all losses).

Buttermore struck out six batters and walked one in a losing effort.

Lancers' Offense Sputters against Marian


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Grace and Marian’s baseball teams both recorded seven hits and no errors in the opening game, but it was the Knights who came away with a 6-0 victory on Friday.

The Lancers (16-28; 5-17 MCC) failed to produce enough runs in the second half of the twin bill, falling 11-1 in the conclusion of the regular season.

In the opener, Grace was not able to string together their seven hits. The Lancers never topped two hits in an inning and could not record a walk to further their offense. Marian, on the other hand, used three singles, a double and two free passes to plate five runs in the fourth.

Cody Barrier finished 2 for 3 with a double to lead Grace offensively. Kier West took the loss from the mound, giving up six runs in four innings. Dellos Schabel came in to pitch two innings of scoreless relief.

The Lancers struck first in the second game off a two-out RBI single by Tyler Bokinsky. But the Knights (20-18; 17-5 MCC) pounded out a five-run second inning and a four-run fifth to end the game in a run-rule after five innings.

Grace had an opportunity to score in the top of the fifth inning after putting runners on second and third, but a strikeout ended their scoring threat.

Offensively, Grace produced four hits in the second game – one apiece from Josh Petry, Bokinsky, Cameron Spitaels and Kyle Knapp.

The Lancers will now turn their attention to the Mid-Central College Conference tournament. Grace finished eighth in the conference.

Wottring Becomes All-time Career Hits Leader


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Nate Wottring completed his climb to the top of the Grace College record books in dramatic fashion on Saturday.

Wottring, in only his junior season, drove a bomb over the left-field fence against Saint Francis to earn his 153rd career hit and become Grace College’s all-time career hits leader.

The home run on Saturday kicked off a stellar performance at the plate for Wottring, who went 2-for-4 in the first game and 2-for-4 again in the second game to total four RBIs overall on the day. Wottring now sits at 156 career hits with a handful of games to go in the season and an entire year remaining in his college career.

“To break the career hit record and not even be through your junior year shows you what type of player he is,” said head coach Josh Bailey. “He hit over .400 as a freshman, and since then, teams have learned how to pitch to him, but he’s adjusted. It was good to see him get that monkey off his back. And that home run was a good way to get it done.”

The Rochester High School standout broke Mike Cox’s record of 152 hits set between 1998-2001. Wottring totaled 54 hits and batted .403 is freshman year, tallied 55 hits and batted .337 his sophomore year and has contributed 47 hits this season.

“He’s always been consistent,” Bailey continued. “I don’t know if there has ever been a stretch of more than a couple games where he hasn’t gotten a hit. He’ll get one or two every game. I’m proud of his accomplishment. He deserves it.”

Clark Leads Grace to Victory against Saint Francis


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After dropping two games against the University of Saint Francis on Thursday, lone senior Michael Clark helped Grace seek its revenge in an 8-5 win against the Cougars on Saturday’s Senior Day.

Clark, just three days after pitching against Spring Arbor, struck out five batters and only surrendered three earned runs to improve to 6-4 on the season.

“It was another great performance off of only two days of rest,” said head coach Josh Bailey. “I thought he threw the ball better today. It actually got stronger as the game went on according to his velocity chart. It’s a senior performance, and we are going to miss him when he graduates. He has a bulldog mentality.”

The Lancers (16-26; 5-15 MCC) trailed Saint Francis 5-3 late in the game but exploded for five runs and four hits in the bottom of the sixth. Reagan Eakins singled to shallow left to score John Nuppnau, and with the bases juiced, Brent Easterday knocked an RBI double into deep left field to score two more runners. Jeff Himes completed Grace’s rally with an RBI-single to earn two more runs for the Lancers.

Along with Clark’s clutch Senior Day performance, Lancer fans witnessed another memorable moment in Grace baseball history when junior Nate Wottring knocked a home run over the left-field fence in the bottom of the fourth. The homer was Wottring’s 153rd career hit, making him Grace’s all-time career hits leader in only his third season with the Lancers.

“It was good to see him get that monkey off his back,” Bailey continued. “And that home run was a good way to get it done.”

Grace outhit Saint Francis 13- 8 in the first game. Himes and Eakins both went 3-for-4, Easterday was 2-for-3, and Wottring was 2-for-4.

In the second game, the Cougars (17-32; 9-11 MCC) capitalized on six Lancer errors to run away with the 13-5 victory.

After giving up six runs in the top of the second, Grace fought back to get within two runs (7-5) entering the final two innings. The Lancers buried themselves, however, making a number of errors that led to six unearned runs in the final two innings.

“I feel like we can play with every team in our conference,” Bailey said. “We literally gave them that second game. We just haven’t played consistently enough on defense.”

Himes capped off a stellar five-hit day at the plate with a 2-for-4 performance in the second game. Wottring was 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

Matt Helm closed the game on the mound for Grace and helped keep his team in the game, striking out three batters, surrendering two hits and not giving up a single earned run.

The Lancers return to action in conference play against Marian University at 2 p.m. on Tuesday in Indianapolis.

Wottring Ties Record, Lancers Fall to USF


FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Despite two losses against the University of Saint Francis on Thursday, Nate Wottring managed to tally three hits in the double header to tie Mike Cox as Grace’s all-time leader with 152 career hits.

Wottring, only in his junior season, went 1-for-3 in the first game and 2-for-4 in the second game. His tying hit came in the second inning when he hit an RBI-single to centerfield. In the first inning, he singled to third to get within one of tying the record.

The Lancers (15-25; 4-14 MCC), however, slipped narrowly 3-1 in the first game and lost handily 9-2 in the second game.

Clifford Buttermore continued his impressive freshman season, only giving up three Saint Francis hits and one earned run in the first game. A Grace error in the bottom of the third led to two unearned runs. Buttermore currently ranks fifth in the conference with a 3.33 ERA and first in batters struck out per nine innings with 9.98. He struck out two on Thursday.

Grace scored its lone run in the third inning. After three hits (John Nuppnau, Derek Zwier, Wottring), Nuppnau scored on a wild pitch to give Grace a 1-0 lead.

The Cougars (16-31; 8-10 MCC) totaled two unearned runs in the bottom of the third and added an insurance run in the sixth.

Saint Francis was outhit 7-3. Jeff Himes went 2-for-3, Grace only player with two hits.

In the second game, USF jumped to a 2-0 lead before Grace evened the score with two runs of their own in the top of the second. Zwier knocked an RBI-double into left field, and Wottring hit his RBI-single to tie the record.

The game remained neck-and-neck until the fifth and sixth innings when the Cougars tallied seven to run away with the 9-2 victory.

Grace was outhit 14-7 in the second game. Wottring was the only Lancer with two hits.

Grace is back in action against Saint Francis at home on Saturday for Senior Day. Michael Clark will be honored for his solid four-year career on the mound for the Lancers.

Lancers End Age-Old Drought against Spring Arbor


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – For the first time in head coach Josh Bailey’s four years at the helm of the Grace baseball program, the Lancers defeated Spring Arbor in conference play on Wednesday.

The Lancers (15-23; 4-12 MCC) mounted a come-from-behind 6-4 victory in the first game, scoring three runs in the sixth inning and three more runs in the seventh.

Grace entered the top of the sixth trailing 2-0 but picked up three runs in the sixth thanks to an RBI-single by Josh Petry and a clutch two-run homer by Cody Barrier.

After surrendering two runs in the bottom of the sixth to fall behind 4-3, it was Barrier that stepped up again in the seventh. With two outs and two strikes against him, the freshman doubled to left field to score Jacob Bloom, the tying run.

The next at-bat, Jeff Himes hit the go-ahead single to right field, scoring Cameron Spitaels, who was pinch running for Brent Easterday, and Barrier to take a 6-4 lead. Easterday and Bloom got on base early with singles to jumpstart the Lancers’ rally.

Grace outhit the Cougars (17-17; 9-7 MCC) 15-8 in the first game.

Easterday led the Lancers with a stellar 3 of 4 hitting performance. Nate Wottring, Bloom, Petry, Barrier and Himes tallied two hits apiece. Barrier totaled three RBIs, Himes tallied two, and Petry contributed one.

Michael Clark pitched a complete game to improve to 5-3 on the year.

"Mike pitched another great game for us," said head coach Josh Bailey. "He's been consistent for us on the mound all year. It was also good to get some clutch two-out hits in the first game. We've struggled to get those this year, but today's game should give us some confidence because of how they performed in the clutch."

The Lancers' bats went cold in game two as they mounted only four hits in an 8-1 loss to the Cougars. 

Easterday continued to deliver as he went 1 for 3 in game two, knocking in the Lancers' lone run in the fourth. Grace scattered four hits throughout the game with no one having more than one.

Wottring continued to move closer to breaking the all-time hit record as he mustered two more hits on Wednesday afternoon. He now stands just three hits away from tying the record and four from becoming Grace’s career all-time hit leader.

Due to Spring Arbor’s field conditions, the Lancers were considered the away team at Miller Field on Wednesday.

Lancers Drop Two Close Games against Trinity


PALOS HEIGHTS, Ill. – Grace slipped narrowly 6-4 in the first game and 6-5 in extra innings of the second game in their double-header against non-conference opponent Trinity Christian on Thursday.

The Lancers (14-20) struggled to get off to a strong start, surrendering all six runs of the first game in the opening two innings and five runs in the second game in the first two innings.

In the first game, Grace trailed 6-2 before picking up two runs in the fourth inning. The Lancers, however, were unable to complete their comeback and left three runners on base in the fourth and two on base in the sixth.

Jeff Himes went 2 for 3 from the plate, and Reagan Eakins went 2 for 4. Josh Petry tallied two RBIs, and Jacob Bloom had one. Clifford Buttermore struck out four batters on the day and gave up four earned runs.

In the second game, the Trolls (14-21) jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first two innings before Grace made its comeback. The Lancers picked up one run in the third, three in the fifth and one more in the seventh to tie the game 5-5.

Himes scored the tying run in the top of the seventh with a sacrifice fly that sent Tyler Bokinsky home. Bokinsky got on base with a double and advanced to third base when Cody Barrier singled.

Trinity, however, scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth to send the Lancers home winless.

Barrier went 2 for 4, and Himes concluded a solid day at the plate with two RBIs in the second game.

Grace split with Trinity Christian on March 8 earlier this season but couldn’t get it done on Thursday.

The Lancers return to action at Miller Field in non-conference play against Illinois Tech on Saturday for a double-header starting at 1 p.m. Michael Clark will be recognized for his stellar four-year career with the Lancers on Saturday’s Senior Day.

Grace Wins Second Game against Rochester


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace split against nonconference opponent Rochester College in its rainout game against the Warriors (11-14) on Wednesday.

The Lancers (14-20) racked up six errors that led to four unearned runs in their 12-5 loss in the first game, then exploded offensively with a 10-3 victory in the second game. They pounded out 14 hits and held Rochester to five hits.

The first inning continued to be Grace’s Achilles heel as the Lancers surrendered four runs to get behind the eight-ball early in the opener.

Grace did, however, make a near-comeback and picked up two runs in the first and second innings to trail 5-4 entering the third inning.

The Lancers scored two in the bottom of the first thanks to a hit-by-pitch and a walk with the bases juiced. In the bottom of the second, Nate Wottring knocked a double into left field and went on to score when teammate Jacob Bloom jacked an RBI double into deep left-center. Brent Easterday singled to shallow-left to score Bloom and earn the Lancers’ fourth run of the game.

The Warriors took a 6-4 lead in the top of the third, and Grace scored its final run of the game in the bottom of the fourth when Bloom singled to score Derek Zwier.

Reagan Eakins and Bloom both went 2 for 3 in the game. Grace had eight hits overall compared to Rochester’s 10. Christopher Valentine was credited with the loss on the mound for the Lancers.

In the second game, Grace jumped ahead with four runs in the first inning, aided by a double from Josh Petry that scored two runners.

Kier West did the rest from the mound. He gave up three runs on five hits and three walks for the complete-game victory. He struck out seven batters in an impressive performance. The Lancers added two runs in the second, fourth and sixth innings to provide more than enough run support for West.

Bloom finished a perfect 3 for 3 from the plate with two runs scored. John Nuppnau went 3 for 4, and Jeff Himes, Wottring and Reagan Eakins each finished 2 for 4. Himes knocked in three runs in the game.

The Lancers return to action on Thursday when they travel to Trinity Christian for a 2 p.m. doubleheader.

Lancers Falter against Wildcats


MARION, Ind. – Grace’s baseball team took Indiana Wesleyan into extra-innings before falling 2-1 on Tuesday. The Lancers’ defense fell apart in the second game with seven errors in a 5-0 loss.

Grace, who was coming off its first conference sweep in over five years, scored first in the top of the fourth inning. Nate Wottring reached base on a single and eventually reached third base.

Brent Easterday hit a sacrifice fly to score Wottring, and it appeared the Lancers (13-19; 3-11 MCC) would score again. But with the bases-loaded, Grace could only produce a fly out to end the threat.

The Wildcats (17-23; 8-8 MCC) evened the score in the bottom of the sixth, but the score remained tied at one as neither team could manage a baserunner in the seventh.

Jacob Bloom hit a one-out single in Grace’s eight-inning at-bats, but the Lancers could not manage to bring him home. The Wildcats, however, utilized a Lancer error and three singles to plate the winning run.

Michael Clark pitched solidly in the loss, giving up two runs (one earned) on eight hits, two walks and four strikeouts. Grace managed four hits – two from Bloom and one from Wottring and Derek Zwier.

Grace would not keep the score nearly as close in the second half of the twin bill, struggling offensively with five hits and defensively with seven errors.

Both teams recorded five hits in the second game, but the Wildcats amassed three unearned runs from Grace’s errors. The Lancers committed five total errors in the only two innings Indiana Wesleyan scored, but they could not bunch together enough hits to score a run.

Jordan Wodetski took the mound for Grace and took a complete-game loss. He gave up five runs (two earned) on five hits, one walk and one strikeout. Grace’s hits came from Bloom, Easterday, Tyler Bokinsky, Reagan Eakins and Cody Barrier.

The Lancers return to action on Wednesday for a doubleheader with Rochester College. The twin bill at Miller Field is set for 2 p.m.

Bloom's Walk-off Puts Lancers back on Winning Track


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Jacob Bloom hit a walk-off solo home run to snap a nine-game conference losing streak, and the Lancers won a pair of games over Goshen College on Saturday.

The twin bill victory was Grace’s first conference sweep in over five years – dating back to April 8, 2006, when Grace swept Huntington.

Clifford Buttermore threw a brilliant game from the mound in game one, allowing one unearned run in seven innings. He gave up five hits, walked none and struck out seven batters.

But Grace needed Buttermore’s performance to stay in the game as the Lancers (13-17; 3-9 MCC) produced only three hits against the Maple Leafs’ (9-28; 4-10 MCC) Spencer Oversen.

“There were definitely a lot of emotions breaking out of that slump,” said head coach Josh Bailey. “That first game, we were struggling to string together hits, but Clifford [Buttermore] was nearly perfect on the mound. He had to pitch out of some jams and battled for seven innings. It was a great performance.”

The Lancers battled back from a 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the sixth. Tyler Bokinsky led off the inning and reached second base from a fielding error. Brent Easterday then hit a pinch-hit single to score Bokinsky and level the score.

After holding Goshen scoreless in their top of the seventh, Bloom sent a 0-1 pitch over the left-field fence to end the losing streak with a 2-1 victory. Bloom, Easterday and Cody Barrier were the only Lancers to record base hits.

In the second game, Kyle Knapp initiated Grace’s offense with a leadoff single. After stealing second and third bases, he scored from a sacrifice hit by Bokinsky.

The Maple Leafs struggled mightily from the field, totaling six errors in the second game. Goshen had errors in the second and third innings, allowing Grace to take a 3-0 lead.

Goshen made its strongest push of the game in the fifth, loading the bases with nobody out. Senior pitcher Brad Heintz, however, came in off zero-days' rest to cool off the Maple Leafs and held Goshen to two runs before retiring the side.

The Lancers responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth then broke the game wide open with a grand slam from Nate Wottring. Grace completed the twin bill victory with a 10-3 win.

Wottring finished 2 for 4 with four RBIs and a pair of runs scored. Easterday and Knapp both scored twice for Grace.

“Our guys have been fighting hard and doing everything necessary to break out of that hitting slump, so it was gratifying to see that in the second game,” Bailey continued. “Goshen has been playing very competitive baseball, so it felt good to beat a team that’s playing well.”

Matt Helm started on the mound, yielding one run on four hits and three walks in 3.2 innings pitched.

The Lancers continue conference play on Tuesday when they travel to Indiana Wesleyan for a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m.

Huntington Eeks Past Grace for Sweep


HUNTINGTON, Ind. – The Lancers could not hold onto a late lead against Huntington University, yielding a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh to lose 6-5.

Grace allowed the Foresters’ (10-17; 7-5 MCC) leadoff hitter to single and reach third base on a wild throw. The Lancers (11-17; 1-9 MCC) were forced to load the bases as a result. They managed to get one batter out before giving up the game-winning walk.

Grace did its best to avoid the season sweep, battling from behind to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth. Josh Petry hit a pinch-hit RBI single, and Cam Spitael’s bunt scored Cody Barrier.

The lead increased for the Lancers with two more runs in the sixth inning. Barrier hit a sacrifice fly to score Derek Zwier, and John Nuppnau singled to score Jeff Himes.

Grace entered the bottom of the sixth up 5-2 before Huntington rallied to tie the score in the sixth and walk away with the victory in their final at-bat.

Himes recorded two of Grace’s five hits and scored three runs. Christopher Valentine and Brad Heintz shared pitching duties and combined to hold Huntington to seven hits.

The Lancers will return to action on Saturday when they welcome Goshen College to Miller Field for a doubleheader. The first game is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Lancers Continue to Struggle against Foresters


HUNTINGTON, Ind. – Grace’s losing skid continued against Huntington University on Thursday.

After losing two games on at home against Huntington on Tuesday, the Lancers (11-16; 1-8 MCC) were unable to get revenge on Thursday, falling 10-0 in the first game before the second contest was delayed because of rain.

The Foresters (9-17; 6-5 MCC) capitalized on four Lancer errors to run-rule Grace in five innings. Grace’s Achilles heel continued to be its opening inning, giving up four runs in the first, two in the second and four more in the fourth.

In the last eight games, Grace has yielded 21 runs in the first inning.

Grace was outhit 8-2 on the day, the Lancers’ only two hits coming from Jeff Himes and Derek Zwier.

After a big victory against Bethel on Mar. 29, the Lancers have gone on an eight-game losing streak in conference play.

They will try to avoid a four-game sweep against the Foresters in their rescheduled game on Friday at 6 p.m.

Errors Doom Lancers against Foresters


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace committed eight errors in a pair of conference losses to Huntington on Tuesday.

The Lancers (11-15; 1-7 MCC) misplayed five balls defensively in the first game en route to a 5-2 loss. The Foresters (8-17; 5-5 MCC) hit a double, a bunt single and a home run in the first inning to jump ahead 4-0.

That advantage proved to be all that Huntington needed. Grace produced only a pair of hits (Nate Wottring, Brent Easterday) and two walks from the plate.

Easterday’s home run in the bottom of the third earned one run for Grace, and the second occurred when Wottring came home off a misplayed grounder in the bottom of the seventh.

Michael Clark took the loss from the mound, yielding five runs on nine hits in seven innings. He struck out five batters.

In the second game, Grace tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the first. The Lancers took advantage of a Forester error to plate Wottring and Josh Petry.

But Grace’s futility from the plate (three hits in the game) allowed Huntington to pull away for a 10-2 win.

The Foresters tallied 14 hits and capitalized on three errors by Grace in the second game.

Grace will look to snap its current seven-game losing streak when they take on Huntington again on Thursday. The doubleheader in Huntington, Ind., starts at 4 p.m.

Trojans Too Much for Grace to Handle


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s baseball team continued its struggle against Taylor University, dropping its second straight doubleheader to the Trojans.

The Lancers (11-13; 1-5 MCC) could not plate a run in the first game in an 8-0 loss. Grace gave up a three-run fourth and a four-run fifth to the Trojans (16-11; 4-0 MCC) and were held to three hits.

Dennis Kan, Tyler Bokinsky and Reagan Eakins each recorded a single in the game.

Grace had twice as many hits in the second game but still fell 11-1 in a run-rule shortened game. The Trojans exploded for six runs in the fourth inning to break the game open. Taylor had 12 hits in the game.

Jacob Bloom had the Lancers’ lone run of the day with a solo home run in the third inning. He finished 2 for 3 in the leadoff slot. Jake Fitzgerald also went 2 for 3.

The Lancers return to action on Tuesday when they host Huntington University for a 2 p.m. doubleheader at Miller Field.

Grace Drops Two against Taylor


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace allowed six runs to score in the first inning against Taylor University, and the Trojans (14-11; 2-0 MCC) continued their dominance throughout the day, topping Grace 10-0 and 5-1 at Miller Field on Thursday.

Six of the first seven batters reached base for Taylor, aided by an error and a walk. The Lancers (11-11; 1-3 MCC) produced three hits and one walk in the first game. Nate Wottring, Reagan Eakins and Cody Barrier tallied Grace’s hits.

Taylor scored one in the second, two in the fourth and one in the fifth. The Trojans scored 10 runs on 10 hits.

Kier West replaced starter Jordan Kistler and gave up four runs (three earned) in 4.2 innings. He struck out three and walked five.

In the second game, Grace continued to struggle manufacturing runs. The Lancers recorded eight hits – equal to the Trojans’ production – but left seven runners on base.

Taylor grabbed a 5-0 lead through five innings before Grace started to show signs of life. Jake Fitzgerald came in to pinch hit with two outs in the bottom of the sixth and crushed a double to left field to score Tyler Bokinsky. But that was the end of Grace’s rally.

Christopher Valentine started for the Lancers, throwing five innings with three earned runs surrendered. Jordan Wodetski pitched strong in relief, tossing two scoreless innings.

Each of Grace’s eight hits in game two came from eight different players. Overall, Taylor stole seven bases in the doubleheader.

The Lancers get another shot at the Trojans on Saturday when they travel to Upland, Ind., for a doubleheader at 2 p.m.

Grace Snaps Streak with Win over Bethel


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – In the winter, Grace’s men’s basketball team made headlines by stopping a four-year drought to Bethel College.

But on Tuesday, Grace’s baseball team put to an end over half a decade of futility against Bethel, splitting a doubleheader against the Pilots (11-7; 3-1 MCC) at Miller Field.

The Lancers (11-9; 1-1 MCC) plated runs in each of the first four innings, scoring two in the first, three in the second and four in the third inning to take a commanding 9-2 lead.

Bethel got its share of hits (10) at the plate off Michael Clark, but the senior pitcher held the Pilots to five runs, striking out seven in a complete-game 10-5 victory.

As far as online records indicate, Tuesday’s win over Bethel snapped at least a 22-game losing streak.

“It was a good win and a good way to start conference season,” said head coach Josh Bailey. “Bethel is a good grind-it-out type of team. The win today is one step in a long process for us. It just helps solidify in our players’ minds that we are a good team.”

The Lancers finished with 11 hits on the day and were flawless from the field with no errors. The Pilots, on the other hand, recorded three errors.

Nate Wottring finished a stellar 3 for 4 from the plate, driving in three runs with a double and a stolen base. Jacob Bloom and Jeff Himes each had two hits, and Brent Easterday, Cody Barrier, Himes and Dennis Kan scored twice.

Grace nearly recorded a sweep of Bethel, losing 3-2 in the second game. The Pilots struck early with three runs in the top of the first, and the Lancers had to play from behind throughout.

The Lancers struggled from the plate, managing three hits – one apiece from Wottring, Bloom and Tyler Bokinsky. Grace scored one in the third and pushed across another run in the sixth but was not able to come up with the tying run.

Clifford Buttermore did his best to keep the score close from the mound and did not give up a run after the first inning; he threw four innings overall. Matt Helm came in relief and threw three scoreless innings.

“We played solid defense and we pitched well, which has always been a problem against Bethel,” Bailey continued. “Unfortunately in the second game, we kind of struggled offensively and didn’t get big hits when we needed them.”

Grace continues conference play on Thursday when they host Taylor University at Miller Field. The twin bill is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

Grace’s Bats Cold against Indiana Tech


FORT WAYNE, Ind. – In the final tune-up game before the start of the conference season, Grace’s baseball team dropped a nine-inning game to Indiana Institute of Technology 5-1.

The Lancers (10-8) were handcuffed at the plate for most of the game, managing two hits and three walks. One of the hits was from freshman Cody Barrier, who drove home Reagan Eakins in the top of the eighth.

Eakins’ run cut the Warriors’ (12-9) lead to 2-1, but four errors by the Lancers in the bottom of the eighth gave Indiana Tech the final three runs of the game.

Brad Heintz started on the mound for Grace. He surrendered two runs on three hits and a walk in five solid innings, striking out two batters.

Indiana Tech managed only six hits in the game, but one was a two-run home run. They were also aided by the four errors by Grace.

The Lancers kick off the Mid-Central College Conference season at home on Tuesday when they welcome Bethel College to Miller Field for a 2 p.m. start.

Grace Handles Goshen With Ease


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s baseball team won a pair of games over Goshen College in convincing fashion on Saturday, taking game one 11-3 and game two 8-0.

Grace started the game with four straight walks to plate leadoff hitter Kyle Knapp. After a strikeout and a fielder’s choice, Brent Easterday blasted a two-out, three-run home run for the Lancers’ fifth run of the opening inning.

The Lancers (10-7) added three more runs in the second to give Grace all the cushion it needed.

Clark threw six innings, giving up three runs on six hits with three walks to record the win. Matt Helm completed the game for the Lancers, striking out three in the seventh to seal the victory.

Nate Wottring, Reagan Eakins and Tyler Bokinsky each finished 2 for 4, and Bokinsky batted home a pair of runners.

“Mike threw another great one for us in the first game,” said head coach Josh Bailey. “They scored three runs on him, but other than that, he was dominant. We grinded it out at the plate, and it was especially good to see Brent come off the bench and give us a spark in the first inning. The homerun he hit was a bomb.”

Clifford Buttermore starred in the second game, throwing a complete-game shutout from the mound. He recorded 14 strikeouts, gave up three hits and a walk in the game.

The Lancers scored four runs in the second and added a pair of insurance runs in the third and seventh innings.

Josh Petry finished 2 for 4 from the plate, and Jacob Bloom and Eakins each scored twice. Bokinsky again had two RBIs as he went 2 for 3.

“Clifford just pitched a great game from start to finish,” Bailey continued. “They couldn’t get anything going against him. We had some pretty good cuts at the plate, as well, in the second game. It was a good day for us.”

The game was a nonconference matchup.

The Lancers have now won six straight.

Grace returns to action on Wednesday with a doubleheader at Trinity Christian. The first pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Lancers Earn Fourth Straight


DEFIANCE, Ohio – The Grace baseball team earned its fourth straight victory and its eighth in nine games with a dominant 9-0 win over Defiance College on Thursday.

The Lancers (8-7) entered the fourth inning with the score tied 0-0 but erupted for nine runs in the next three innings, including four in the seventh, to run away with the victory.

Junior college transfer Jordan Kistler pitched the first seven innings, struck out nine batters and only gave up three hits, earning his second win of the season. Brad Heintz came in to close and pitched two more scoreless innings, extending his scoreless innings streak to 10.

Josh Petry continued his stellar 2011 campaign, tallying four RBIs and going 3 for 5 at the plate, including two doubles. Nate Wottring also totaled two hits along with two RBIs, and Kyle Knapp had two hits.

Dennis Kan, Jake Bloom, Reagan Eakins and Tyler Bokinsky each had an RBI.

Grace doubled the Yellow Jackets’ (1-7) hits, 12-6, and spoiled their home opener.

“It was another solid win for us,” said head coach Josh Bailey. “Jordan Kistler threw a great game, and Brad Heintz continued his solid season with two scoreless innings. Petry, Wottring and Bokinsky also had great games at the plate, and our offense kept grinding it out. We are gaining confidence with each win.”

The Lancers return to action at 11 a.m. on Saturday in a double-header against MCC opponent Goshen College. The contest, however, will count as non-conference competition.

Clark Pitches Gem in Victory Against Davenport


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Michael Clark pitched a complete nine-inning game, struck out seven batters and only gave up two runs in Grace’s 5-2 victory against Davenport University on Sunday afternoon.

“It was an amazing performance,” said head coach Josh Bailey. “I’ve been around Grace baseball for a long time, and that is one of the best pitching performances I’ve seen.”

The Panthers (12-6), a team that defeated Grace 10-7 last year on April 13 and exploded for 34 runs in their four-game series against Brescia University on Friday and Saturday, were unable to do anything against Clark on Sunday.

“That was a great team we saw today,” Bailey continued. “They just came off a four-game series where they scored 34 runs, and Michael held them for two runs in nine innings. That is the kind of game you would expect from a senior.”

After two scoreless innings, the Lancers (7-7) got on the board in the bottom of the third when Tyler Bokinsky scored off a Davenport error. Grace scored again in the second when Bokinsky singled through the hole at second base and drove Jacob Bloom home to take a 2-0 advantage.

Grace continued its dominance and scored three more runs in the fifth inning to take a demanding 5-0 lead. The Lancers capitalized on a Davenport error, and Bloom hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score teammate Nate Wottring.

In the sixth, it looked like Clark’s afternoon could come to a close when he had bases loaded with no outs. The senior, however, escaped the inning, only giving up two Davenport runs.

Clark pitched the final three innings and led Grace to a big-time 5-2 victory, the Lancers’ seventh win in eight games to get their record back to .500. It was Clark’s second win on the young season.

Kyle Knapp, Wottring, Josh Petry, Boom and Bokinsky each had a hit on the afternoon. Bloom and Bokinsky also had an RBI apiece.

“It’s a big confidence boost for us,” Bailey continued. “Internally, we keep talking about how we are a good team. I think the guys believe it, but until you go out and beat a good team and prove that you are a good team, there is always an opportunity for doubt to creep in. Today, we proved to ourselves that we are as good as what we have been saying. We still have a long way to go, but we know we can play with anyone on our schedule.”

Grace Offense Explodes in 13-1 Victory


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Lancers ignited for eight runs in the fifth inning, propelling them to a 13-1 blowout against Holy Cross on Saturday, Grace’s sixth win in seven games.

The Lancers (6-7) had a slow start but took the lead in the fourth inning and entered the fifth inning with a 4-2 lead. Dennis Kan capped off Grace’s eight-run inning with a three-run homer to help Grace distance itself from Holy Cross and earn the victory. 

Kan went 2 for 3 on the day, scoring two runs and driving in three. Including Kan, Grace had four players record two hits on the afternoon.

Jacob Bloom tallied two hits and drove in two runs. Reagan Eakins went 2 for 2 and scored once. Tyler Bokinsky went 2 for 3 and drove in three runs including a two-run single in the fifth inning. Josh Petry went 1 for 1, scoring two runs while drawing three walks on the afternoon.

The Saints (1-3) struggled to score as they only recorded six hits. Holy Cross took the lead in the top of the second inning but gave up the lead in the bottom of the inning.

Sophomore pitcher Chris Valentine completed the first four innings, giving up Holy Cross’s only run. Valentine gave up three hits while striking out three.

Freshman Clifford Buttermore came in to pitch two and one-third innings and recorded the victory. Buttermore gave up two hits and struck out four to record his second win of the season.

Jordan Kistler entered the game in the seventh inning to close out the contest. He struck out two Saints in his only inning of work. 

Grace returns to action at home on Sunday afternoon against Davenport at 2 p.m.

Lancers Split Pair against Trinity Christian


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Senior pitcher Brad Heintz, starting his first game since undergoing Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2009, threw six scoreless innings to lead Grace to a 3-0 victory and a split against Trinity Christian.

Heintz threw in relief earlier in the season but had not started for the Lancers since his sophomore year (2009). He tossed 80 pitches, giving up four hits and one walk while striking out two in the second game of the doubleheader.

Offensively, the Lancers (5-7) managed all of its runs in the fifth inning of the second game. After loading the bases with no one out, Nate Wottring singled to left to score Cody Barrier.

Josh Petry was then hit by a pitch to score another run, and Reagan Eakins drew a walk to bring Dennis Kan home.

In the opening game, Trinity Christian scored one run before Petry’s two-run homer scored leadoff hitter Jeff Himes and put Grace ahead 2-1.

The Trolls (1-3) tied the game in the top of the fourth, but once again the Lancers responded. After a leadoff double to start the bottom of the fourth, Petry scored on a sacrifice fly. Jacob Bloom then came home on the next play off a single by Tyler Bokinsky.

It would prove to be the final lead for Grace.

Trinity Christian erupted for eight runs in the top of the fifth to open up a 10-4 lead, a margin Grace could not overcome.

The Lancers return to action on Saturday when they welcome Holy Cross College to Miller Field for a 1 p.m. game.

Freshmen Power Lancers at Plate


MADISONVILLE, Tenn. – Grace was led by offensive outbursts from freshmen Dennis Kan and John Nuppnau as the Lancers (4-6) completed the sweep over Hiwassee College in a doubleheader on Saturday.

Grace won the first game 6-4 and the second game 16-3.

The Lancers struck first when Kan singled home Cody Barrier in the third inning of game one. Kan added to Grace’s margin with a two-out grand slam in the top of the fourth inning.

The Tigers did their best to make the game interesting, tallying four runs in the bottom of the fourth. But Clifford Buttermore held Hiwassee at bay from the mound, taking the win with one run surrendered on eight hits and eight strikeouts.

Kan’s five-RBI performance was topped in the second game when Nuppnau knocked in six runs.

Grace held a comfortable 7-3 lead through three innings before erupting with a nine-run fourth inning. Tyler Bokinsky provided a two-run home run, and Nuppnau homered in the inning to score three more.

Nate Wottring finished 3 for 4 with two RBIs, Cam Spitaels had two hits in the game, and Kan and Josh Petry added two RBIs apiece.  

Christopher Valentine got the start on the mound for Grace, giving up three runs on six hits and four walks. He also struck out four.

The Lancers return to action for their home opener at Miller Field on Tuesday. Grace will welcome Holy Cross College at 2 p.m.

Grace Baseball Wins First Two


MADISONVILLE, Tenn. – Grace’s baseball team rolled over Hiwassee College to earn its first two victories of the season.

After scoring a total of four runs in their previous four games, the Lancers (2-6) erupted offensively with 24 runs including a 16-5 win in the opener and an 8-2 win in the second game.

“It was a big monkey off our back,” said head coach Josh Bailey. “We struggled early because it’s tough to get outside during practice. But it was a great day and good to see the guys getting lots of appearances at the plate.”

Both teams were knotted at 3-3 before Grace’s bats came alive with a trio of four-run innings in the top of the third, fourth and sixth innings.

The Lancers connected on four home runs in the opening game, including two long balls by Josh Petry who finished with five RBIs. Nate Wottring (3 for 3, 3 runs, 3 RBIs) and Cody Barrier (2 for 3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) also had home runs for the Lancers.

Michael Clark pitched himself out of several jams, yielding 12 hits but only four earned runs to go along with two strikeouts for the win. Reagan Eakins, Jacob Bloom and Jeff Himes each recorded a pair of hits in the game as well.

In the second game, Jordan Kistler kept the Tigers’ bats cool with one run allowed in four innings on the mound as the Lancers jumped out to an 8-0 lead. Kier West and Matt Helm came in with solid performances in relief of Kistler to secure the victory.

Petry continued his dominance at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a run knocked in and two runs scored. Tyler Bokinsky recorded three RBIs, Eakins finished with two hits and two runs, and Dennis Kan and Bloom each scored twice for Grace.

 “Today, I saw the resiliency of this team. We have a long way to go, but things are starting to come together,” Bailey continued. “The guys are definitely gaining confidence.”

The Lancers continue their four-game series with Hiwassee on Saturday with another doubleheader starting at noon.

Lancers Drop Two in Kentucky


WILMORE, Ky. – The Lancer baseball team continued its season on the road Saturday against Asbury University. After rain postponed a nine-inning affair on Friday, both teams took the field for a double-header on Saturday.

Leading 2-1 in the final inning, the Lancers (0-6) were two outs away from getting its first victory of the year. But with a runner on, Asbury’s Matt Ciolek ended the game with a walk-off homerun to give the Eagles (5-2-2) a 3-2 victory in game one.

Grace scored two runs in the sixth inning to take the lead on a run-scoring triple from Nate Wottring and a sacrifice fly from Josh Petry. Grace was unable to push more runs across the plate, stranding six runners in the game.

Senior Michael Clark got the start and pitched seven quality innings in a no decision. Jordan Kistler, who was tabbed with the loss, took over in eighth inning. Clark finished the day with nine strikeouts and no walks, while giving up one earned run.

At the plate, Jeff Himes led the Lancers with two hits and scored a run. Reagan Eakins, Jacob Bloom, Wottring and Petry each recorded one hit.

In game two, the Lancers fell behind early and were unable to battle back losing 7-2. In the first inning, Grace allowed five runs on three errors. From that point forward, it was an evenly matched game with each team recording six hits in the game. 

Grace was led again at the plate by Jeff Himes with one hit, one RBI, and a run scored. John Nuppnau also provided some offense with a pinch-hit double and later scored.

On the mound, Chris Valentine fell to 0-2 on the young season giving up five hits and six runs, two of them earned. He recorded two walks and a strikeout in four innings of work.

The Lancers will be on the road next Friday and Saturday as they travel to Tennessee for a four-game set against Hiwassee College. Games are scheduled to start at 1 p.m. and 12 p.m. respectively. 

Toccoa Falls Too Much for Grace


TOCCOA FALLS, Ga. – Grace couldn’t get its revenge against Toccoa Falls, the 2009 NCCAA Division II national champion, on Saturday.

After dropping two close games against the Eagles (6-2) yesterday, the Lancers (0-4) fell 3-0 in the first game and 5-0 in the second game on Saturday.

The Eagles scored one run in the third inning and two more in the fifth to get some breathing room and earn the win. Reagan Eakins, Nate Wottring, Josh Petry and Jordan Kistler each had one hit. Michael Clark pitched all six innings for Grace.

In the second game, Toccoa Falls tallied two runs in the first inning and three more in the last two innings to get the 5-0 victory. Grace had three hits overall in the second game, one apiece from Eakins, Jacob Bloom and Cody Barrier. Christopher Valentine gave the Lancers four innings on the mound, and Brad Heintz pitched the final two.

The Lancers only had three errors on Saturday after totaling eight errors on Friday.

Grace returns to action next Friday and Saturday against Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Grace Opens Season in Georgia


TOCCOA FALLS, Ga. – The Grace College baseball team began their 2011 campaign in Georgia, narrowly dropping a pair of one-run games to Toccoa Falls.

The Lancers (0-2) amassed eight errors in their first outdoor game of the season but managed to hold the Eagles (4-2) close. Toccoa Falls, the 2009 NCCAA Division II national champion, squeezed in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh to win 4-3.

Jordan Kistler was the opening-day starter for Grace, pitching six solid innings with six strikeouts, six hits, and one earned run surrendered. Josh Petry and Jeff Himes each hit 2 for 3 at the plate to lead Grace.

In the second game, Grace jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the top of the sixth but yielded two runs in the bottom of the sixth and seventh to allow the game to go into extra innings. The Lancers plated one runner in the top of the eighth, but the Eagles responded with two runs in their half of the inning for an 8-7 victory.

Jacob Bloom had an outstanding debut for Grace, going 3 for 3 with two RBIs and a run. Nate Wottring finished 3 for 5 with a pair of RBIs, and Reagan Eakins recorded two hits, as well.

The Lancers have their chance to get revenge on the Eagles with another doubleheader on Saturday. The first game is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Lancers Look to Improve on Record-Breaking Season


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After tying a program-record with 21 wins last season – a mark set back in 1972 – head coach Josh Bailey and the Grace baseball team hope to continue making significant strides this season.

“I am excited about this season,” Bailey said, entering his fourth year at the helm of the Lancer program. “We have a lot of potential on paper. I am excited to see how good this team could be. We have a lot to improve on, but the potential is there.”

The Lancers, who finished 2010 with a 21-31 overall record and a 5-19 conference record, have ambitions of breaking the program win record in 2011 and attaining double-digit victories in the Mid-Central College Conference.

“We want to control how we compete and continually improve throughout the season,” Bailey continued. “At the end of the year, the numbers will be there.”

Grace’s primary strength will continue to be its offensive prowess, as the Lancers return two of the program’s best hitters in juniors Nate Wottring and Josh Petry. Wottring tallied 54 hits in 2009 (third in the Grace record books) along with 51 hits in 2010 (fourth), and Petry totaled 40 RBIs last season (second) along with six homeruns (eighth).

According to Bailey, Warsaw Community high school graduate Jacob Bloom has the potential to be one of the team’s best hitters. Freshmen Michael Moreno, Cody Barrier, and juniors Brent Easterday and transfer Jordan Kistler will also get several opportunities to drive in runs for the Lancers.

Says Bailey, “Our lineup this year will have power top to bottom, so I expect fairly even production.”

While Grace’s pitching has struggled in the recent past, the Lancers should field a much deeper staff on the mound this season, as senior Michael Clark and Kistler anchor the Lancers’ pitching rotation.

Clark, who was eighth in the conference in 2010 with 6.58 strikeouts per game, is looking to complete his stellar four-year career as a Lancer and continue his climb in the Grace record books. He currently sits in seventh in career strikeouts with 109 and ninth in career innings pitched with 153.2. Kistler, a Warsaw graduate, is coming off a memorable season with Iowa Western Community College whom he led to a JUCO World Series Championship last season with a 10-1 overall record and 3.75 ERA.

“Both are hard throwing right-handers with a lot of experience,” Bailey said. “Mike is closing in on a lot of career records at Grace, and we expect him to have a great year.”

Sophomores Clifford Buttermore, Chris Valentine, Kier West, Matt Helm and senior Brad Heintz will fight for the other four spots in the pitching rotation.

Defensively, freshman Johnny Nuppnau and Easterday will see time at first base, Wottring and junior Kyle Knapp will play second, Barrier will start at shortstop, Moreno and Kistler will be in the rotation for third base, and sophomore Tyler Bokinsky and junior Reagan Eakins will split the duties at catcher.

In the outfield, Bloom will start in left field, sophomore Jeff Himes will see the majority of innings in center, and freshman Dennis Kan and junior Derek Zwier will share time in right. Sophomore Jake Fitzgerald will serve as the Lancers’ utility player this season.

“A deeper roster is critical to the success of a team,” Bailey said. “When you have two or three quality players at each position, they constantly push one another to improve and reach their potential. We have that this year.”

The Lancers kick off their 2011 campaign when they travel to Toccoa Falls, Ga., on Friday and Saturday. On Feb. 25 and Feb. 26, Grace will travel to Asbury College in Kentucky, and on Mar. 4, they’ll make a two-day trip to Hiwassee College in Madisonville, Tenn., before their home opener on Mar. 8 against Holy Cross.

“This group of guys has the opportunity to be the best Grace team ever,” Bailey concluded. “Now we have to go out and prove it.”

Valentine Named 'Best Pitcher' During Prague Baseball Week


Grace College’s Christopher Valentine earned the Best Pitcher of the Tournament Award for his performance during Prague Baseball Week in Prague, Czech Republic. He became the first American to win the prestigious award and helped lead the USA to their first ever title in the tournament.

Valentine pitched two complete games against Croatia and Israel, earning two significant victories that helped springboard Team AIST (American International Sports Teams) into the championship game where the Americans captured the title with a 7-1 victory over the Russians.

“The team just came together from the get-go,” said Team AIST head coach Frank Sims, who has been taking American players to compete in Europe for nine years. “There was great teamwork, and all of the players knew we were striving win the tournament for the USA. That, in itself, was great motivation. We won with great pitching, strong defense and timely hitting.”

The Lancers’ rising sophomore earned the start in America’s first game of the tournament against Croatia and pitched all nine innings. After trailing by three runs through three innings, the Americans caught fire at the plate, and Valentine’s perseverance helped lead the USA to a 9-6 victory, his first international win.

With only three days of rest, Valentine pitched another nine-inning game in America’s 10-2 win over Israel. His longevity on the mound was crucial to the team’s success with only six pitchers on the roster.

The team’s only loss was on the second day, when they fell to the Russians 6-5. The Americans, however, went on to defeat Austria and two Czech teams before meeting Russia, once again, in the championship.

“His opening game got us going, and we did not have to use any other pitchers that day,” Sims continued. “That was huge because pitching was thin to begin with. Christopher’s win against Israel was also big because it was the first game on Saturday, and we had to win three games in one day to have a chance to win it all.”

Team AIST consisted of 16 players from 11 different schools around the nation. Before this year’s championship, the team had taken home three second-place finishes and one third-place finish. Harvard University’s Matthew Vance (short stop) also became the first American to win the MVP of the Tournament.

Valentine’s and Vance’s awards were presented by Haim Katz, the President of the International Association of Baseball (IAB).

In 2007, ESPN’s Jim Caple ranked Prague Baseball Week as one of the top 10 “Don’t Miss” baseball experiences.

Valentine also pitches locally for the Tigers in the Indiana Regional Mexican Summer League, and as a freshman at Grace, he had a 4.14 ERA, the lowest on the team, and struck out 21 batters.

Grace Reaches Program Milestone


WINONA LAKE, Ind.—Grace's baseball team earned their 21st victory on Friday with a 6-1 win over Robert Morris University (Chicago). The Lancers (21-31) tied the program record for single-season wins that was set back in 1972.

After losing the first game 3-1, Grace bounced back in the second game to defeat a solid Eagles (33-16) squad. Robert Morris had several pitching woes at the start of the game, and Grace capitalized off of three walks and two hit batsmen in the second inning to pick up two runs. The Lancers added four more runs in the third inning to take a commanding 6-0 lead. Robert Morris finally got on the board in the top of the fourth and scored their only run of the game.

Michael Clark pitched a complete game for the Lancers, only giving up six hits and one run to earn his fifth win of the year.

Grace had seven hits in the game, and no Lancer tallied more than two hits. Reagan Eakins and Nate Wottring each had two RBIs.h

In the first game, the Lancers outhit Robert Morris 9-5, but left nine runners on base throughout the game and only scored one run. Grace was the first to get on the board when Jeff Himes hit an RBI single to score Brent Easterday in the second inning. The Eagles, however, tied the game with a run in the top of the fourth, and Jawanza Young ripped a two-run homer in the sixth to give Robert Morris a 3-1 lead.

Wottring and Chris Burdette were both 2 for 3 in the first game.

Chay Bailey pitched a solid game for the Lancers, giving up five hits and three runs in six innings.

Bailey, Burdette, Joel Zakahi, Jonathan Vornbrock and Ryan Eakins were recognized on Grace's Senior Day.

Grace will play in the NCCAA Regional tournament next Friday and Saturday at Miller Field. The competing teams and tournament schedule will be released.