Three Lady Lancers Receive Postseason Honors


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Katie Clouse, Olivia Winget and Samantha Fields were rewarded for their outstanding play during the season with postseason awards.

Clouse headlined Grace’s awards with her inclusion on the NCCAA All-Region Team and by being named an honorable mention to the Mid-Central College All-Conference Team.

Clouse was a strong defensive catcher who led the Lady Lancers at the plate with a stellar .361 batting average. The junior amassed 44 hits in 122 at-bats with six doubles and a pair of home runs. She scored 20 runs while knocking in 19 RBIs.

Freshman pitcher Winget was also named honorable mention to the All-MCC Team. She was Grace’s top pitcher throughout the season. She tossed 154.2 innings and struck out 58 batters. She also batted .325 with team highs in doubles (9), home runs (3) and RBIs (22).

Fields, the starting shortstop for Grace, was named to the MCC All-Tournament Team. A .325 hitter throughout the season, Fields raised her performance in two tournament games with a .375 batting average. Her consistent play helped the Lady Lancers reach the MCC tournament for the first time in a half-decade.

Grace Unable to Make Tournament Run


WARSAW, Ind. – Grace dropped its first two games in the double-elimination Mid-Central College Conference Tournament on Wednesday, falling to Bethel 7-1 in the first game and Indiana Wesleyan 10-3 in the second game.

The No. 8 seeded Lady Lancers (9-32), playing in their first MCC Tournament in five years, gave the No. 1 seeded Lady Pilots (33-7) from Bethel a scare to kick off the morning. Grace only trailed 3-1 entering the sixth inning but surrendered four Pilot runs late in the game.

Grace capitalized on two Bethel errors in the top of the fifth, and scored its lone run when Samantha Fields hit an RBI-single to centerfield. Jordan McKinley had two of Grace’s three hits, and Fields went 1-for-4.

The Lady Lancers were outhit 10-3 on the day.

Defensively, Grace only had one error, and Tiffani Featherston made a nice catch when she robbed Bethel’s Katie Boocher of her second home run of the game in the fifth inning.

In the second game, Grace scored all three of its runs in the top of the first inning with two outs. Olivia Winget hit an RBI-single to score Fields, and Jessica Anton hit an RBI-single to right field. The Lady Lancers, however, gave up six Indiana Wesleyan runs in the bottom of the first and couldn’t recover. The No. 5 seeded Lady Wildcats (22-20) picked up a run in the fourth and two more runs in the fifth to secure the win.

Fields went 2-for-3, and Grace was outhit 11-6. The Lady Lancers racked up four errors in the contest.

The losses eliminated Grace from the MCC Tournament.

MCC Tourney Starts Wednesday for Lady Lancers


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's softball team prepares for their first Mid-Central College Conference Tournament under head coach Heather Johnson.

With a team composed primarily of underclassmen -- only one upperclassman (junior Genevieve Benson) sits on the roster -- the Lady Lancers enter the eight-team, double-elimination round tournament as the No. 8 seed. Grace finished the season 9-30; 3-13 MCC.

The Lady Lancers will face a stiff test in their first-round game, taking on the top-seeded Bethel College. The game will be played on Wednesday at 10 a.m. on Warsaw's City-County Athletic Complex, the site for all MCC tournament games this season. If Grace pulls off the upset, they will take on the winner of No. 4 Taylor and No. 5 Indiana Wesleyan at 2 p.m. With a loss, they will play the loser of that game at 4 p.m.

To view the complete bracket, click here.

Lady Lancers Give Huntington a Scare


HUNTINGTON, Ind. – Grace concluded its regular season with two losses against conference opponent Huntington University on Friday.

After slipping 11-3 in the first game, the Lady Lancers (9-30; 3-13 MCC) almost bounced back in the second game but barely fell 7-6. The Lady Foresters (25-3; 13-3 MCC) are receiving votes in the latest NAIA poll and are on a five-game winning streak.

Grace held a 3-0 lead against the nationally acknowledged Lady Foresters entering the fourth inning of the first game, but Huntington rattled off 11 runs in the final three innings to escape with the victory.

Despite Grace’s first two batters striking out in the top of the third, the Lady Lancers still managed to score all three of their runs during the inning. Jordan McKinley, Genevieve Benson, Katie Clouse and Olivia Winget each had a hit during the inning, helping Grace jump to a 3-0 lead.

Besides the third inning, Grace was quiet at the plate, getting outhit 16-5 overall. Benson went 2-for-3 for the Lady Lancers.

Grace totaled no errors in the first game, its best defensive performance in eight games.

In the second game, Huntington led 7-3 entering the fifth before Grace picked up three runs in the next two innings to give the Lady Foresters a scare.

Grace outhit Huntington 10-8 in the second game but tallied four errors compared to two from the Lady Foresters.

Winget went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, Clouse went 2-for-4, and Benson, Brittney Thacker and Tiffany Featherson each had an RBI.

With three conference wins, two against Spring Arbor and one against Saint Francis, Grace earned its first MCC conference tournament berth in the last half-decade, one of the Lady Lancers’ preseason goals.

Grace enters the postseason on a seven-game losing streak.

The Lady Lancers return to action in the double-elimination MCC conference tournament on Wednesday and Thursday at the CCAC in Warsaw, Ind. The No. 8 seeded Lady Lancers will face conference rival Bethel College, the No. 1 seed, in the opening round.

Grace Can't Slow Down No. 21 Bethel


WARSAW, Ind. – The Lady Lancers struggled to keep up with No. 21 Bethel College, dropping a pair of games 8-2 and 9-1 on Thursday at the City-County Athletic Complex of Warsaw.

Grace was outhit 14-5 in the first game. The Pilots (29-6; 12-2 MCC) plated five runs in the third to break open the game. Samantha Fields provided the strongest offensive force for the Lady Lancers (9-28; 3-11 MCC). She hit a pair of two-out singles in the bottom of the fifth and seventh innings, both times to score Brittany Thacker.

Genevieve Benson, Katie Clouse and Thacker provided the remaining hits for Grace in the game. Olivia Winget took the loss from the mound, yielding eight runs on 14 hits and three walks.

Grace’s offense continued to sputter in the second game, producing three hits overall. Winget, Alexis DeVido and Jordan McKinley each recorded singles. Bethel pounded out 12 more hits and nine runs, ending the game on a run-rule after five innings.

The Lady Lancers’ lone run came in the bottom of the second inning. Winget reached base on a walk and eventually made her way to third base, where she was singled home by DeVido.

Grace will prepare for the Mid-Central College Conference tournament next week. The tournament bracket and game times will be released at the beginning of the week.

Grace Falls Narrowly at Saint Francis Invitational


JOILET, Ill. – The Grace softball team dropped two nail-biters at the University of Saint Francis Spring Softball Invitational on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers (9-26) fell to the University of Saint Francis (Ill.) 8-7 in their first game and barely slipped against Robert Morris University of Chicago 1-0 in the second game.

After exploding for six runs in the first inning, Grace allowed the Fighting Saints (18-17) of Saint Francis to slowly fight their way back into the game. Saint Francis scored one run in the first, two in the third, one in the fifth, tied the game with two runs in the seventh and captured the lead with two more clutch runs in the ninth.

Alexis DeVido had a solid game at the plate for Grace, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Genevieve Benson and Katie Clouse each went 2-for-4 with an RBI apiece. Grace outhit Saint Francis 12-10 on the afternoon.

In the second game, Olivia Winget’s solid performance on the mound wasn’t enough to carry the Lady lancers. Despite pitching seven innings in 45 minutes, Grace struggled offensively and couldn’t get on the board. Robert Morris scored the lone run of the game in the first inning, capitalizing off of a pair of Grace College errors.

Grace is back in action at home in non-conference play against Calumet College of St. Joseph on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

Lady Lancers' Bats Power Past Saint Francis


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace found themselves behind 5-3 entering the fourth inning in a pivotal battle for the postseason conference tournament. The Lady Lancers then erupted for 12 runs in the final three innings to run-rule the Cougars 15-7 after six innings of game one of the doubleheader.

The Lady Lancers (9-24; 3-9 MCC) came out flat in the second half of the twin bill and lost 9-1.

With the win, Grace takes a commanding position in the race against the Cougars (5-22; 1-11 MCC) for a berth in the Mid-Central College Conference postseason tournament.

“Today’s victory puts us in a possible position to qualify for the postseason conference tournament,” said head coach Heather Johnson. “That becomes a big deal for us at this point.”

Katie Clouse and Olivia Winget dominated from the plate of the first game, combining for 11 RBIs. Clouse jumpstarted Grace’s rally with a grand slam in the fifth inning to give the Lady Lancers their first lead of the game at 10-7. Clouse finished 3 for 5 with six RBIs and three runs scored.

In the sixth inning, Grace’s four hits were aided by two Saint Francis errors. The Lady Lancers matched their five-run output in the fifth inning with five tallies in the sixth. Winget ended game one with a double to right-center to score Genevieve Benson and Clouse to complete the run-rule.

Winget helped out her own cause from the mound with a perfect 4 for 4 at-bat. She knocked in five runs, including a three-run homer in the first inning. From the mound, she gave up 11 hits and six earned runs in a complete-game effort while striking out five batters.

“I thought we played really well in that first game. We were able to come-from-behind and mercy them. I feel like our women came focused and ready to play,” Johnson continued. “Getting a number of conference wins helps our team believe we can be competitive on any given day.”

In the second game, the Lady Lancers were outhit 15-2. They allowed the Cougars to score at least one run in every inning. Clouse singled home Brittany Thacker in the first inning to tie the game at one, but Saint Francis dominated from that point on.

Every Cougar recorded a hit in the second game, which ended in a run-rule after five innings.

The Lady Lancers will play a two-day tournament this weekend. On Friday, Grace will play Saint Francis (Ill.) at 11:45 am and Purdue North Central at 3:15 pm.

Taylor Outpaces Grace


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace did its best to make up a three-run deficit to Taylor University in the first game but fell short in its comeback bid 3-2 on Thursday.

The Lady Lancers (8-23; 2-8 MCC) yielded 16 hits in the second game en route to a 10-3 loss to the Lady Trojans (14-14; 7-3 MCC).

Taylor opened the first game with a 3-0 lead through two and a half innings, but Grace countered with a run in the bottom of the third. Samantha Fields hit a two-out double and came around to score via a single from Brittany Thacker.

Fields then reversed roles, singling in Alexis DeVido in the bottom of the fifth to bring Grace within one run. The final seven Lady Lancers were retired, however, to end their rally.

Olivia Winget allowed three runs on 10 hits and two walks in seven innings from the mound. Fields finished 2 for 3, and Thacker, Winget and Jessica Anton each recorded hits.

In the second game, Grace was outhit 16-9 and could not slow down Taylor’s offense. Thacker, Anton and Katie Clouse each recorded two-hit games, but Grace struggled to bunch their hits.

Grace scored a run in the opening inning and two runs in the third but defensively gave up four runs in the second and three runs in the fourth.

The Lady Lancers return to action on Saturday at Miller Field. Grace welcomes University of Saint Francis for a 1 p.m. doubleheader.

Lady Lancers Continue Solid Play against Manchester


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Lady Lancers won their fifth straight game and nearly had a come-from-behind rally in the second game to split with Manchester College on Wednesday.

Grace won a convincing 7-1 game in the opener on the arm of Olivia Winget and narrowly fell 8-7 in the second game.

Both teams went scoreless through the first two innings of the opener before Manchester’s three hits helped score the game’s first run. The Spartans (12-18) had a chance to score another, but Samantha Fields threw out a Manchester runner at the plate

Grace would not find an answer from the plate until the bottom of the fifth. Fields’ second hit of the day drove in Brittany Thacker to even the score at 1-1.

The Lady Lancers then broke the game open in the sixth. Grace put their first four batters on base to start the sixth, and Tiffany Featherston’s RBI single gave Grace their first lead of the game. Alexis DeVido followed that up with a double to deep left-center field to clear the bases and score three more runs.

Grace added two additional runs in the inning, and Olivia Winget finished her complete-game victory. Winget allowed one earned run on six hits and two walks in seven innings.

Fields and Genevieve Benson finished 2 for 4 in the game with Fields driving in two runs. Seven different players scored the seven runs for Grace.

In the second game, Grace’s pitching held Manchester hitless through four innings. The Spartans, however, scored a pair of runs courtesy of two walks and two Lancer errors.

The Lady Lancers, however, responded with two runs of their own. Fields started the inning with a triple and scored on a stolen base. Winget then knocked in Benson with an RBI single. But Grace could not chalk up another run despite a bases-loaded, one-out situation.

Manchester gave themselves some breathing room in the top of the fifth with four runs. The Spartans benefited from two errors and three singles of their own to take a 6-2 lead.

After a solo home run from Manchester in the top of the sixth, DeVido responded with a solo blast of her own to jumpstart a three-run sixth to bring the score to 7-5.

The Lady Lancers made a valiant effort at a last-inning comeback in the seventh. Grace scored two runs off three clutch hits and had two runners on base with nobody out. But trailing by one run, Grace recorded three straight outs to end the rally.

DeVido finished the game 2 for 3 from the plate with two RBIs. Winget and Benson recorded a two-hit game, as well.

The Lady Lancers return to Miller Field on Thursday for a doubleheader with Taylor University. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.

Grace Grabs First MCC Wins in Two Years


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Lady Lancers earned their first conference wins in two years with a sweep of Spring Arbor on Tuesday.

A year after going 0-16 in the Mid-Central College Conference, Grace snapped a 26-game conference losing streak at Miller Field with a pair of 6-3, 6-2 wins over the Lady Cougars (15-13; 4-4 MCC).

Grace took advantage of five Lady Cougar errors in the first game. Olivia Winget pitched the opener and helped win her own game in the opening inning. With runners on second and third, Winget singled down the right-field line to plate Jordan McKinley and Genevieve Benson to take an early 2-0 lead.

After shutting down the Lady Cougars 1-2-3 in the first inning, Winget pitched her way out of a bases-loaded jam in the second by getting the final two batters out to end the threat.

The Lady Lancers (7-20; 2-6 MCC) started the fourth inning with three singles to push across Katie Clouse. Grace then loaded the bases, and Brittany Thacker laid down a suicide squeeze to score Winget, which was aided by an error on Spring Arbor’s catcher.

Samantha Fields kept the momentum going with a single to right-center field to score two more runners as Grace took a commanding 6-0 lead into the fifth inning.

Spring Arbor plated a run in the top of the fifth and looked to make a strong two-out rally in the seventh. The Lady Cougars had four straight players reach base, scoring two to cut the deficit to 6-3. But Winget secured the victory by forcing the next batter to fly out to center field to end the game.

Winget was credited with the win on the mound, giving up six hits and three runs in seven innings. She struck out three and walked six.

Winget was equally impressive with the bat, finishing 2 for 3 with a pair of RBIs. Jessica Anton and McKinley each belted out two hits, and Fields finished with two RBIs.

In the second game, McKinley struck out five batters and gave up just one earned run, and the Lady Lancers ended the game with five unanswered runs.

Spring Arbor started the game with single-run innings in the first and second, but it was all Grace for the rest of the game. The Lady Lancers tied the game in the third off an RBI single from Winget and took the lead for good in the fourth off an RBI single from Fields.

Grace put the exclamation mark on the victory with a three-run fifth. Alexis DeVido hit a bases-clearing double to deep left field to plate three runners and essentially secure the win.

Winget finished a perfect 3 for 3 with two runs knocked in, and Fields and DeVido each secured two-hit games. McKinley gave up five hits and walked three from the mound.

The Lady Lancers had not won a conference game since April 24, 2009, against Indiana Wesleyan. The program has not won more than two MCC games in a season since the 2007-08 campaign.

Grace returns to Miller Field on Wednesday for a doubleheader against Manchester College. The first pitch is schedule for 3:30 p.m.

Grace Produces Clutch Hit to Sweep Rose-Hulman


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – With the game tied 2-2 in Grace’s final at-bats, Samantha Fields singled home Brittany Thacker as the Lady Lancers held on for a 3-2 victory and a sweep of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

The Lady Lancers (5-20) cruised by Rose-Hulman in the opening game 8-1. Pitcher Olivia Winget yielded six hits in a complete-game effort and helped herself out with a solo home run from the plate in the second inning. The win was Winget’s first collegiate victory from the mound.

Genevieve Benson proved dangerous from the plate in the opening game, hitting a pair of doubles with 5 RBIs, and Katie Clouse and Winget each finished 2 for 3.

“Our bats really came alive today, and our pitching kept us in the games,” said head coach Heather Johnson. “These wins help to rebuild our confidence a little. We played well over spring break, and now we are starting to gain some confidence. We were in control of the games and executed well.”

In the second game, the Lady Lancers jumped ahead with two runs in the third inning. Jordan McKinley loaded the bases with a bunt single, and Benson’s ensuing hit resulted in a fielding error, bringing in Fields and Thacker.

The Fightin’ Engineers (9-13) tied the game with two runs in the fourth, and the score remained knotted at two apiece until the seventh inning.

Jordan McKinley gave up nine hits and two earned runs in seven innings, striking out three batters. She also finished 2 for 4 from the plate, and Thacker scored a pair of runs for the Lady Lancers.

The win snaps a 12-game losing streak for Grace. The Lady Lancers will look to carry their momentum into a doubleheader on Saturday at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. First pitch is set for noon.

Marian Too Much for Grace


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Grace fell to Marian University, who is receiving votes in the latest NAIA poll, 11-0 and 11-4 on Thursday.

The Lady Lancers (3-20; 0-6 MCC) struggled offensively in the first game, only earning one hit at the plate, but bounced back in the second contest for eight hits and four runs.

Grace gave Marian a scare in the second contest and led the Lady Knights (20-3; 3-1 MCC) 4-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Marian, however, ignited for eight runs in the fifth and capitalized on two Lady Lancer errors to take a demanding 9-4 lead. They added two more insurance runs in the sixth to complete its two-game sweep over Grace.

The Lady Lancers tallied two runs in the second inning off of three hits, leaving three runners on base, and two more in the fourth off of two hits. Their defense racked up four errors overall.

Eight different players earned a hit for Grace in the second game. Samantha Fields, Brittney Thacker and Genevieve Benson each had an RBI.

Jordan McKinley pitched a solid game on the mound, only sacrificing five earned runs.

In the first game, Grace entered the bottom of the third with the score tied 0-0, but forfeited 11 runs over the next two innings.

McKinley ruined Marian pitcher Emily Gwaltney’s no-hitter by singling to the pitcher’s mound in the final inning of the game, Grace’s only hit of the first game.

The Lady Lancers return to action in non-conference play against Rose-Hulman at 5 p.m. on Friday in Terre Haute, Ind.

Lady Lancers Can't Find Way to Top Wildcats


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s softball team could not find a solution to Indiana Wesleyan in their doubleheader on Tuesday, losing 10-6 and 12-3 at Miller Field.

Grace struggled to field the ball cleanly in the first game, totaling four errors. The Lady Lancers (3-18; 0-4 MCC) yielded 15 hits to the Lady Wildcats – all of which were singles. Indiana Wesleyan worked its small-ball to perfection. They produced five infield singles and six stolen bases.

Indiana Wesleyan used two infield hits and an error to score two runs in the first inning and continued that trend throughout the game. The Lady Wildcats (16-10; 3-3 MCC) scored every inning except the second, including three in the fourth and two in the fifth.

Grace did its best to keep up with the Lady Wildcats’ offense. Genevieve Benson knocked in two runs in the fourth to bring the score 6-4, but Grace could not come closer the rest of the game.

The Lady Lancers combined for 11 hits, highlighted by Olivia Winget’s 2-for-3 performance. She hit a two-run home run to deep center field in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead to four, but the rally ended there.

Katie Clouse finished 3 for 4, and Samantha Fields and Tiffany Featherston each recorded two hits. Genevieve Benson knocked in two runs in the fourth inning.

In the second game, Fields hit a bases-loaded triple in the bottom of the first to put Grace up 3-0. That play proved to be the highlight of the game for Grace.

Indiana Wesleyan countered with five runs in the fourth, including a grand slam from Abbie Forman, who pitched both games for the Lady Wildcats.

Grace then surrendered seven runs in the fifth, sparked by a three-run homer, to put the game out of reach. The game ended in a run rule after five innings.

Fields led Grace offensively, going 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Jessica Anton, Jordan McKinley and Alexis DeVido also recorded hits in the second game.

The Lady Lancers are currently on a 10-game losing streak.

Grace returns to action on Thursday when they travel to Indianapolis, Ind., for a doubleheader with Marian University. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.

Grace Struggles at Plate, Falls to Notre Dame


SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio – Grace totaled two hits on the day and dropped two games to Notre Dame College, 11-0 and 8-0, on Saturday.

In the first game, Notre Dame’s Ashley Harbarger pitched a no-hitter until the fourth inning when Grace’s Samantha Fields singled to center field. In the second game, it was Fields again that got Grace’s only hit of the game, this time on a single up the middle in the first inning.

The Lady Lancers (3-16) were outhit 12-1 in the first game and 9-1 in the second game. Grace fell to the Lady Falcons (8-14) in five innings in the first and six frames in the second.

Olivia Winget and Jordan McKinley pitched for Grace.

The Lady Lancers return to action against conference opponent Indiana Wesleyan on Tuesday at 3 p.m.

Walsh Dominates Grace


NORTH CANTON, Ohio – Grace dropped both of its games in a double-header against Walsh University on Friday, slipping 7-3 in the first game and 18-1 in the second contest.

In the first game, the Lady Lancers (3-14) got off to a rocky start and gave up five runs in the first three innings. Grace surrendered another run in the fifth and one more in the sixth. Grace tallied all three of their runs in the top of the sixth inning to make the score more respectable.

Katie Clouse had a stellar offensive performance for the Lady Lancers, going 3 for 3 at the plate and earning one RBI. Jordan McKinley went 2 for 3 and tallied two RBIs while Samantha Fields and Genevieve Benson each had a hit.

The Lady Lancers were only outhit 11-7 but racked up three errors on defense which led to three unearned runs.

The second game belonged to the Lady Cavaliers (8-9) from the start. Walsh totaled four runs in the first inning, two in the second, seven in the third and five in the fourth to run away with the 18-1 victory, defeating Grace in five innings.

Again, Grace struggled defensively, tallying five errors, which led to eight unearned runs. The Lady Lancers only had three hits on the day, one apiece from Heidi Orr, Olivia Winget and Alexis DeVido.

Grace picked up its only run of the game in the third inning. DeVido had Grace’s lone RBI. 

Grace Unable to Produce Runs in Losses


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace struggled to get on the board in their double-header against Indiana Tech on Thursday.

Despite tallying 15 hits on the afternoon, Grace only produced two runs in two games to fall 10-1 in the first game and 6-1 in the second.

Lady Warriors (17-8) only outhit Grace 12-10 in the first game but jumped to a 5-1 lead in the first inning and steadily built on their lead the remainder of the game. Grace left a total of eight runners on base the duration of the contest.

Eight Grace players connected for hits, and Genevieve Benson and Alexis DeVido totaled two hits apiece. Jessica Anton had Grace’s lone RBI of the contest, scoring Genevieve Benson a single to the pitcher’s mound in the first inning.

Grace’s defense racked up three errors in the opening game.

In the second game, the Lady Lancers (3-12) gave up two runs in the first, third and seventh innings. A pair of two-run homers in the first and third innings helped Indiana Tech jump to an early 4-0 lead.

Grace scored its only run of the game in the sixth when Anton, again, scored Benson on a single through the hole at second base, Anton’s ninth RBI of the season.

Katie Clouse went 2 for 3 with a pair of singles, and Benson, Anton and Olivia Winget each had a hit. Grace played much better defensively in the second game and didn’t rack up a single error.

Pitchers Jordan McKinley and Olivia Winget were credited with the losses.

Indiana Tech is now on a massive 13-game winning streak, their last loss coming on March 4, nearly a month ago.

Grace returns to action on the road against Walsh University on Friday at 3 p.m.

Grace Falls in Conference Opener


GOSHEN, Ind. – Grace struggled in their conference opener, falling to Goshen 6-1 and 5-4 on Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers (3-10; 0-2 MCC) scored their only run of the first game in the opening inning, then gave up a run in the first, second, and fourth along with three runs in the sixth to fall 6-1.

Grace totaled only three hits in the first game compared to 10 from Goshen. Brooke Shadinger, Genevieve Benson and Olivia Winget each had a hit, and Benson had Grace’s lone RBI.

In the second game, Grace was neck-and-neck with Goshen and entered the seventh and final inning tied 4-4. The Lady Lancers racked up two errors, however, which led to a 5-4 victory for the Maple Leafs (6-5; 2-0 MCC).

Goshen outhit Grace 7-5 in the second contest, and all of Grace’s hits came from the top four women in the lineup. Samantha Fields went 2 for 4, the only Lady Lancer to tally two hits on the day, and Benson, Katie Clouse and Jessica Anton each had a hit. Anton totaled two RBIs, and Olivia Winget had one.

The Lady Lancers entered the top of the third inning tied 1-1, then totaled three runs in the third to take a 4-1 lead. Fields and Clouse both got on base with singles, and Anton doubled down the right field line to score both runners. In the bottom of the third, Goshen responded with three runs of its own to tie the game 4-4.

Grace returns to action at home against Indiana Tech on Thursday for a 3 p.m. start. 

Bats Come Alive, Grace Splits with Siena Heights


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – After dropping the first game, the Lady Lancers pounded out 14 hits in a five inning run-rule of the Siena Heights Lady Saints in game two on Monday afternoon at Miller Field.

Grace (3-8) trailed early in the opening game, allowing the first five batters to reach base and giving up four runs in the first inning. Siena Heights (8-15) recorded 14 hits en route to a 9-1 victory.

Samantha Fields scored the lone run for the Lady Lancers after ripping a triple to right field. She was later brought home on a single from Genevieve Benson.

After a rough first inning, Olivia Winget settled in and pitched a complete game. She finished the game giving up nine earned runs, while striking out four and walking two.

Benson paced the Lady Lancers with a pair of singles and an RBI. Fields finished with a hit and a run scored. Jessica Anton and Winget recorded one hit apiece.

In game two, Jordan McKinley took the rubber and pitched a gem to earn her first victory of the season. She allowed three runs, one earned, and struck out three batters in five innings of work.

After going scoreless over the first two innings, Grace’s bats erupted and tallied three or more runs in three consecutive innings.

With runners on first and second in the third inning, Katie Clouse doubled on a fly ball to deep left-center field plating Fields and Brooke Shadinger to take a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, Anton singled up the middle to bring home Clouse, increasing the lead to three.

In the fifth inning, Siena Heights notched two runs but still trailed 6-3. In the bottom of the inning, Grace put up a five-spot to complete the five inning run-rule 11-3. With two runs in already, Shadinger lined a bases-clearing triple to right-center to score McKinley, Tiffany Featherston, and Fields to end the game.

Every Lady Lancer in the lineup got in on the action. Eight tallied hits, seven scored runs, and five had RBIs.

Fields finished 2 for 4 with three runs scored; Shadinger was 2 for 4 with three RBIs and Clouse recorded two RBIs on 2 of 3 from the plate.

Grace will be on the road tomorrow to open conference play when they face off against Goshen College in a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m.

Grace Concludes Tourney on Four-Game Winning Streak


MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The last six years, Grace’s softball team hasn’t won more than two games in a row. They changed that in dramatic fashion on Friday.

The Lady Lancers (6-8) earned their third and fourth victories in a row to conclude the Snowbird Tournament, defeating Potomac State 13-5 in the first game and 10-8 in the second game thanks to a walk-off home run by Katie Clouse.

In the second game, Grace entered the seventh inning trailing by four runs. A series of hits, however, got the Lady Lancers within one run (8-7) with one out remaining in the game. Clouse had two strikes against her with runners on first and second, then blasted a clutch three-run homer to end the game.

Clouse went 4 for 4 in the second game and totaled three RBIs. Brooke Shadinger and Genevieve Benson also tallied two hits apiece. Olivia Winget struck out 12 Potomac batters.

“I think they are gaining confidence,” said head coach Heather Johnson. “I think they are starting to see that if you put the effort in, you can win. They are starting to believe they can do it. A little bit of it is maturity, and a little bit of is belief. But it’s coming together.”

In the first game, the Lady Lancers won in six innings thanks to another solid performance by Jessica Anton. After nailing two home runs and totaling five hits yesterday, Anton continued her impressive offensive stretch with two homers and five RBIs in the first contest on Friday.

Brittney Thacker was a perfect 4 for 4 at the plate with four singles. Shadinger and Katie Clouse both went 3 for 4 and tallied two RBIs apiece, and Samantha Fields totaled three RBIs. Jordan McKinley and Tiffany Featherston also went 3 for 4 and each scored twice.

McKinley struck out eight batters for Grace.

“We are still maturing as a team,” Johnson continued. “We played a lot of small ball today, and they had trouble defending it. But then we also came up and hit home runs. If we continue on this path and keep building on the progress we’ve made, we could break some records this year.”

Grace returns to action at home on Monday against Siena Heights for a 3:30 p.m. start.

Grace Earns Two More Victories in Myrtle


MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Grace picked up their third and fourth victories of the season on Thursday with a dominant 11-4 win over Potomac State and a 17-1 blowout against Wells College.

In the first game, Grace picked up one run in the first inning, three runs in the third, three in the fourth and four in the sixth to run away with the victory, Grace’s second win against Potomac State this week in the Snowbird Tournament.

Jessica Anton helped carry the Lady Lancers (4-8), hitting two home runs against Potomac, going 3 for 4 at the plate and totaling six RBIs. Tiffany Featherston and Brooke Shadinger had two hits, and Olivia Winget hit a home run.

Winget was credited with the win, striking out six batters overall.

“We were very strong offensively today,” said head coach Heather Johnson. “That first game we had back-to-back homeruns, and Jessica had back-to-back home runs as well. We were effective. We had runners in scoring position, and we executed.”

Grace continued its solid offensive performance in the second game, tallying five runs in the first inning and 12 runs in the third on its way to a 17-1 win.

Brittney Thacker went 4 for 4 at the plate and tallied five RBIs. She also hit an inside-the-park grand slam in the third inning.  Genevieve Benson went 3 for 4, and Samantha Fields and Jessica Anton each had two hits. Fields had three RBIs, and Shadinger had two.

Amy Hucker earned the victory on the mound and struck out four batters.

“I think we are starting to click as a team,” Johnson continued. “Traveling together has helped us get some experience, and it’s helped the team gel. On Monday, they saw what they could do. After a rough day on Tuesday, they turned it around today and came out prepared. We are in the beginning of maturity and growth.”

Grace concludes their spring break trip on Friday against Bowie State at 9 a.m. and Potomac State at 11 a.m.

Grace Falls in Second Day of Snowbird Tournament


MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – After winning their first games of the season on day one of the Snowbird Tournament, Grace’s softball team did not find the same fate on Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers (2-6) dropped two games – 8-3 to Bowie State University and 11-2 to Hudson Valley Community College.

Grace defeated Bowie State on Monday and appeared to continue that trend. The Lady Lancers struck first, scoring two runs in the second. But the Bulldogs (8-11) regained the lead in the third inning with three runs. Grace managed to tie the game in the top of the sixth, but Bowie State broke open the game with a five-run sixth.

Jessica Anton highlighted Grace’s offense, going 2 for 3 with a home run and two RBIs.

In the second game, the Lady Lancers could only manage a pair of runs in the second inning. Hudson Valley scored three runs in the first and fourth innings and added a four-run second in a convincing performance.

Tiffany Featherston finished the game 2 for 2 with two RBIs, and Brooke Shadinger went 2 for 3.

The Lady Lancers continue action in the Snowbird Tournament on Thursday with games against Potomac State and Wells College.

Lady Lancers Grab First Wins


MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Grace's softball team earned their initial wins of the season in the Snowbird Tournament on Monday.

The Lady Lancers (2-6) knocked off Potomac State and Bowie State in the first day of the weeklong tournament.

In the first game, Jessica Anton drove home three runners and finished 2 for 4 to help Grace knock off Potomac State, 7-2.

Olivia Winget pitched solidly, giving up two runs and three hits in a complete-game effort. She struck out five batters and walked two.

Grace powered past Bowie State in the second game, recording seven extra-base hits in a 7-4 victory. Brittney Thacker finished with four RBIs on 2 of 2 from the plate to lead Grace's production. Anton and Winget each had two doubles with Anton scoring three times.

Amy Hucker and Jordan McKinley combined for eight hits and five strikeouts from the mound.

On Tuesday, the Lady Lancers will take on Hudson Valley Community College at 9 a.m. and Bowie State at 11 a.m.

Grace's Early-Season Struggles Continue


CEDARVILLE, Ohio – Grace dropped two against Cedarville University, 10-3 and 4-2, on Thursday.

The Lady Lancers (0-5) led 2-1 entering the bottom of the third and 3-2 entering the fourth but surrendered eight runs in the final three innings to drop the first game.

Grace and Cedarville both had seven hits in the first game, but the Lady Lancers racked up four errors in the contest that led to eight unearned runs.

Genevieve Benson, Katie Clouse and Jessica Anton each tallied two hits. Olivia Winget pitched all seven innings and only gave up two earned runs. She also had an RBI.

In the second game, the Lady Yellow Jackets (8-8) picked up right where they left off from the first game and exploded for four runs in the first inning. Grace picked up one run in the third inning and another in the fifth to fall 4-2.

Clouse concluded her stellar performance with two more hits, and Brooke Shadinger totaled two hits as well. Benson and Shadinger each had an RBI.

Jordan McKinley pitched the entire game and struck out three batters.

Grace is still searching for its first win of the season.

The Lady Lancers return to action at the Snowbird Tournament on Mar. 21-28 in Myrtle Beach, SC. They will take on Bowie State at 9 a.m. and Potomac State at 11 a.m. on Monday.

Purdue North Central Tops Grace in Home Opener


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's softball team was not able to grab its first win of the season and lost a pair to Purdue North Central in their home opener.

The Lady Lancers (0-4) played Purdue North Central closely in two different types of games, falling 3-2 in a defensive struggle and 11-7 in a second-game slugfest.

In the first game, freshman Olivia Winget pitched herself out of several jams and, aided by clutch defensive performances, forced the Panthers (12-7-1) into nine runners left on base.

Grace scored a run in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings but were not able to overcome the three-run deficit.

Katie Clouse hit a solo homer in the seventh, and Jordan McKinley and Tiffany Featherson each recorded a hit.

Both teams erupted for 14 hits apiece in the second game with Purdue North Central starting the game with three runs.

The Lady Lancers battled back from a 5-1 deficit with three-run innings in the third and fourth to take a 7-5 lead.

The Panthers, however, responded with a five-run fifth to take the lead for good.

Brooke Shadinger had her best offensive game of her young collegiate career, going 3 for 4 with a triple, a double and three runs scored. Clouse finished 3 for 4 with three RBIs, and Alexis DeVido and Brittney Thacker each went 2 for 4.

Click here to view photographs from Grace's game against Purdue North Central.

The Lady Lancers play at Cedarville University on Thursday at 3 p.m.

Grace Drops First Two of 2011 Campaign


NEW ALBANY, Ind. – Grace fell 8-0 and 11-1 in its double-header against Indiana University Southeast last Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers (0-2) hung with IU-Southeast for the majority of the game and only trailed 3-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning. Lady Grenadiers (10-8), however, exploded for five runs in the sixth to extinguish Grace’s hopes of an opening day victory.

Grace tallied two hits in the first game, one by Brittney Thacker and another by Genevieve Benson.

In the second game, Grace trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the fourth inning but surrendered two runs in the fourth, two in the fifth and five in the sixth to lose handily against the Lady Grenadiers.

Samantha Fields went 2 for 3 on the afternoon, tallying Grace’s only two hits of the contest. Katie Clouse had an RBI to get Grace on the board in the top of the fourth inning.

Grace had three errors in the first game and five errors in the second.

The Lady Lancers’ home opener against Purdue North Central has been rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m.

Softball Enters 2011 with Different Look


WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Lady Lancer softball team enters the 2011 season looking to continue rebuilding a program that has been in shambles in recent years. They’ll take the field with a different look, too, showcasing a roster that boasts talent, youth and promise.

Head coach Heather Johnson, entering her second season at the helm of the program, brought in a seven-person freshmen class to jumpstart the rebuilding process, six to seven of which will most likely start.

“The freshmen will make up for their lack of experience with high energy and their versatility,” Johnson commented. “We are going to play aggressive, and for this reason, I know we will make some mistakes. But it won’t be because of a lack of talent.”

The freshmen that are expected to have the biggest impact are Olivia Winget, Jordan McKinley and Brooke Shadinger. Winget and McKinley will be shouldering most of the load on the mound this season, and Shadinger will man centerfield and will be heavily relied on to be a leader in the outfield.

Winget posted a 1.59 career ERA at Southwood High School with 494 strikeouts, 43 victories, 15 shutouts and two no-hitters. She will also add some power to the middle of the lineup as she batted .494 during her senior year at Southwood and totaled eight home runs.

Johnson stressed that with a team this young, team chemistry is crucial to the program’s success and foundation.

“Our team is striving to be unified and to work through the challenges that this season will provide,” Johnson said. “We have become more of a unit since the fall and now throughout the winter. We are excited to see what the spring brings.”

Grace only returns three starters from last season in Genevieve Benson, Katie Clouse and Sam Fields. Fields looks to solidify the middle infield, as she was an MCC All-Conference honorable mention last year as a freshman. She led the team in hitting with a .336 batting average and will look to do so again.

Benson is the lone upperclassman and will serve as the leader on and off the field. She will play alongside Fields in the middle of the infield at second base. Clouse is transitioning from playing third base to being the catcher for the Lady Lancers this season.

Johnson expects her young lineup to play an aggressive, high-energy style of softball. Grace will turn out a faster lineup this season that will generate more hits and consequently more runs.

One of the team goals this year is to qualify for the MCC conference tournament, something they’ve been unable to do the last half-decade. They also want to compete in the NCCAA regional tournament come postseason.

Overall, Johnson is excited for the upcoming season as she tries to lead her players to compete beyond their years. Even though Grace’s youth will bring about some challenges, it will allow them to mature early as they pursue their team goals.

Says Johnson, “Our biggest challenge will be to build their confidence early as we try to put all the pieces together and pursue our team goals.”