Pictured is senior Olivia Winget at the plate against Bethel
Grace’s softball team split a doubleheader with second-place Bethel College at Miller Field on Monday thanks to a 15-run outburst in the second game.
The Lady Lancers (18-24; 14-12 Crossroads League) lost 6-1 in the opener before rallying in a convincing 15-3 victory in the second half of the twin bill. Grace is now tied for fifth place in the CL standings, two games out of second behind the Pilots (19-15; 15-9 CL).
The Pilots blitzed the Lady Lancers early in the first game. Bethel ripped off five runs on six hits in the opening inning, benefitting from a two-out error to score three unearned runs.
Bethel added another run in the second to claim a commanding 6-0 lead. Grace, meanwhile, did not get on the scoreboard until the fourth inning. Clarissa Knight reached base with a single through the left side of the infield, and Olivia Winget doubled Knight in the score.
Outside of the fourth inning, Grace struggled to put together any offensive rhythm. The Lady Lancers struck out 14 times against Bethel pitcher Natalie Newell, mustering just five hits overall.
Allison Franklin did not allow a run to score in five innings of relief from the mound. She scattered three hits with no walks and two strikeouts.
The second game was a different story for Grace. The Lady Lancers plated four runs in the opening inning, highlighted by a two-run double from Alex Shipley. The offensive barrage continued in the second inning as Grace scored seven more runs. Clarissa Knight and Brooke Shell each recorded two-run doubles, and Chelsea Whitesell cleared the bases with a double to add three more runs. Shell notched two hits in the inning.
Grace increased its lead to 15-2 in the bottom of the third with four more runs. Hannah Adams, Morgan Cody, Brittney Melzoni and Samantha Johnson had RBIs during the inning. The Lady Lancers went on to end the game early due to the run-rule after Bethel’s half of the fifth.
Shell finished 3-for-4 with 2 runs, 2 RBIs and 1 stolen base, and Knight was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a steal. Winget and Adams scored three times apiece, and Morgan Hutcheson plated twice.
Adams took the win with a complete-game effort from the mound. She allowed seven hits and three runs in five innings pitched.
The Lady Lancers continue league play on the road Tuesday at Marian. Grace returns to Miller Field on Friday (against Spring Arbor) and Saturday (Indiana Wesleyan) to wrap up the regular season.