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Softball Stories

Shell picks up NAIA All-American honors

6/6/13

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Brooke Shell entered rare air with the announcement of her Second Team All-American honor from the NAIA.

Shell became only the second NAIA All-American in Grace’s softball history.

The sophomore outfielder paced Grace’s softball team in many offensive categories and broke the program’s record for most hits in a season during the 2013 season.

Shell batted .438 as the team’s leadoff hitter, which was the fifth-highest average in team history. Her nine triples was No. 1 in the NAIA, and her 77 hits on the season ranked No. 1 in Grace’s record books.

“I am thrilled for Brooke’s recognition as an All-American. She had a phenomenal year as a true triple threat. Brooke is a key part of our program’s growth for the future,” said Grace head coach Heather Johnson. “Our goal when [my husband Jay and I] returned to Grace was to restore the program to its national caliber status, and Brooke’s recognition is one step toward that goal.”

Johnson, Grace’s first NAIA All-American in 1994, has the unique distinction of both being and coaching an All-American in Grace’s program. The standout pitcher still holds Grace’s single season and career pitching records.

“When I called Brooke to let her know, I congratulated her about joining the club,” Johnson joked. “Having been an All-American and having the opportunity to coach the other All-American at Grace is fulfilling. I am looking forward to continue building the program and to have many players of Brooke’s level compete in the black and red.”

Shell was also named the Crossroads League Newcomer of the Year and an NCCAA Second Team All-American.

During the spring 2013 season, the Lady Lancers earned their most wins (19) in a season since 1997. 


Shell named NCCAA All-American, Newcomer of the Year

5/8/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - After a remarkable first season in a Lady Lancer uniform, outfielder Brooke Shell was named the Newcomer of the Year by the Crossroads League to go along with Second Team NCCAA All-American honors.

Shell led Grace’s softball team in many offensive categories and broke the program’s record for most hits in a season during the 2013 campaign.

Shell batted .438 as the team’s leadoff hitter, which was the fifth-highest average in team history. Her nine triples was No. 1 in the NAIA, and her 77 hits on the season ranked No. 1 in Grace’s record books.

She was a major reason for Grace’s success during the spring, helping the Lady Lancers to their most wins (19) since 1997.

The sophomore outfielder, who was also named to the Crossroads League All-Tournament Team, became Grace’s first .400 batter since 1997. She provided her hits when they were needed the most, hitting safely in 29 of Grace’s final 33 games.

Additionally, with 21 stolen bases during the 2013 season, Shell already ranks ninth among Grace’s career stolen bases leaders.

Other Lady Lancers who were honored at the end of the season include junior Olivia Winget and freshmen Danielle Wellman and Lacey Little, who each appeared on the honorable mention list for All-League honors.


Lady Lancers bow out of league tournament

5/1/13

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - With a pair of losses on Wednesday, Grace’s softball team was eliminated from the 2013 Crossroads League Tournament.

The Lady Lancers (19-31) surrendered a late scoring burst in each game, losing 8-4 to Huntington in the opening round before slipping 4-3 to Taylor.

In the opener, the Foresters got off to a fast start with five runs in the first two innings.

Grace battled its way back into contention, however, on the strength of the long ball. Olivia Winget led off the fourth inning with a solo home run, and Brooke Shell followed that up in the fifth inning with a two-run homer to cut Huntington’s lead to 5-4.

But Huntington pulled away by tacking on three runs to their cushion in the bottom of the sixth, and Grace was unable to rally in their final at-bats.

Shell was the best offensive player in the game with a 4-for-4 performance, scoring twice and driving in two runs to go along with a stolen base.

In Grace’s second game of the day with Taylor, the Lady Lancers struck twice in the top of the first. Grace added another run with a solo homer from Winget in the fourth.

Taylor sliced the Lady Lancers’ advantage to 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth, but Grace still maintained its lead for the first 6 1/2 innings of play.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Grace seemed on its way to avoiding elimination by retiring the first two Trojan batters. But a single and a fielding error gave Taylor life, and the Trojans stole victory with a two-out, two-run single to center field.

Winget batted a perfect 2-for-2 in the second game, and Shell finished 2-for-3.

The loss ends the career of Sam Fields, the program’s all-time leader in career hits. The four-year starting shortstop concludes her career with 154 career hits, topping Kelli Irish’s previous mark of 135 hits.


Memorable tourney run ends in championship loss

4/27/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace’s softball team needed three wins in a row on Saturday to advance to the 2013 NCCAA National Championships, but their impressive run ended one out short.

The Lady Lancers had top-seeded Indiana Wesleyan on the ropes ahead 7-6 with two outs in the seventh inning of the regional championship, but the Wildcats produced timely hits to win 10-7 win in extra innings.

Grace’s season will continue in next week’s Crosssroads League Tournament on Wednesday and Thursday.

A trio of elimination games on Saturday stood between the Lady Lancers and a trip to NCCAA Nationals.

Grace pulled off a 1-0 win in the day’s opener over Oakland City.

The Lady Lancers scored the only run of the game in the fourth inning. An RBI double from Danielle Wellman plated Jordan McKinley for what ended up being the winning run.

Alex Shipley tossed a gem from the mound, pitching her way around the Lady Oaks’ lineup for seven innings.

Shipley recorded the third shutout of her freshman campaign, allowing eight hits and striking out five. Grace made the plays they needed from the field, committing zero fielding errors to give Shipley the support she needed.

Grace then advanced to the NCCAA regional championship with Indiana Wesleyan, needing to take down the Wildcats twice to earn a berth to the national tournament.

Grace’s offense torched the Wildcats early in the opening game en route to a 13-11 win.

The Lady Lancers erupted with eight runs in the opening inning, capped off by an inside-the-park grand slam from Brooke Shell. Shell saw the Wildcats playing a dramatic defensive shift, bringing their right fielder behind the shortstop. Shell proceeded to lace a deep fly ball into vacated right field, clearing the bases and beating the tag at home for an inside-the-park grand slam.

Grace increased their lead to 12-1 after another outburst in the third inning. The Lady Lancers scored three of their four runs with two outs, including a two-RBI single from Olivia Winget and another RBI single from Shipley.

The Wildcats began to find their rhythm in the middle stages of the game, cutting the deficit to 12-8.

Grace added an insurance run in the sixth when Lacey Little hit a two-out triple to increase the team’s edge to 13-8.

Indiana Wesleyan did not go down quietly, however, by plating three runs in their final at-bats of the seventh, but Shell caught the final out with a fly ball in right field.

Shell was the offensive star of the game, going 3-for-4 with 3 runs scored, 4 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Sam Fields was also 3-for-4, and Shipley, Winget and Little drove in two runs.

In the second game, Grace maintained a 2-1 lead entering the top of the fifth. Fields and Shipley hit back-to-back run-scoring singles in the first inning.

The Wildcats claimed their first lead of the day in the fifth inning with five runs on six hits to go ahead 6-2.

But the young Lady Lancers displayed resilience, scoring five runs over the next two innings to retake a late lead.

Grace trailed 6-4 entering the sixth inning, but the Lady Lancers tied the game with a two-run double from Wellman. Winget’s RBI single on the next at-bat put the Lady Lancers three outs away from a national tournament.

The Wildcats were down to their final out with a runner on base, and Marissa French kept Indiana Wesleyan alive with a deep double to tie the game.

Indiana Wesleyan produced the game-winning runs with two outs in the top of the ninth inning to claim a 10-7 lead for which Grace had no answer.

Wellman was 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs in the final game, and Shipley finished 2-for-4 in an outstanding tournament effort. Shipley was the pitcher of record in both of Grace's wins from the mound.

At the tourney's conclusion, Shipley, Shell, Wellman and Fields were named to the All-Tournament Team.


Oakland City claims narrow win over Grace

4/26/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - In the first game of the NCCAA Midwest Regional Tournament, Grace’s softball team fell in an evenly fought contest to Oakland City, 2-1.

The Lady Lancers are still alive in the double-elimination tournament as they will take on the Lady Oaks in an elimination game on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Each squad tallied nine hits as all three runs in the game were scored in the opening inning.

Oakland City scored twice in their top of the first, and Grace responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the first. Grace tallied three straight two-out hits from Danielle Wellman, Olivia Winget and Sam Fields.

Neither team managed to score again after the first inning, allowing Oakland City to hold on for victory.

On two occasions Grace moved a runner to third base, but they were unable to plate the tying tally.

Jordan McKinley and Fields each finished 2-for-3 from the plate.

Olivia Winget took the loss from the mound, surrendering nine hits and two runs over seven innings. She also struck out six batters.


Shell breaks hit record against Spring Arbor

4/25/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - In her first season with the Lady Lancers, outfielder Brooke Shell etched her name in Grace’s record books with the most hits in a single season.

With a single to center field in the second game of Grace’s doubleheader with Spring Arbor, Shell notched her 65th hit of the year to take over the top spot in team history.

Grace won 4-2 in the opener behind a four-hitter from Olivia Winget on the mound but slipped 3-2 in the second half of the twin bill on Thursday.

The Cougars (14-26; 5-11 Crossroads League) hopped onto the scoreboard first with a pair of runs in the top of the third.

Grace was swift in response with five hits and two runs in the bottom of the inning. Shell hit her NAIA-leading ninth triple of the year to score Jordan McKinley, and Lacey Little singled up the middle on the next at-bat to tie the game at 2-2.

The Lady Lancers (17-27; 8-8 CL) repeated their effort with two runs in the fourth inning, doubling their lead to 4-2. Alex Shipley plated on a fielders’ choice, and Shell’s sac fly brought in Tiffany Featherston.

Winget took care of the rest on the mound, holding Spring Arbor hitless over the final three innings. The Cougars managed just four hits in seven innings as Winget struck out eight batters.

Danielle Wellman and Shipley finished 2-for-3 from the plate, and Shell drove in a pair of runs.

The Cougars again struck first in the second game with a four-run second inning. Grace committed two errors in the inning, allowing Spring Arbor to score three unearned runs.

Wellman provided a response with a two-run single in the third inning, allowing Shell and Little to race home.

Shell provided her record-breaking moment with a single to center field in the third inning. Her 65th hit of the season eclipsed Evelene Clemons’s previous record of 64 hits during the 1994 season.

Featherston added Grace’s third run in the bottom of the fourth to close the Cougars’ lead to one run, but the Lady Lancers were not able to strike again.

Shipley took the loss on the mound despite yielding one earned run in seven innings. Both Spring Arbor and Grace tallied nine hits in the second game.

Shell notched three hits in four at-bats for Grace, Featherston was 2-for-3, and Wellman drove in two runs.

The Lady Lancers wrap up the week by hosting the NCCAA Midwest Regional Championships at Miller Field. The three-team, double-elimination tournament will kick off Friday as Grace plays Oakland City at 3 p.m.

To view the rest of the tournament schedule, click here.


Lady Lancers to host NCCAA Regionals this weekend

4/23/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - The 2013 NCCAA Midwest Regional Softball Tournament will be held at Grace's Miller Field on Friday and Saturday.

The three-team, double-elimination tournament features the host Grace College, Indiana Wesleyan University and Oakland City University.

2013 NCCAA Midwest Regional Bracket

Two games will be played on Friday at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday's games will start at 11 a.m. with the championship game(s) to be played at 1 p.m. and (if necessary) 3 p.m.

If Friday's games are rained out, Saturday will be completed in single-elimination format.

The winner of the regional tournament will earn its way to the 2013 NCCAA National Championships on May 9-11 at Botetourt Softball Complex (Botetourt County, Va.).

The teams will collect and donate personal products (toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, deodorant, etc.) for Fellowship Missions as part of the NCCAA's community outreach.


Grace improves to .500 in league, sweeps Saint Francis

4/22/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace’s softball team continued its remarkable season with a sweep of Saint Francis on Monday at Miller Field.

With 16 wins on the season, the Lady Lancers (16-26; 7-7 Crossroads League) have tied for the most wins in a season since 2000.

Olivia Winget tossed a three-hitter and Brooke Shell homered to lead Grace in their opening-game win, and the Lady Lancers concluded the sweep with a gritty 5-2 victory in game two.

The opening game remained scoreless through the first three innings until Shell’s solo home run broke the stalemate in the fourth inning. Shell’s blast over the left-field fence was Grace’s first hit of the day.

The Lady Lancers doubled their lead in the fifth inning when Sam Fields singled. She was sacrificed twice to third base before scampering home on an errant throw by the Cougars.

Saint Francis put themselves in position to score with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the sixth inning, but Olivia Winget pitched herself out of a jam with a strikeout and a fly out to keep the score 2-0.

Winget went on to strike out all three batters in the seventh inning to record her first shutout of the 2013 campaign. She gave up three hits and four walks in seven innings, striking out eight Cougars.

The Lady Lancers only managed two hits (Shell, Fields) in their win. Shell and Fields were the only two players to score in the game as well.

In the second game Grace scored early with two runs in the bottom of the first. The Lady Lancers used two walks, two fielders’ choices and an RBI single to left field by Tiffany Featherston to score twice.

Saint Francis picked up their first two runs of the day in the third inning, leveling the score at 2-2.

Grace reclaimed the lead in the fourth inning with three runs. Danielle Wellman hit a sacrifice fly to plate Alex Shipley, and Winget’s ground ball was misplayed to allow speedsters Shell and Lacey Little to race across home plate.

The Cougars appeared on the verge of a two-out rally in the sixth inning when they loaded the bases, but Sam Fields caught the third out to maintain Grace’s three-run cushion.

Shipley took care of the rest from the mound, retiring the first three batters in the top of the seventh. She allowed one earned run to score in a complete-game effort.

Shell was 2-for-4 from the plate, Featherston finished 2-for-3, and Little scored twice and stole a base.

The Lady Lancers will host Spring Arbor on Tuesday 3 p.m. in their home finale for the Crossroads League season.


Grace wins extra-innings thriller on Senior Day

4/20/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace’s softball team enjoyed a split on Senior Day with St. Mary-of-the-Woods College at Miller Field on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers used a walk-off single from Brooke Shell to top the Pomeroys 11-10 in nine innings in the opener before losing 6-4 in the second half of the twin bill.

“Overall I’m pleased with the team’s effort today,” said Grace head coach Heather Johnson. “I’m happy to see our girls fighting through the adversity of giving up a lead and battling back. Amanda [Bowman] threw really well for us in the second game. We didn’t give her the run support or defensive backing she needed to pull out the win, but we are happy with her pitch selection and placement.”

The first game of the doubleheader was full of excitement as the contest went into extra innings.

Grace opened up a 5-1 lead on the Pomeroys after two innings, but the visitors had a big inning in store. St. Mary-of-the-Woods exploded with five runs in the fourth inning with three doubles, two singles and a walk.

The Lady Lancers showed resolve with two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to retake the lead at 7-6. Grace added an insurance run in the sixth, but it wasn’t enough to finish the game in regulation.

With two outs in the top of the seventh inning, the Pomeroys doubled to tie the game and force extra innings.

St. Mary-of-the-Woods tried to pull away in the eighth inning with a two-run bomb. It looked like a long inning could be brewing as the next batter hit a double in the left-center gap, but Alex Shipley limited the damage to two runs on the mound.

Needing two runs to stay alive, Grace got help from the Pomeroys when they scored on a defensive overthrow and later a wild pitch to plate senior Sam Fields from third base.

After Shipley held the Pomeroys scoreless in the top of the ninth, Brooke Shell won the game in the bottom of the inning. Shell hit a walk-off single up the middle past a diving second baseman to score Shipley for the winning run.

Shell was 3-for-6 from the plate with three runs scored and two stolen bases, and Jordan McKinley was 3-for-5 with two runs.

The second game was a dominant performance for St. Mary-of-the-Woods as the Lady Lancers could not complete the sweep.

Grace received strong pitching from freshman Amanda Bowman, but fielding errors by the Lady Lancers and timely hitting by the Pomeroys spoiled Bowman’s performance.

Grace had several chances to score in the contest but often came up empty. The Lady Lancers left seven runners on base in the second game with many of those being in scoring position.

The Lady Lancers scored one run in the fifth inning as Danielle Wellman singled in McKinley. The Lady Lancers tried their hand at a seventh-inning rally, trailing 6-1. Grace added three runs in their final at-bats and had the tying run at the plate, but the Lady Lancers popped out to end the game.

McKinley hit 2-for-3 in the second game to lead Grace with a pair of runs and a pair of stolen bases. Wellman also drove in two runs.

Saturday’s Senior Day honored the terrific career of shortstop Sam Fields, the program’s all-time leader in hits.

The Lady Lancers resume Crossroads League competition on Monday when they host Saint Francis for a 3 p.m. doubleheader. Grace will also host Spring Arbor on Tuesday at 3 p.m.


Marian's bats too hot for Grace

4/19/13

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The offense for the Crossroads League leading-Marian University proved to be too much for Grace’s softball team to handle on Friday.

The Knights scored 23 runs in the doubleheader, winning 10-0 and 13-3 over the Lady Lancers in league play.

In the opener, Grace was handcuffed to two hits as a team. The Knights, on the other hand, produced 10 runs on 13 hits in the five-inning game.

Chelsea Whitesell and Tiffany Featherston registered a hit in Grace’s loss.

Marian, who homered twice in the first game, erupted for four home runs in the second half of the twin bill.

Grace seemed to turn things around in the top of the first inning when Brooke Shell hit a leadoff double, and Whitesell homered to hand the Lady Lancers their first lead of the day.

The Lady Lancers went ahead 3-0 in the second inning when Shell’s single to right field scored Featherston.

But the Knights registered 13 runs over the next three innings to run away with the sweep.

Shell finished 3-for-3 from the plate for Grace, and Whitesell and Olivia Winget were 2-for-2.

Grace will celebrate “Senior Day” on Saturday when they host St. Mary-of-the-Woods College at Miller Field for a 1 p.m. doubleheader. Senior shortstop Sam Fields, the program’s all-time leader in hits, will be honored between games.


Maple Leafs take down Lady Lancers

4/17/13

GOSHEN, Ind. - Playing their fourth game in two days, Grace’s softball team tripped up in a pair of close losses to Goshen College on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers squandered an early six-run lead to fall 9-8 in extra innings in the opener before losing 5-3 in the second game.

Brooke Shell’s two-run double in the second inning sparked a four-run inning in the first game of the doubleheader. Grace went on to claim a 7-1 lead after its half of the fourth inning before Goshen rallied.

The Maple Leafs tallied seven runs over the next three innings to take a surprising 8-7 lead in the bottom of the sixth.

Needing one run to stay alive in the top of the seventh inning, Olivia Winget delivered with a leadoff home run.

Goshen won the game in the bottom of the eighth, however, with four singles to score the game winner with two outs remaining.

Winget was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, and Alex Shipley drove in two runners and stole a pair of bases.

In the second game the Maple Leafs jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three innings were complete.

Shell spearheaded a comeback attempt for the Lady Lancers with a three-run home run in the top of the fifth. Her two-out blast scored Shipley and Jordan McKinley, but Grace was unable to score again.

Tiffany Featherston led Grace from the plate with a 2-for-3 performance.

Shipley took the loss from the mound by yielding seven hits and five runs.

The Lady Lancers will next travel to Marian University on Thursday at 3 p.m. for a doubleheader with the Knights.


Grace sweeps Bethel in historic fashion

4/16/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Sweeping a league rival will always be a high note to any softball season. But ending a 16-game losing streak in the series with a sweep like Grace’s softball team did on Tuesday against Bethel College seems even better.

Olivia Winget homered twice for the Lady Lancers in the team’s 3-2 opening-game win, and freshman Alex Shipley tossed a complete-game shutout to lead Grace in their 3-0 victory in the second game.

The Lady Lancers (13-21; 5-3 Crossroads League) had not tasted victory over the Pilots since March 24, 2005, before their sweep at Miller Field on Tuesday.

In the opener, Olivia Winget’s towering two-run home run in the first inning handed the Lady Lancers their first lead of the game.

Winget added another blast on her next at-bat in the fourth inning to singlehandedly put Grace ahead 3-0.

The Pilots (19-7; 9-5 CL) picked up one more run with two hits and two walks in the fifth inning, but Olivia Winget pitched herself out of a bases-loaded jam with only a single tally against her.

Ashley Bossaer made the defensive play of the game in the top of the sixth by turning an inning-ending double play, erasing two Pilot baserunners.

Bethel threatened to rally again in the top of the seventh when they loaded the bases with nobody out, but Winget won the game from the mound by getting three straight outs. The Pilots managed to plate one run on a sacrifice fly, but Winget shut down the Pilots to secure the win.

Winget allowed eight hits and two runs in a complete-game effort, striking out seven batters. From the plate, Winget was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and three RBIs.

The second game was all about Shipley. The freshman pitcher threw a five-hit gem in blanking the Pilots. She struck out six batters without allowing a run to score in seven innings.

Winget scored the first run of the game in the second inning after walking. She was sacrificed to second base and reached third on a wild pitch. Tiffany Featherston then laid down a bunt to allow Winget to slide safely underneath the tag at home plate.

Grace opened up a 3-0 advantage in the fifth inning when Danielle Wellman hit a two-run single to right field to score Brooke Shell and Lacey Little. Those extra runs proved to be unnecessary as Shipley shut out Bethel on the scoreboard.

Shell led Grace from the plate by going 2-for-2, and Jordan McKinley batted 1-for-3 with a pair of stolen bases.

The Lady Lancers will look to continue their winning ways on Wednesday when they travel to Goshen College for a doubleheader at 3 p.m.


Madonna takes two from Lady Lancers

4/12/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - The Grace College softball team squared off with Madonna University in a chilly doubleheader on Friday at Miller Field.

The Crusaders’ recent hot streak continued as Madonna improved to 13-1 in their past 14 games with a pair of wins over the Lady Lancers.

Offense was scarce through the first four innings for Grace in the opener. The Lady Lancers (11-21) mustered just a single hit and a walk through four innings.

But Olivia Winget impressed from the mound, limiting Madonna to one run in five innings to keep Grace in contention.

Grace had its strongest opportunity in the bottom of the fifth when Alex Shipley reached third base with one out. But the Lady Lancers were unable to plate Shipley and remained behind 1-0.

The Crusaders (23-12) added two more tallies in the sixth to increase their cushion. The Lady Lancers put Lacey Little on third base in the sixth inning, but they once again came up empty on the scoreboard in a 3-0 defeat.

Overall Madonna outhit Grace 11-3 in the opener as Little, Shipley and Danielle Wellman recorded one hit apiece.

Winget took the loss from the mound, striking out nine hitters and allowing three runs in a complete-game effort.

In the second game of the day, the Lady Lancers fell behind early and could not recover in their 15-2 loss.

The Crusaders used timely hitting, and capitalized on Lady Lancer errors to extend their lead and never look back. The Lady Lancers scattered a few hits and scored two runs late in the contest, but their effort was not enough.  

Shipley finished 2-for-2 from the plate for Grace, and Shell was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI.

The Lady Lancers have a short turn around as they will face conference rival St. Francis on Saturday, April, 13 at Miller Field.


Offense can't keep pace with Foresters

4/9/13

HUNTINGTON, Ind. - Despite pounding out 19 hits and a pair of home runs in Grace’s doubleheader with Huntington, the Lady Lancers lost both games on Tuesday.

Grace gave up a seven-run inning of their 11-3 loss in the first game before letting a 5-0 lead slip away in the second game.

The Lady Lancers found themselves trailing 4-3 after Danielle Wellman’s two-out RBI double to left field scored Lacey Little in the top of the fifth inning.

But the Foresters ripped off seven runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull away late in their 11-3 win.

Little and Wellman each finished 2-for-3, and Tiffany Featherston was 2-for-2.

Grace appeared to put their first-game woes behind them with a 5-0 advantage in game two. Morgan Cody blasted a two-run home run in the second inning, and Olivia Winget singled in a pair of runs in the third to help Grace’s cause.

But Huntington only needed two innings of production to overcome Grace’s cushion. The Foresters tallied two runs in the bottom of the fifth and six more tallies in the sixth to rally for their 8-5 victory.

Grace stranded 11 baserunners in the second game and committed four fielding errors. Brooke Shell, Little and Chelsea Whitesell produced two hits apiece for Grace, and Shell came around to score two runs.

The Lady Lancers will hope to rebound on Thursday when they travel to Goshen College for a 3 p.m. doubleheader.


Lady Lancers take one of two from Trojans

4/6/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace College and Taylor University split a pair of tightly contested softball games on Saturday at Miller Field.

The Lady Lancers (11-17; 3-1 Crossroads League) belted out three home runs in a first-game comeback victory before falling short 8-6 in game two.

Taylor leaped out to a massive 7-0 lead in the opener before Grace made their comeback. The Trojans (10-16; 2-4 CL) scored two runs in the first inning and had a grand slam in the top of the fourth.

But the Lady Lancers rattled off nine unanswered runs on the strength of the long ball. Danielle Wellman hit an RBI single, and Bridget Poteet lofted a two-out three-run home run in the fourth inning to jumpstart Grace’s rally.

Wellman knocked in two more runs with a two-run homer in the fifth, and Morgan Cody repeated Wellman’s effort later in the inning in what proved to be the game-winning swing.

Wellman finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs, and Lacey Little, Sam Fields and Cody also scored twice.

Grace got off to a better start in the second game with a four-run second inning. The Lady Lancers notched four hits and were aided by two Trojan errors to plate four runs.

Taylor countered with six runs in the fourth inning and another in the fifth and sixth innings to take a commanding 8-4 lead.

Although the Lady Lancers managed to cut their deficit in half thanks to RBI hits from Brooke Shell and Little, Grace was unable to complete their comeback effort.

Shell, Little and Alex Shipley each tallied two hits in defeat as Shell scored twice. Shipley took the loss in the mound despite yielding three earned runs and eight hits in a complete-game effort.

The Lady Lancers’ next league opponent is on Tuesday at Huntington University at 3 p.m.


Grace sweeps Mount Vernon to open Crossroads season

4/5/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - The 2013 Crossroads League season for Grace’s softball team started on a positive note when the Lady Lancers won 6-2, 4-1 over Mount Vernon Nazarene on Friday.

Grace used a balanced display of strong pitching from Olivia Winget and Alex Shipley mixed with consistent offense to sweep their first league opponent of the year.

In the opener, Grace blitzed the Cougars for four runs in the bottom of the second inning. The Lady Lancers (10-16; 2-0 CL) ripped off four hits and were helped by two fielding errors to jump out to a 4-0 lead.

Mount Vernon chopped Grace’s advantage in half with two runs in the fourth inning.

But Grace put the game out of reach in the sixth with two more runs. A two-out single from Danielle Wellman brought Brooke Shell and Lacey Little in to score.

The Cougars (5-13; 1-5 CL) added one more baserunner in the seventh, but Olivia Winget struck out two batters in the final frame to end the game. Overall Winget struck out eight batters with seven hits allowed in a strong performance.

Wellman and Shell each recorded two hits with Wellman notching two RBIs and Shell scoring twice.

Shell, Tiffany Featherston and Bridget Poteet stole two bases apiece for the Lady Lancers.

The second game saw Mount Vernon hold a 1-0 lead into the fifth inning before Grace broke onto the scoreboard.

Grace needed just three baserunners to register two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Lady Lancers had one walk in the inning and picked up two free baserunners on Cougar errors to take a 2-1 advantage.

Morgan Cody blasted a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth, her second in the past week, for the final runs of the afternoon.

Mount Vernon threatened to rally in their final at-bats before Alex Shipley closed the door from the mound. The Cougars’ first two batters singled and doubled to lead off the inning. But Shipley forced the next two batters to fly out in shallow territory before fanning the final batter in the win.

Overall Shipley pitched a gem with five hits and two walks allowed in seven innings of work. She struck out three batters.

Grace outhit the Cougars 6-5 in the second game as six different Lady Lancers notched a hit.

The Lady Lancers welcome league foe Taylor to Miller Field on Saturday at 1 p.m.


Fields's walk-off single beats Warriors

4/3/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace’s all-time leader in hits added another highlight to her softball career on Wednesday at Miller Field.

Sam Fields’s seventh-inning RBI single won Grace’s first game with Indiana Tech 3-2.

The Lady Lancers (8-16) split with the Warriors (7-14), falling 4-2 in the second game.

Olivia Winget was a standout performer with both her pitching arm and her bat in the first game for Grace. She tossed allowed eight hits and one earned run with five strikeouts from the mound and was a perfect 3-for-3 offensively with an RBI and a double.

The Warriors took their first lead of the game in the top of the fifth inning, but the Lady Lancers were swift in response in their half of the fifth. Jordan McKinley singled and eventually made her way to third base. On a wild pitch, she then scampered home for the game-tying run.

In the bottom of the seventh, Morgan Cody led off the inning with a single to center field. Brittney Thacker came on to pinch run for Cody and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. That set up Fields’s walk-off RBI single, which she drilled to left field.

Shell finished 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.

In the second game, Indiana Tech held a 2-0 lead after four innings before Shell tallied a major boost with a game-tying triple.

Shell came up to the plate with runners on the corners with two outs. She then blasted a triple to deep right-center field to tie the game.

The Warriors responded with two runs in the top of the sixth, aided by a two-out error from Grace. The Lady Lancers could only manage one baserunner over the final two innings.

Shell had another 2-for-3 performance from the plate to lead Grace’s offense. Alex Shipley took the loss from the mound by allowing 10 hits in a complete-game performance. Although she allowed four runs, only one was earned.

Grace will host its first Crossroads League games of the year on Friday against Mount Vernon Nazarene and on Saturday against Taylor.


Grace storms back to sweep Roosevelt

3/30/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace’s softball team trailed in both games of their doubleheader with Roosevelt University on Saturday. But each game the young Lady Lancers showed resilience in a sweep of the Lakers.

Grace erupted for 25 runs in the pair of games in front of a festive Miller Field crowd, winning 11-4 in the first game and 14-11 in a second-game thriller.

After falling behind 2-0 and later 4-2 to Roosevelt in the opener, Grace’s offense erupted for nine runs over a four-inning span to run away from the Lakers.

Grace took the lead for good in the fourth inning when Brooke Shell and Lacey Little singled and proceeded to come home, handing the Lady Lancers a 5-4 lead.

Grace asserted control of the game in the next inning with a five-run outburst. The Lady Lancers put their first three batters safely on base. Later in the inning Danielle Wellman singled in a pair of runs, and Alex Shipley laced a two-out, two-run double to left field.

The Lady Lancers (7-15) tallied 15 hits, three doubles and seven stolen bases in an impressive performance. Tiffany Featherston finished a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate with three runs scored and three stolen bases.

Little went 3-for-5, and Wellman led all players with three RBIs.

Olivia Winget picked up the win on the mound, allowing seven hits and four runs in a complete-game effort. She struck out five batters.

In the second game, the Lady Lancers found themselves in a massive 10-3 hole to the Lakers (3-13) entering their half of the third inning. Grace made several charges at Roosevelt’s lead in the bottom of the third and fourth innings, however.

Freshman Morgan Cody launched a two-run home run over the center field fence with two outs in the third. Grace was then the beneficiary of three Laker fielding errors in the fourth inning to plate three more runs. Winget’s single to score Wellman cut Roosevelt’s cushion to 10-8.

Grace still trailed 11-8 entering the bottom of the sixth until they made a comeback to remember.

The Lady Lancers managed to plate one runner before picking up their second out on a line drive to third base. The next five batters for Grace each reached base safely to shock Roosevelt and take a 14-11 lead. Shell provided the go-ahead RBI with a triple, and Little also doubled in the inning.

Shipley finished the comeback on the mound in the top of the seventh, striking out the final batter to end the game.

All nine batters for Grace recorded a hit in the second game. Winget was an offensive force with a 3-for-4 performance and five RBIs, which included a three-run home run in the first inning.

Wellman was 3-for-5 with three runs, and Little also scored three times.

The Lady Lancers will host four games at Miller Field next week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Their week begins with a doubleheader against Siena Heights at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.


Golden Eagles top Grace in pair

3/29/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Grace’s softball team opened its Grace Invitational with a pair of losses to Cornerstone University on Friday.

The Lady Lancers (5-15) fell to the Golden Eagles in a tightly contested extra-innings clash in the first game before a disappointing 15-2 defeat in game two.

In the opening game, each team tallied a single run in their half of the second inning. Cornerstone added its run with two outs when Rachel Bode hit an RBI double.

Grace countered in the bottom of the second when Olivia Winget, leading off the inning, blasted the first pitch over the right-field fence for a solo home run.

The rest of the contest was a pitchers’ duel between Grace freshman Alex Shipley and Cornerstone’s Heidi Warmelink. Shipley held the Golden Eagles to six hits over the first seven innings with three strikeouts and one walk.

After neither team could plate the winning run in seven innings, the game advanced to extra innings with the international tiebreaker rule in effect.

Cornerstone struck first with a two-out double from Warmelink to go ahead 2-1. After a Grace fielding error on the next at-bat, the Golden Eagles broke the score open with a triple to add two more runs. The Lady Lancers were unable to make a charge in their half of the eighth to end the game at 4-1.

Winget and Brooke Shell each finished 2-for-3 in the opener.

The second game belonged to the Golden Eagles. Cornerstone jumped out to a massive lead 11-1 lead thanks to an 11-run second inning. The Golden Eagles tallied seven hits to rack up their 11 runs in the second.

Cornerstone added four more insurance runs in the fourth inning to effectively end the contest.

Offensively, Grace was held to five hits. Freshman outfielder Lacey Little was strong in defeat by going 2-for-2 with a run scored and two stolen bases. Fellow freshman Cali Young also had an RBI single in a pinch-hit cameo.

The Lady Lancers continue to host the Grace Invitational on Saturday when they face Roosevelt University on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.


Fields breaks career hit record versus Manchester

3/28/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Senior Sam Fields etched her name on top of Grace’s softball record book when she became the all-time leader in hits against Manchester on Thursday.

Fields tied the hit record when she laced a single into left field in the fourth inning. She then broke the record with her 136th career hit on a two-run single in the fifth inning in the opener.

The Lady Lancers split with the Spartans at Miller Field, winning 4-1 in the opener and losing 11-7 in the second game.

The Lady Lancers (5-13) got off to a fast start in the opening game thanks to Brooke Shell’s baserunning. Shell reached base on a misplayed grounder then proceeded to steal second and third bases. Danielle Wellman’s ground ball allowed Shell to scamper home with the game’s first run.

Manchester tied the score in the second inning when Kayla Yates hit an RBI double.

Shell plated the go-ahead run in the fifth inning when she again reached base via error. After making her way to third base with two outs, Grace loaded the bases as freshman Alex Shipley stepped in to bat. Shipley was then hit by a pitch, scoring Shell.

That brought up Fields’s record-breaking moment. On a 1-2 pitch, Fields recorded her 136th career hit to shallow right field to score Wellman and Winget and put the Lady Lancers ahead 4-1.

Fields passed the previous record of 135 hits held by Kelli Irish (1998-2001).

Winget took care of the rest from the mound. She held Manchester to six hits in claiming the complete-game victory. For the game she walked one and struck out five.

She also led Grace from the plate by going 2-for-3. Fields finished 2-for-4 in her memorable performance.

Manchester put their first-game woes behind them in first inning of the second game. The Spartans (6-6), aided by two Grace fielding errors, loaded the bases against freshman Bridget Poteet with nobody out.

They managed to take a commanding 4-0 lead until the Lady Lancers battled back.

Grace was the benefactor of Manchester errors in the third inning, tallying three runs with two outs to slice the Spartan’s advantage to 4-3.

The Lady Lancers used a two-out rally in the fifth to tie the game at 4-4. After the first two batters were retired, Shell singled and stole second. Jordan McKinley then singled up the middle to score Shell from second.

Manchester grabbed control of the game in the top of the sixth, putting three baserunners on without an out. The Spartans scored six runs with the sunlight fading to go ahead 10-4.

Grace tried another two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth and seventh to come back, starting with a double by Morgan Cody. Two more singles followed to cut the Spartans’ lead to 10-6.

Grace added another run in the seventh when they loaded the bases with two outs.

Shell, Wellman, Tiffany Featherston, Cody and McKinley each went 2-for-4 as McKinley added two RBIs. Shell also stole three bases combined in the doubleheader.

The Lady Lancers will host the Grace Invitational this weekend, facing Cornerstone on Friday at 11 a.m. before welcoming Roosevelt on Saturday at 1 p.m.


Cornerstone tops Grace in home opener

3/23/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. - Cornerstone’s softball team spoiled Grace’s 2013 home debut with a 4-2, 5-1 set of victories on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers were within striking distance in each game of the doubleheader, but they came up short both times.

Batting against Cornerstone’s ace in the opener, Olivia Winget helped the Lady Lancers (4-12) off to an early lead with a double down the right-field line. After a bunt advanced Winget to third base, Sam Fields drilled a hard-hit single to the left side of the infield to plate Winget.

Fields then stole second base and came to third on an overthrow by the catcher. Brittany Thacker next laid down a bunt to the left side of the infield, allowing Fields to score.

Cornerstone was swift in response with a game-tying, two-run home run in the top of the third by Lauren Pasciak.

Pasciak was in on the go-ahead run for the Golden Eagles (12-2) in the top of the fifth inning. Grace committed a two-out error on her ground ball to allow Cornerstone to plate its third run. The Golden Eagles then went ahead 4-2 on a wild pitch.

Grace had a strong opportunity to make up the difference in the bottom of the sixth when they put runners on first and second with nobody out. But the Golden Eagles picked up three straight outs, ending with a long fly out from Sam Fields that traveled near the warning track.

Danielle Wellman finished 2-for-3 in the first game. Olivia Winget allowed two earned runs in a complete-game effort from the mound, yielding six hits and two walks in seven innings.

In the second game of the day, the Golden Eagles claimed an early 4-0 lead thanks to one run in the second and three more tallies in the third.

Grace looked poised to score in the second inning, but a ground out stranded three Lady Lancers on base.

The Lady Lancers’ first hit of the game proved to be a run-scoring double as Winget’s blast to left field in the third inning plated Wellman, cutting Grace’s deficit to 4-1.

But the Lady Lancers were not able to score after that as Cornerstone’s pitching limited Grace to just three hits overall.

Tiffany Featherston, Wellman and Winget recorded hits for the Lady Lancers. Bridget Poteet was credited with the loss on the mound. Alex Shipley pitched four innings in relief, allowing one run and five hits.

Grace is scheduled to play at Miller Field on Monday at 4 p.m. against Purdue North Central, weather permitting.


Grace Softball improves, grows over nonleague schedule

3/20/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind.  – Grace’s softball team added valuable playing experience during the nonleague portion of its 2013 season.

The youthful Lady Lancers finished 3-7 on their spring break trip to Clermont, Fla., while playing against all-NAIA opponents.

Grace’s young roster under head coach Heather Johnson consistently fielded half of their starting lineup as underclassmen.

Sophomore Brooke Shell has headlined the Lady Lancer offense through the team’s first 14 games. The outfielder leads Grace in batting average (.472), hits (25), runs (14), doubles (4) and triples (5).

Freshman Danielle Wellman has started all 14 games so far in her collegiate career. Wellman, the team’s starting catcher, has a .386 batting average and leads the Lady Lancers with 17 runs driven in.

Jordan McKinley, a junior third baseman, has tallied a .409 batting average with 13 runs scored, and Olivia Winget has recorded an average of .386 to go along with two home runs.

Brittney Thacker has been a spark with a .333 average in five games played, and freshman outfielder Lacey Little has a team-high nine stolen bases.

Johnson has leaned primarily on junior Winget and freshman Alex Shipley from the mound. Winget has a team-low 3.73 ERA in seven games pitched, and Shipley has notched 22 strikeouts in 31.0 innings.

Individual highlights from Grace’s nonleague schedule include Shell’s 4-for-4 performance with four RBIs against Clarke on March 4, Wellman’s four RBIs in a narrow defeat to Bellevue on March 6, and Tiffany Featherston’s three stolen bases versus Lourdes on March 8.

Shipley also tossed five scoreless innings of two-hit ball against Clarke on March 4, and Winget struck out seven Lourdes’ batters in seven innings on March 8.

Grace will have its 2013 debut at Miller Field on Monday against Purdue North Central at 3 p.m.


Talented newcomers infuse 2013 with excitement

2/21/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – An influx of talent to the roster of Grace’s softball team brings hopeful anticipation for the 2013 season.

The Lady Lancers have added 10 new faces to this year’s campaign, many of whom will contribute immediately according to head coach Heather Johnson.

“The goal for me this year is to have a winning season and to qualify for NCCAA Nationals,” Johnson said. “We are beyond just wanting to show up for games – we want to compete. We want to compete for a Crossroads League championship.”

Grace, who won five league games last season, is hoping to build on the team’s best record in the Crossroads League since 2005. Under Johnson, the program has improved its finish in the league standings each season.

In order to continue that trend, the Lady Lancers will look to the leadership provided by senior Sam Fields and junior Olivia Winget.

Fields is close to capturing the program’s all-time hit record. Her three-year total of 123 hits is 12 behind Kelli Irish’s record of 135.

Winget already cemented her name atop a Grace record in 2012 when she became the first Lady Lancer to drill double-digit home runs in a season. She led Grace in multiple offensive categories including batting average (.324), hits (48), home runs (11) and slugging percentage (.588).

“Sam [Fields] is really pivotal in a leadership role for us. She is so competitive that she makes us want to not settle,” Johnson said. “Olivia [Winget] has worked hard in the offseason, and it will be apparent this year. Her stuff is really moving on the mound, and she is confident and smart as a baserunner.”

Johnson’s nine-player freshman class is expected to pay dividends on the field in 2013. Highlighting the newcomers is Danielle Wellman, a catcher from Wapahani High School who was named the Star Press Softball Athlete of the Year as a senior.

Paige Petrone (Valor Christian HS, Colo.), Lacey Little (Madison-Grant HS, Ind.), Morgan Cody (Archbold HS, Ohio), Alex Shipley (Brownsburg HS, Ind.), Cali Young (South Central HS, Ind.), Chelsea Whitesell (Terre Haute South HS, Ind.), Amanda Bowman (Northwestern HS, Ohio) and Bridget Poteet (Ben Davis HS, Ind.) add a tremendous amount of depth at nearly every position.

First-year Lady Lancer Brooke Shell has potential to start immediately in the outfield. Shell initially signed with NCAA Div. I IPFW last season before deciding to transfer to Grace.

Juniors Tiffany Featherston and Jordan McKinley have taken major strides during the offseason, according to Johnson, and will figure to be major contributors to the roster.

Grace will have to overcome multiple underclassmen starters and increase their run production to find success in 2013, but Johnson is confident of the team’s ability.

“We’ve had a great preseason, and the ladies have a strong desire to win,” Johnson said. “If we can learn and grow as the season goes on, we will put ourselves in a great position to meet our goals.”

The Lady Lancers begin their season at the Union College Tournament from Barbourville, Ky., on Feb. 22.


Softball to hold Winter Camp

1/8/13

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace College softball program will be hosting a Winter Elite & Fundamentals Camp on Saturday, Jan. 26.

The camp, which has sessions geared both for young children and for students as old as 12th graders, will be held on Grace's campus at the Gordon Recreation Center.

Three sessions will be available to select from in order to better meet the needs of each individual player.

Those in attendance will receive collegiate-level softball training from Grace College head coach Heather Johnson, her coaching staff and Lady Lancer student-athletes.

For registration information download the Camp Brochure or contact Coach Johnson at heather.johnson@grace.edu.


Benson, Anton named NAIA Scholar-Athletes

6/1/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Genevieve Benson and Jessica Anton were honored as 2012 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes at the conclusion of the season.

Benson, a senior, was named an NAIA Scholar-Athlete for the second straight season after winning the award as a junior. She also became Grace’s first CoSIDA All-District winner after boasting a 3.91 GPA as a sport management major.

To receive Scholar-Athlete status by the NAIA, student-athletes must attain a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale and be at least a junior academically.


Winget, Benson receive honors

5/8/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Genevieve Benson and Olivia Winget earned individual postseason honors after leading Grace’s softball team to their best record in the Mid-Central College Conference since 2005.

Benson was named to the CoSIDA All-District Team, and Winget was named honorable mention All-MCC.

Benson made the list for the College Division of the CoSIDA All-District Team. The senior from Egg Harbor City, N.J., boasts a 3.91 GPA as a sport management major.

CoSIDA honors student-athletes from the NAIA as well as NCAA Division I, II and III who have earned at least a 3.3 GPA. The members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) then vote through the district and national winners of eligible student-athletes.

Benson was third on Grace’s team with a .289 batting average. She pounded out 12 doubles and four triples, scoring a team-high 27 runs. She also recorded the best fielding percentage on the team with a .975.

Winget earned her second straight appearance on the honorable mention list for All-MCC. The sophomore led Grace both from the plate and from the mound.

She led the Lady Lancers in numerous batting categories, including batting average (.324), hits (48), home runs (11) and slugging percentage (.588). Her 11 home runs set a program record for a single season as she became the first Lady Lancer to reach double-digit homers in a year.

Winget also posted the lowest ERA on the pitching staff with a 4.45 ERA in 144 2/3 innings pitched.


Grace's season ends in MCC Tournament

5/2/12

MARION, Ind. – Grace’s softball team wrapped up its 2012 campaign in the Mid-Central College Conference Tournament, falling 10-3 to Indiana Wesleyan and 5-1 to Huntington in the double-elimination tourney.

In their first game, Grace was done in by a big fourth inning from Indiana Wesleyan.

The Lady Lancers (10-44) took a 3-1 lead with a three runs in the top of the fourth. Genevieve Benson tied the game with a one-out double. She, along with Meredith Baker, scored on the next at-bat when Sam Fields doubled to left field.

The Wildcats (41-11) were swift in their comeback, however. Indiana Wesleyan used two Lady Lancer fielding errors and seven hits of their own to plate nine runs.

Grace had baserunners in scoring position in both the fifth and sixth innings, but they could not score to help bridge the gap and dropped into the consolation bracket.

Benson led Grace from the plate by going 2-for-3, and Field was 1-for-2 with two RBIs. Both players stole a base as well in the loss.

In their consolation bracket night game with Huntington, Grace was neck-and-neck with the Foresters (29-17) through four innings.

The Lady Lancers loaded the bases in the third inning from a walk and two Forester fielding errors. Baker then laid down a one-out bunt to squeeze home Jordan McKinley. The Lady Lancers could do no more damage, however, and had their final two batters retired with the bases loaded.

Grace had runners in scoring position in the first and fourth innings but failed to convert. Huntington, on the other hand, led 2-1 after four innings and put the game out of reach with a three-run fifth for the game’s final margin.

Baker finished 2-for-3 from the plate with an RBI. She was also credited with the loss from the mound by giving up three runs in four innings.

Grace ends their season with a record of 10-44 and earned a berth in the MCC Tournament for the second straight year under head coach Heather Johnson.


Lady Lancers bow out of NCCAA Regionals

4/27/12

SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – Grace’s softball team came up short in both of their games on Friday in the NCCAA Regional Tournament.

The Lady Lancers (10-42) lost to top-seeded Indiana Wesleyan 7-3 in their first game before falling to host Spring Arbor 9-1.

In their first game, Grace was only outhit 10-8, but the Lady Lancers were credited with five errors in the field to help the Wildcats to their four-run victory.

After falling behind 2-0 early, Grace placed one run on the scoreboard in the second inning when Becky Almack’s ground ball to second base allowed Olivia Winget to score from third base.

The Wildcats (40-10) continued to score, however, adding two runs in the fourth and one run in each of the final three innings.

Grace again used an RBI groundout in the sixth inning to stay within striking distance. On this instance, Alison Butler drove in Meredith Baker.

In the seventh inning, Tiffany Featherston did her best to keep Grace’s hopes alive when she singled home Marissa Kennedy with two outs. But their comeback ended soon after with a fly out.

Featherston led all batters in the game by going 3-for-4 with a double, and Baker finished 2-for-3.

The Lady Lancers were much quieter offensively in the second game. Spring Arbor held Grace to just three scattered hits in their six-inning win.

Grace’s only run occurred in the bottom of the fifth inning when Winget came home to score on a wild pitch.

Spring Arbor, on the other hand, had multi-run innings in the first (4 runs), fourth (2) and sixth (2) innings.

Featherston, Winget and Baker combined for Grace’s three hits in the loss.

With their 9-1 defeat, the Lady Lancers were officially eliminated from the double-elimination tournament to end their hopes of making the NCCAA Nationals.

At the tournament's conclusion, both Olivia Winget and Meredith Baker were named to the NCCAA All-Tournament Team. Winget was also named NCCAA All-Midwest Region, and Genevieve Benson was honorable mention for All-Region. Benson and Jess Anton were also named NCCAA All-Region Scholar-Athletes.

The Lady Lancers will next play in the Mid-Central College Conference Tournament in Marion, Ind., starting on May 2.


Purdue North Central takes two from Grace

4/25/12

WESTVILLE, Ind. – The Lady Lancers lost 9-4 and 10-2 in their final doubleheader of the regular season to Purdue North Central on Wednesday.

Grace took a 3-0 lead in the first inning of their opener with two-out contributions from Meredith Baker and Olivia Winget. Baker’s single to left field allowed leadoff hitter Brittney Thacker to score, and Winget followed that up with a home run to left-center field.

Winget, who already became the first Lady Lancer to record 10 home runs in a season, added her conference-leading 11th home run of the year to put the Lady Lancers ahead by three.

The score remained that way until the bottom of the fourth when the Panthers sliced to within 3-2. They continued that momentum into the fifth and sixth innings, adding seven more runs to take control of the game.

Thacker, Baker and Winget each tallied two hits in the loss with Thacker adding an RBI and a stolen base.

In the second game, Purdue North Central did most of their damage in the second inning.

The Panthers scored six runs on five hits to take an 8-0 lead. They added two more in the third and held Grace scoreless until the top of the fifth.

With two outs in their final at-bats of the game, Sam Fields singled to center field to plate Tiffany Featherston and Thacker. But that proved to be the only production for the Lady Lancers.

Thacker, Fields and Baker each added a hit in the loss.

The Lady Lancers shift gears to the regional tournament for the NCCAA National Championships. Grace will face Indiana Wesleyan on Friday at 11 a.m. in the first game of the double-elimination tournament held at Spring Arbor University.


Winget first to reach 10 home runs

4/24/12

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Olivia Winget became the first Lady Lancer to record 10 home runs in a season when she homered in the second game in Grace’s doubleheader with Bethel on Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers (10-38; 5-13 MCC) fell 9-0 and 14-3 to Bethel in their final conference series of the season but not without the record-setting moment of Winget’s blast.

Winget had already broken Liz Thomas’s record of six single-season home runs set in 1998, but she further cemented her name in Grace’s record books with a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning in the second game.

Grace was only afforded one hit offensively in the opener. Winget broke up the no-hitter with a single in the fourth inning.

The Pilots (22-12; 16-0 MCC) scored nine runs on seven hits in the win, tallying three doubles and a grand slam in the third inning.

Bethel’s third inning was again lethal in the second game as they tallied eight of their 14 runs. They also tallied one run in the first, two in the second and three in the fourth.

Grace scored two of their three runs in the third inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, freshman Meredith Baker drilled a double to left field to plate Alison Butler and Jordan McKinley.

Their other run was Winget’s fifth-inning home run to left field.

The Lady Lancers recorded at least one hit in each inning, but they could not keep pace with Bethel’s 17 hits. Grace also did not help its own cause with four errors in the second game.

The Lady Lancers conclude their regular season when they travel to Purdue North Central on Wednesday for a 3 p.m. start.


Calumet takes twin bill from Grace

4/21/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s softball team lost a doubleheader to Calumet College of St. Joseph on Saturday, falling 7-2 in an extra-innings battle and 5-2 in the second game.

In their first game, Grace’s softball team took a 2-0 lead in the second inning that remained until the latter stages of the game.

The Lady Lancers (10-36) tallied two singles and benefitted from two fielding errors by the Crimson Wave (24-20) to plate Meredith Baker and Olivia Winget.

Baker held Calumet St. Joseph to three scattered hits through the first five innings before the Crimson Wave tied the game with a two-run home run in the sixth.

Grace was unable to win the game in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings, and the Crimson Wave finally took control of the game in the eighth.

Grace committed two errors in the field to help the Crimson Wave score twice, and Caitlyn Wilcox gave the team a 7-2 lead with a three-run homer to left field. The bottom of the eighth was a 1-2-3 inning for Grace.

The Lady Lancers were held to five hits in the game with Baker, Brittney Thacker, Genevieve Benson, Tiffany Featherston and Alison Butler tallying a hit apiece.

Grace was limited offensively in the second game to just three hits. Calumet St. Joseph, on the other hand, generated runs throughout the game. They scored single runs in the first three innings and added another in the fifth and sixth innings.

The sixth inning provided Grace’s primary offensive outburst. After Jordan McKinley was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, Butler brought her home with a triple to right field. Winget made the score 5-2 with an RBI ground out to score Butler.

But it was too little too late as the Crimson Wave offense outhit the Lady Lancers 10-3 overall.

The Lady Lancers have one week remaining in the regular season, kicking off with their conference finale at Bethel College on Tuesday.


Grace lets two slip to Mount Vernon

4/19/12

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio – Grace’s softball team lost a pair of close decisions versus Mount Vernon Nazarene on Thursday, falling 3-2 in the opener followed by an extra-innings 2-1 loss.

The Lady Lancers (10-34; 5-11 MCC) fell behind 3-0 after the first two innings of the opening game. Grace had runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings but failed to score.

Grace scored their first run in the fourth when Olivia Winget scored from second base on a fielding error. Allison Butler brought Grace to within one run when her RBI single plated Sarah Elliott.

The seventh inning nearly resulted in a comeback for the Lady Lancers when they moved Tiffany Featherston to third base with one out. But Grace was retired with a groundout and a fielder’s choice.

Winget took the loss from the mound by giving up eight hits and one earned run while striking out three.

Brittney Thacker, Jordan McKinley and Winget each tallied two hits in the loss. Grace, who outhit the Cougars 9-8, stranded eight baserunners compared to just two for Mount Vernon.

The Lady Lancers again left eight runners on base in the second game in their 2-1 loss. The Cougars (10-21; 3-11 MCC) used a Lancer fielding error to score the game’s first run in the third.

McKinley’s run tied the game in the top of the fourth after Winget singled her home. Grace nearly took the lead in the sixth, but Meredith Baker was thrown out at home for the game’s final out.

Neither team was able to win the game in the seventh, but Mount Vernon sealed the victory with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth.

Baker was credited with the loss despite giving up one earned run. She struck out five batters and allowed eight hits.

Winget continued her hot hitting with a 3-of-4 performance with a run driven in, and Sam Fields was 2-for-4 in the loss.

Grace’s game on Friday with Trinity Christian has been cancelled, but the Lady Lancers will have Senior Day on Saturday against Calumet College of St. Joseph starting at 1 p.m.


Lady Lancers come up short to Huntington

4/17/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s softball team lost an early lead in both of their games against Huntington, falling 5-2 and 5-1 on Tuesday.

Grace escaped an opening-inning threat in the first game when the Foresters (21-13; 9-5 MCC) loaded the bases with one out after three walks. But Olivia Winget got the final two outs with a strikeout and ground out.

The Lady Lancers (10-32; 5-9 MCC) took the lead in the second inning when freshman Becky Almack drilled a two-out double to the left-center field gap to score Sam Fields.

Grace stayed in front thanks to Winget’s pitching. She had a no-hitter going through four innings before the Foresters got on the scoreboard. In the fifth inning, Huntington used a double, a single and a sacrifice fly to go in front 2-1.

They added a solo home run in the sixth and scored twice in the seventh to take a four-run lead.

Grace started a rally in the bottom of the seventh when Jordan McKinley bunted for a hit, and Genevieve Benson reached base on an error. But the Lady Lancers could only tally one run in the inning off a sacrifice fly from Winget as Grace lost 5-2.

The Foresters won despite committing four errors. Grace left nine runners on base compared to five for Huntington. Almack led Grace from the plate in the first game by going 2-for-3.

In the second game, Grace again scored first with a run in the second inning when Sarah Elliott’s two-out single plated Almack.

Huntington was scoreless through three innings before breaking loose with a five-run fourth inning, highlighted by a grand slam.

Grace was unable to move a runner past home plate to keep up with Huntington. Despite only being outhit by one in the game (6-5), Grace earned zero walks while the Foresters earned four.

Genevieve Benson finished 2-for-3 in the second game to lead Grace’s offense.

The Lady Lancers travel to Mount Vernon Nazarene on Thursday for a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m.


Errors plague Grace in doubleheader with Malone

4/13/12

CANTON, Ohio – Grace’s softball team did not help their cause from the field on Friday, totaling eight errors in a pair of 9-0, 8-3 losses to Malone University.

The Lady Lancers (10-30) were shut out in the first game. They made matters worse by allowing the Pioneers to score nine runs on 10 hits including a pivotal fourth inning.

The Pioneers led 3-0 after three innings, but they managed to end the game early when they notched six runs in the fourth. Malone pounded out four doubles and was helped by two Lancer fielding errors to take their final nine-run margin.

Freshman pitcher Meredith Baker pitched a complete game and took the loss. Only three of the nine runs charged to her account were earned.

Sarah Elliott finished a perfect 2-for-2 from the plate, and Brittney Thacker was 2-for-3.

In their second game, the Lady Lancers were much improved from the plate led by Olivia Winget’s solo home run in the fourth inning. But Grace committed five errors in the game, allowing Malone to win by five runs.

Malone benefitted from two errors by Grace in the second inning as they scored five times to take a commanding 6-0 lead.

The Lady Lancers added single runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings, but their rallies were not substantial enough to make a dent in Malone’s lead.

Winget and Genevieve Benson each finished 2-for-3 from the plate with an RBI.

The Lady Lancers resume conference action when they host Huntington University on Tuesday starting at 3 p.m.


Lady Lancers drop pair of close games

4/12/12

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Despite outhitting Saint Francis 11-8 on the day, Grace’s softball team struggled to manufacture runs.

The Lady Lancers (10-28; 5-7 MCC) lost 3-0 in their first game before falling 2-1 to complete the sweep for Saint Francis.

Olivia Winget pitched a complete game for Grace in the opener and took the loss, despite not surrendering an earned run to the Cougars (17-13; 7-3 MCC).

Saint Francis scored the only three runs of the game in the second inning, helped by a Lancer fielding error and a batter who was hit by pitch.

The Cougars gave the Lady Lancers all the help they could by committing four errors of their own, but Grace was unable to score and left nine runners on base.

Grace had their best chance in the seventh inning with the bases loaded, but their rally ended with a fly out.

Becky Almack finished 2-for-3 from the plate, and Winget was strong from the mound by only allowing six hits.

In the second game, the Lady Lancers again struggled to score despite recording six hits compared to two for Saint Francis.

The Lady Lancers went ahead with a two-out rally in the first inning. Genevieve Benson came around to score when Meredith Baker doubled to right-center field for Grace’s only run of the game.

Grace’s fielding proved to be their downfall, however. The Cougars scored twice in the game with both runs resulting from Lancer fielding errors.

Saint Francis added the game-tying run in the fourth inning off a two-out error, and they secured the victory with a run in the sixth inning when Grace committed two more errors.

Baker was 2-for-2 in the loss and pitched all six innings in the loss. She yielded two unearned runs on two hits, striking out five and walking four.

The Lady Lancers hit the road tomorrow when they face Malone University at 3 p.m.


Baker, Elliott shine in sweep of Taylor

4/10/12

UPLAND, Ind. – A pair of freshmen led the charge in Grace’s sweep over Taylor University on Tuesday.

Meredith Baker earned both wins from the mound while Sarah Elliott hit a home run in each game for the Lady Lancers (10-26; 5-5 MCC).

“I’m proud of the girls for playing solid defense, especially our outfield who covered a lot of ground to take away their offensive momentum,” said Grace head coach Heather Johnson. “Meredith [Baker] did a great job in keeping hitters off-balance and showed great composure in both games. Sarah Elliot had a big day with home runs to help solidify our games.”

In their opener, Baker was the dominant force both from the mound and with the bat. She threw a six-hit complete-game victory, giving up two runs in a 4-2 victory. She was also 2-for-3 from the plate with three RBIs.

The Trojans (19-17; 4-6 MCC) scored two runs in the bottom of the first off Baker before the freshman hurler cooled off their bats for good.

Elliott got the Lady Lancers’ scoring started with a leadoff solo home run to right field in the top of the third. Grace’s next two batters were retired before a fielding error gave the Lady Lancers a second chance. Baker then drove in a pair of runs with a two-out single to give Grace the lead for good.

Baker added an insurance run in the fifth inning with an RBI single to plate Genevieve Benson, and Taylor could not move a runner past second base for the final six innings.

In the second game, Taylor again scored first with a single tally in the first inning. Grace retook the lead with runs in the second and third innings, but Taylor knotted the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the third.

Elliott provided what turned out to be the game-winning home run blast to center field in the top of the fourth, and Baker took care of the rest from the mound by throwing four shutout innings of relief to secure the victory.

Jordan McKinley was 3-for-4 from the plate in the win, and Baker surrendered just four hits in her four scoreless innings pitched.

“I’m very proud of the team to continue to compete and improve their game as our season has progressed,” Johnson continued. “A record of 5-5 in the conference at this point is a great accomplishment for our program.”

The Lady Lancers will hope to continue their winning ways when they travel to Saint Francis on Thursday for a doubleheader at 3 p.m.


Big innings doom Lady Lancers

4/7/12

JACKSON, Mich. – Siena Heights only scored in three total innings in their doubleheader with Grace, but they made their opportunities count in a sweep of the Lady Lancers.

Grace fell 7-1 in their opening game before falling 7-4 in the second.

The Lady Lancers (8-26) struck first in the opening game when Sam Fields scored from third base on a passed ball in the second inning. Grace almost scored earlier in the inning, but Olivia Winget was thrown out at home.

Grace had an opportunity to increase their lead in the third, but the team stranded three runners on base with a strikeout.

The Saints (23-15) countered with a four-run third inning and a three-run fifth inning to take a commanding 7-1 lead that Grace could not puncture.

Genevieve Benson finished 1-for-2 in the opener, Winget was 1-for-1, and Tiffany Featherston, Meredith Baker, Fields and Becky Almack each tallied hits.

Siena Heights did all of their damage in one fateful inning of their second game.

Grace once again scored first when Marissa Kennedy came around to score in the top of the second inning. But the Saints had big plans for their half of the inning.

Siena Heights pounded out five singles, a double and a triple in the bottom of the seventh, tallying seven runs and seven of their eight hits in the contest.

Grace managed to slice into the Saints’ lead with three more runs in the fifth inning. The Lady Lancers benefitted from two fielding errors in the inning but also singled twice and walked once.

But the Lady Lancers were not able to come closer than three runs the rest of the way.

Baker and Winget each finished 2-for-4 with a run driven in. Winget was impressive from the mound by tossing four scoreless innings. She struck out four batters and gave up one hit in relief.

The Lady Lancers continue conference play when they take on Taylor University on the road Tuesday at 3 p.m.


Baker's bat not enough as Grace falls to Manchester

4/5/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Freshman Meredith Baker drove in four runs on the day, including a two-run home run, but the Lady Lancers could not produce enough runs to keep pace with Manchester.

Grace fell 7-3 and 8-5 in their doubleheader at Miller Field on Thursday.

Grace got on the scoreboard first in the opening game, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning.

Jordan McKinley led off the inning with a single, and Genevieve Benson also reached with a walk. Meredith Baker took care of the rest with a double to deep center field to score the pair.

The Spartans (14-12) jumped on top with a three-run second from two singles and a double. Manchester tallied three more hits in the third to score twice and take a 5-2 lead.

Grace’s defense struggled to make plays in the opening game, committing an error in each of the first four innings.

The Lady Lancers (8-24) edged closer when Sarah Elliott’s ground ball scored Baker to make the score 5-3 in the fourth inning. Grace could have tallied again, but Manchester threw out one Grace runner at the plate, and the Lady Lancers stranded two runners on base with a strikeout.

Manchester added an insurance run in the sixth and seventh innings while Grace was unable to score again.

Overall, Grace was outhit 11-2, but the Lady Lancers also managed to earn four walks in the loss.

After Baker knocked in two runs in the first game, she kept her bat hot with a first-inning home run in the second game.

McKinley led off and reached base from a Manchester error. Grace moved McKinley over to third base with consecutive sacrifice bunts before Baker blasted her two-out, two-run home run over the center field fence.

Manchester had a big inning in store, however. The first two batters of the third inning resulted in two outs, but the Spartans proceeded to load the bases with two walks and a single. The next two batters doubled to plate four runners.

The Lady Lancers responded with two runs in the bottom of the third, thanks to an RBI double from Benson and a bases-loaded hit by pitch that plated Benson. Although Grace ended the inning with the bases loaded, they still sliced the lead to 5-4.

The Spartans increased their margin to four with a pair of runs in the fourth and another in the seventh, and Grace was unable to make a comeback over the final four innings.

Tiffany Featherston finished the second game 2-for-3 with a run scored, and Marissa Kennedy was 2-for-2.

Overall, the Lady Lancers stranded 11 runners on base in the second game compared to five for Manchester.

Grace returns to action on Saturday when they play at Siena Heights at 11 a.m.


Grace loses early lead on Indiana Tech

4/4/12

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – After falling 5-0 in their first game, Grace’s softball team rebounded by taking a three-run lead over Indiana Tech in the second game.

But the Warriors came back with four runs, including the game-winning RBI double in the seventh inning, to win 4-3.

The Lady Lancers (8-22) were held to just four hits in their opening loss. Grace stranded six runners on base, including leaving a pair of runners on base in the third and fourth innings.

Jordan McKinley, Olivia Winget, Samantha Fields and Brittney Thacker each tallied hits in the loss.

Grace came out strong to start the second game with three runs in the top of the first. Tiffany Featherston and Genevieve Benson reached base with back-to-back singles, and Meredith Baker brought them both home with a double to left field.

Baker then came around to score on a throwing error in the field by the Warriors (18-24).

The Lady Lancers hurt their own cause by committing three errors after that point. Indiana Tech tallied their runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings – all innings in which Grace recorded a fielding error.

In the seventh inning, Olivia Winget retired the first two batters. But the next batter reached first base on an error by Grace’s infield, and Jessica Cotton doubled home the winning run for the Warriors in the next at-bat.

Winget was solid on the mound, allowing two earned runs in a complete game with five strikeouts and zero walks.

Featherston finished 2-for-4 from the plate, and Jessica Anton went 1-for-3 with a double.

The Lady Lancers next play Thursday when they welcome Manchester College to Miller Field at 3:30 p.m.


Lady Lancers slip to Marian

3/31/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace College softball team gave away a pair of games to Marian University on Saturday. The Lady Lancers (7-19; 2-4 MCC) could not quiet the Knights’ bats, falling 8-0 and 8-2 at Miller Field.

Marian set the tone early for the day when they rattled off three runs in the top of the first inning.

The Knights would add a pair of runs in the third thanks to two errors from the Lady Lancers, and a three-run home run by Marian in the fourth inning allowed the Knights to end the game after five innings.

Genevieve Benson and Becky Almack were the only two Lady Lancers who recorded hits in the first game with each going 1-for-2.

Grace’s bats were much livelier in the second game although they were still outhit 13-7.

Marian led 4-0 as the game entered the sixth inning, but they managed to tack on two more runs thanks to Grace’s errors. Grace retired the first two batters of the inning, but they committed two errors after that to fall behind by six runs.

The Lady Lancers responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth. Grace loaded the bases with two outs, threatening to score again, but a ground out ended their rally.

Tiffany Featherston and Olivia Winget tallied two hits apiece in the loss.

The Lady Lancers will take on Spring Arbor University on the road on Tuesday at 3 p.m.


Grace wins in 10 innings, sweeps Goshen on day

3/29/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s softball team earned their first conference wins of the season with a sweep of Goshen College on Thursday.

The Lady Lancers (7-17; 2-2 MCC) pulled out a 2-1 thriller in 10 innings before taking a 7-2 victory in the second game.

Both teams got off to a slow start offensively in the opening game. The game contained two total hits through five quick innings of play.

The Maple Leafs managed to score without a hit in the top of the fifth. Goshen put two runners on with only one out and pushed Devon Ownby across the plate on a ground out to take a 1-0 lead.

Grace finally broke onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jessica Anton got the Lady Lancers started when she beat out the shortstop’s throw for an infield single. Two sacrifice bunts brought Anton to third base with Tiffany Featherston up to bat with two outs.

Featherston came up golden with a game-tying RBI single through the left side of the infield to plate Anton.

As neither team found the winning tally in the seventh, the game headed to extra innings.

With the international tiebreaker in effect in the top of the 10th inning, Goshen moved their baserunner to third base with one out. Olivia Winget pitched out of the jam, however, with two fly outs to retire the side.

Sam Fields was placed on second base to start Grace’s half of the 10th inning thanks to the international tiebreaker. Allison Butler led off the inning with a bunt to first base. Goshen’s first baseman was well off the mark on her toss to first to beat Butler, which allowed Fields to scamper home for the winning run.

Winget was nearly untouchable on the mound, allowing just one run on five hits and two walks in 10 innings. Genevieve Benson led Grace at the plate by going 2-for-4.

In the second game, Grace looked to keep their momentum going in the first inning. Featherston hit an infield single, and Benson moved her to third base with a bunt that was misplayed in the field by Goshen.

But the Maple Leafs kept the game scoreless when they snuffed out Grace’s squeeze bunt attempt, tagging out Featherston to stop Grace’s threat.

The Lady Lancers were not to be slowed for long, jumping ahead with three runs in the third inning. Meredith Baker, who took the win from the mound, helped her own cause with a two-run double to center field. She scored two pitches later when Winget singled her home to put Grace ahead by three.

Grace tacked on four more runs with a two-out rally in the fourth inning. Fields and Butler connected on back-to-back singles with two outs. Both Fields and Winget recorded RBi singles in the inning.

Goshen tallied single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to cut the deficit to five, but that would be as close as the Maple Leafs would get.

Winget finished 3-for-3 with a pair of runs driven in from the plate, and Baker and Fields each tallied two hits.

Baker earned the win, yielding two runs on eight hits and a walk.

The Lady Lancers welcome Marian University to Miller Field on Saturday at 1 p.m.


Wildcats blank Lady Lancers

3/27/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace and Indiana Wesleyan kicked off the Mid-Central College Conference season on Tuesday afternoon, and the Wildcats shut down the Lady Lancers with a pair of shutouts.

In the opener, Grace’s offense was held to three hits in a 6-0 loss.

The Lady Lancers (5-17; 0-2 MCC) had their most dangerous moment in the top of the first with runners on second and third. But Grace failed to convert with a double play to end the inning.

Indiana Wesleyan made them pay in the second inning with a leadoff home run.

The score stayed 1-0 through three innings, but the Wildcats (20-4; 2-0 MCC) added another run in the fourth and three more in the fifth.

Grace committed two errors in the top of the fifth to allow Indiana Wesleyan to plate three and gain a comfortable margin.

Abbie Forman did the rest for Indiana Wesleyan, earning a complete-game shutout. Forman struck out 14 batters with only three hits allowed.

Brittney Thacker and Tiffany Featherston led off the first inning with back-to-back hits, and Genevieve Benson notched Grace’s final hit in the bottom of the seventh.

In the second game, Indiana Wesleyan held a slight 1-0 advantage into the top of the fourth inning.

They finally broke out with a two-out rally in the fourth. The Wildcats used a two-run single and an RBI double to score three runs.

Grace again struggled to handle Forman’s pitching, managing just one hit by Thacker through six innings.

Similar to the first game, Benson earned a seventh-inning hit off Forman. She blasted a double to deep right field but was tagged out trying to stretch it into a triple. Olivia Winget followed Benson’s out with a single to left field, but Forman finished the inning and the game with a strike out and a fly out to earn her second shutout win of the day.

Freshman Meredith Baker pitched solidly in the loss, giving up six hits, three walks and five earned runs in seven innings.

The Lady Lancers will stay at Miller Field on Thursday with a doubleheader against Goshen College at 3 p.m.


Panthers slip past Lady Lancers in home opener

3/20/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s softball team kicked off its home portion of the 2012 campaign with a pair of losses to Purdue North Central on Tuesday.

In front of a full grandstand at Miller Field, the Lady Lancers (5-15) lost a 5-4 extra-innings thriller before falling 9-0 in the second game.

Grace fell behind 3-0 after two innings courtesy of a two-run home run by the Panthers (9-11).

Grace made their charge in the fourth inning, however. The Lady Lancers led off the inning with back-to-back doubles by Tiffany Featherston and Genevieve Benson.

A pitching change for Purdue North Central resulted in two quick outs, but after a walk from Alison Butler, Samantha Fields blasted a two-run triple to right field to level the score. Fields came around to score when the Panthers committed a throwing error on the next batted ball. The Lady Lancers ended the fourth ahead 4-3.

The Panthers threatened to take over in the top of the fifth by loading the bases and scoring one with only one out. But Grace’s defense held stout, getting two consecutive force outs at the plate to keep the score tied.

Grace was able to muster just one more hit through the next five innings of action. In the top of the ninth, Purdue North Central used an error to help score the winning run. The Lancers were unable to match that tally in the bottom of the ninth, ending the game on a disappointing double play.

In the second game, freshman Meredith Baker was tossing a one-hitter after four complete innings before the Panthers got their bats going.

Purdue North Central tallied nine hits and nine runs in the fifth and sixth innings, while Grace could only muster three hits all game in their 9-0 loss.

Benson and Brittany Thacker were the only two Lady Lancers to record a hit in each game. Benson was 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI in the first game and 2-for-3 with a double in the second game.

The Lady Lancers continue play on Friday and Saturday at the IWU Invitational. Grace will play games at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Friday followed by 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. games on Saturday.


Lady Lancers fall to Union in opener

3/3/12

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. – Grace's softball team opened the 2012 season against Union College (Ky.), falling in a tripleheader on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers lost 4-5, 0-5 and 1-8 to the Bulldogs (8-3).

Game 1

In their season opener, Grace sent sophomore pitcher Olivia Winget out to the mound. Union struck first in the bottom of the first before seeing the Lady Lancers notch one run in the second and third innings to take a 2-1 lead.

The Bulldogs plated two more in the bottom of the third and another run in the fifth inning to go ahead by two runs. The Lady Lancers then rallied to tie the score 4-4 with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth, but Union tallied the winning run in the bottom of the sixth to spoil Grace's opener.

Jordan McKinley led Grace from the plate by going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Brittany Thacker, Winget, Meredith Baker and Genevieve Benson each added a hit while Winget notched two RBIs in the loss.

Game 2

Grace's bats were silenced in the second game as Union's Katie Perkins tossed a three-hitter against the Lady Lancers.

Union used a three-run third inning to blow open the score and added single runs in the bottom of the second and sixth innings for the final 5-0 margin.

The Lady Lancers stranded eight runners on base in the loss. Winget, Marissa Kennedy and Tiffany Featherston each recorded one of Grace's three hits.

Baker took the loss from the mound after throwing four innings.

Game 3

The Lady Lancers fell behind 2-0 after two innings in the day's final game, but freshman Sarah Elliott reached base on a walk in the third and came around to score to bridge the gap to 2-1.

Union, however, ended Grace's hopes with two runs in the bottom of the third and four runs in the fifth en route for the final 8-1 score.

The Bulldogs outhit the Lady Lancers 13-5 in the game.

Baker finished 2-for-3 from the plate, and Elliott was credited with the loss after throwing two innings.

The Lady Lancers will next head down South for an extended spring break trip.


Benson named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete

5/25/11

WINONA LAKE, Ind. –After leading Grace’s softball team this season as the only upperclassman, junior Genevieve Benson was honored by the NAIA when was named a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete on Tuesday.

In order to be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must achieve a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and be at least a junior academically.

Benson, a sport management major, currently has a 3.94 GPA.

“Genevieve is a terrific all-around student-athlete. She pursues her work in the classroom as hard as she pursues athletics,” said head coach Heather Johnson. “She is a great student and a great role model for our younger players.”

Benson also excelled on the diamond, where she posted a .275 batting average with 21 runners batted in, which was second on the Lady Lancers this season.