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Grace Topples No. 19 IWU

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Grace’s softball team handed No. 19 Indiana Wesleyan its first loss in 25 games, upsetting the Wildcats on the road on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers beat IWU 8-5 in the second game of the doubleheader, snapping IWU’s 25-game winning streak and giving the Wildcats their first loss of the Crossroads League season.

“I’m proud of this team for continuing to battle and put themselves in a position to win. Their determination was evident throughout the game,” said Grace head coach Heather Johnson. “Our pitchers kept the game close, and we had timely hitting and strategic offense to ensure the win.”

The Lady Lancers did not back down from the Wildcats in the opener, producing two runs in the top of the first inning. After Brooke Shell and Samantha Johnson reached base safely to start the game, Clarissa Knight hit both players in with a shot to center field.

IWU responded with a three-run home run in the bottom of the first to grab a 3-2 lead, but Grace quickly tied it up. Shell reached base and moved to third on two bunts. Chandler Elliott then singled in Shell to tie the game.

Doubles in the fifth and sixth innings added two more runs for IWU as the Wildcats moved ahead 5-3. The Lady Lancers had baserunners in the sixth and seventh innings, but they were unable to rally for the win.

Knight was 2-for-2 with two RBIs, and Shell scored two runs. Elliott tossed the complete game, giving up two earned runs in six innings.

Grace jumped out to a lead early in the second game as well. Ashley Kleinbub blasted a two-out triple to deep left field to plate Knight and Johnson, and Kleinbub came around to score on the play on an errant throw.

Alex Shipley held IWU scoreless for the first four innings, and she added a fourth run of her own in the top of the fourth inning. The Lady Lancers looked to break the game open with a four-run outburst in the fifth, pushing their lead to 8-0. Shipley drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single, and Knight and Chelsea Whitesell also scored in the inning.

But IWU was not ready to surrender its 25-game winning streak. The Wildcats struck back with five runs in the bottom of the fifth.

Each team wasted chances to score more runs. Grace had bases loaded in the sixth inning, and IWU put runners on the corners in the seventh. But Allison Franklin shut down the Wildcats’ offense, striking out five batters in just 2.1 innings of relief from the mound.

Kleinbub was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, Morgan Hutcheson and Elliott were 2-for-3, and Johnson hit 2-for-5.

The Lady Lancers enjoy five home dates next week at Miller Field. Grace hosts Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Monday, Taylor on Tuesday, Huntington on Wednesday, St. Francis on Friday and Goshen on Saturday.

Green’s Shutout Lifts Lancers Over IWU

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Pictured is Austin Green pitching against IWU on Saturday

A complete-game gem from Austin Green helped Grace’s baseball team to a split with Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday.

The Lancers (11-16, 4-8 Crossroads League) lost the opener 5-3 before rebounding to a 5-0 win in the second game, thanks to Green’s shutout at Miller Field.

Grace started strong in the opening game, but the Lancers faded late. Grace pulled ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Green produced a timely two-out RBI single, and Grace benefitted from two walks and two hit batsmen in the inning.

The Wildcats (17-17, 7-5 CL) responded by notching five runs between the fourth and sixth innings. IWU notched four hits in the fifth to go on top 3-2 and furthered its lead to 5-2 with two more runs in the sixth.

Grace pieced together a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth. Logan Grigsby was hit by a pitch, and Jared Lemler singled next. Grigsby then scampered home on a stolen base as the Wildcats were distracted gunning down the runner at second base, making the score 5-3.

Quentin Herbster had a one-out double in the seventh inning to give Grace hope, but the final two batters for Grace were retired to end the game.

Frank Rocchio, Baker and Lemler were each 1-for-2 from the plate, and Logan Grigsby pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.

In the second game, Grace got its revenge. The Lancers erupted in the third inning with five runs. Lemler and Grigsby led off the inning with singles, and Herbster was hit to load the bases with nobody out. Vosler then laced a two-run single to the outfield. Rocchio then cleared the bases, lofting a three-run homer over the fence to put Grace up 5-0.

Austin Green took care of the rest on the mound, holding the Wildcats scoreless for the duration of the game. The sophomore’s complete-game shutout featured 6 hits, 1 walk and 4 strikeouts in a sparkling performance.

The Wildcats had one of their best chances to score in the sixth inning with runners on second and third. But Rocchio helped turn a double play, and Vosler made an outstanding throw from the shortstop hole to retire the side.

Grace and IWU had six hits apiece and neither team had an error. Rocchio was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, and Grigsby had two infield singles and a stolen base.

The Lancers enjoy a homestand next week at Miller Field. Grace hosts Bethel on Tuesday and Marian on Friday/Saturday.

Kauffman Earns All-American Recognition

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Allison Kauffman wrapped up her sterling Lady Lancer career by being lauded as an All-American by the NAIA and NCCAA.

Kauffman was First Team All-American by the NCCAA and was honorable mention for NAIA All-American after an outstanding senior campaign.

The Fort Wayne, Ind., native led Grace in both scoring (17.7 points per game) and rebounding (8.9 rebounds per game). She finished the year ranked 10th in NAIA Div. II in total points (619) and total rebounds (313). Her 14 double-doubles were second in the Crossroads League

She will graduate as No. 2 in Grace’s program history for career points with 1,784 and career rebounds with 945. She made (183) and attempted (232) the most free throws in a single season in Grace’s history, and her 313 rebounds during the 2014-15 campaign were the second-most in a year, behind only the 314 grabbed by Cheryl Myers in 1989-90. Furthermore, she made 77.7 percent of her free throws for her career, finishing with the fourth-highest percentage from the foul line in a career.

Additionally, seven Lady Lancers were named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes at the season’s conclusion. Grace’s seven Scholar-Athletes were the most in the Crossroads League and tied for third-most in the NAIA, behind only Hastings (Neb.) and Mount Marty (S.D.) who had eight apiece. Kauffman, Gabby Bryant, JoEllen Fickel, Heather House, Tiffany Petro, Kelsey Sule and Lindsey Schaefer were given the academic distinction. Student-athletes must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5 and be a junior or senior in order to be nominated.

The Lady Lancers earned their third winning season in four years this winter under head coach Scott Blum. The senior class also racked up 74 victories since 2011, marking the highest four-year total in Lady Lancer history. The seniors also had a .500 or better record in Crossroads League play all four seasons – the first four such seasons in team history.

Postseason Honors Come in for Grace

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Grace’s men’s basketball team enjoyed its ninth consecutive season with a national tournament appearance during the 2014-15 season. It was also Grace’s first time appearing in two national tournaments in one season.

The Lancers’ success under head coach Jim Kessler earned a number of individual honors on the national scale.

Logan Irwin highlighted Grace’s awards haul by being named honorable mention for NAIA All-American and Second Team NCCAA All-American. The junior point guard led Grace in scoring with 13.6 points per game and also tallied a team-high 4.4 assists per game.

Brandon Vanderhegghen was named to the 2015 NCCAA All-Tournament Team. The junior guard had a sparkling tournament for the Lancers, averaging 20.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 steals over the three-game tourney. He ended the tournament with a career-high 28 points with six 3-pointers against Cincinnati Christian.

Additionally, Kyle Fillman and Drew Perrin were named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes. Student-athletes must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5 and be a junior or senior in order to be nominated.

The Lancers advanced to the “Sweet Sixteen” of the NAIA National Championships in Branson, Mo., before returning home to play in the NCCAA National Championships. Grace finished sixth at NCCAA Nationals.

Grace ended the year ranked No. 19 in the NAIA Div. II Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll.

Grace College and Bethel College Unite for Common Cause

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Pictured left to right: Monica Boyer, Gov. Mike Pence, Dr. Bill Katip, Dr. Gregg Chenoweth

Rivals on the basketball court but partners when fighting for a common cause, the presidents of Grace College, Winona Lake and Bethel College in Mishawaka were among those attending the private ceremony this morning in which Gov. Mike Pence signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the governor’s private Indianapolis Statehouse office.  Dr. Bill Katip (second from right), president of Grace and Dr. Gregg Chenoweth (right) president of Bethel College, are shown here after the ceremony with Gov. Pence and with local activist Monica Boyer.

In a press statement following the signing of the controversial bill, Gov. Pence explained, “Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith. The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.”

Also attending the ceremony was Monica Boyer, a Bethel graduate and current Grace employee. Boyer, a political activist, is president of Kosciusko Silent NO More and is co-founder of Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate.

http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/Ind-Governor-Mike-Pence-signs-religious-freedom-bill-297651091.html

Grace Splits Pair with Bethel

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

pictured is freshman Brittany Turner rounding third base against Bethel on Wednesday.

Grace’s softball team opened up Miller Field for the first time in 2015 with a doubleheader against Bethel on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers (11-9, 4-3 Crossroads League) split with Bethel, losing the first game 5-2 before rebounding for an 11-7 win in the day’s finale.

In the opening game, the Lady Lancers struggled defensively with four fielding errors. The Lady Pilots (6-9, 2-5 CL) capitalized by scoring all five of their runs in the first two innings to take a commanding 5-0 lead.

Grace’s bats struggled for the first half of the game. Morgan Hutcheson notched the only two hits for Grace over the first five innings. The Lady Lancers eventually found a spark offensively in the sixth, scoring two runs off two hits. Kati Gregory launched a two-out single to deep right-center field, bringing in freshmen Chandler Elliott and Ashley Kleinbub.

Grace put a runner in scoring position with Samantha Johnson at second base in the seventh, but the final two batters were retired to stop any potential comeback.

Hutcheson was 2-for-4 with a double, and Gregory was 1-for-2 with two RBIs. Alex Shipley tossed three scoreless innings of relief, limiting the Lady Pilots to one hit with three strikeouts.

The second game started much more positively for the Lady Lancers. Grace jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning thanks to runs from Brooke Shell, Elliott and Kleinbub. Gregory doubled with two outs to score the final two runs of the inning.

The second inning was explosive for Grace. The Lady Lancers started the inning with six consecutive singles from Brittany Melzoni, Samantha Johnson, Shell, Hutcheson, Clarissa Knight and Elliott. Grace tacked on four more runs in the inning.

Bethel pulled one run back with a solo homer and added two more in the fourth to make the score 7-3, but the Lady Lancers blew open the contest in the sixth. With two outs in the top of the sixth, Knight came up with a stand-up triple to deep right-center field, scoring two runs. Elliott followed that up with a single to plate Knight and put Grace ahead 11-3.

The Lady Pilots made things interesting in their final at-bats, launching a grand slam to slice Grace’s lead down to four. But Allison Franklin got the next three batters out to end the game, striking out two in the inning.

Shell was a sizzling 4-for-4 with three runs and a stolen base. Elliott was 3-for-4 with four RBIs, Melzoni hit 2-for-3 with two runs, and Hutcheson batted 2-for-4 with two runs.

The Lady Lancers are scheduled for two more home doubleheaders this week, including versus Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Friday at 5 p.m. and against Huntington on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Brooke Shell Breaks Grace’s Record for Career Hits

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

In less than three seasons, All-American outfielder Brooke Shell has broken the career hits’ record for Grace’s softball team.

The senior from Hartford City, Ind., tied the career hits’ record on Saturday with a single against Goshen in the second inning. One inning later, she became the first Lady Lancer to record 200 career hits with a single to left field. Shell broke the previous record of 199 hits held by Olivia Winget (2011-14).

“I’m excited for Brooke to have broken the career hits’ record in only three seasons. She has been a pivotal player in our program’s transition,” said Grace head coach Heather Johnson. “She is an offensive leader on our team and continues to improve with each season. Brooke is a one-of-a-kind player to have coached, and she will have made a significant impact at the close of her career.”

Shell is arguably already the greatest offensive player in program history. She already holds the single-season records for most hits, most triples, most runs and most stolen bases.

She also is Grace’s all-time leader in career stolen bases (67) and is on pace to shatter the career batting average record. Shell currently boasts an average of .445 for her career, well above the current No. 1 spot of .411 held by Ginnette Dunwell.

Shell was a First Team NCCAA All-American in 2014 and has been honorable mention for NAIA All-American in 2013 and 2014.

Grace Track Kicks off Outdoor Season

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Grace’s track and field team split its efforts in two meets to start the outdoor season on Saturday.

Following one of the best indoor seasons in program history, Grace earned a number of NCCAA qualifiers and even a few school records.

A few student-athletes competed in a field-only meet at Taylor University while the rest were at Butler University for the Butler Bulldog Open.

At Butler, Mya Brown set a school record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.38 seconds to qualify for NCCAA Nationals. She also met the NCCAA standard in the long jump and the triple jump.

Katelyn McCullough (800m), Nathan Lane (1500) and Donovan Graham also were NCCAA qualifiers in their respective events. Joel Zook qualified for NCCAA’s in the 400 with a time of 51.26 and narrowly missed the mark in the 200 at 22.86. Alicia Hertzler produced a pair of PR’s in the 200 (27.67) and the 400 (1:02.67).

At Taylor, Macallister Seitz set a new school record in the hammer throw, heaving it 140-feet-3. Jacob Brown also beat the old school-record mark in the meet by tossing 137-10. Both student-athletes qualified for NCCAA’s.

Macallister Seitz met the NCCAA mark in the discus with a throw of 134-10, and Tyler Back did the same in the shot put at 43-6. Nathan Brown also cleared the NCCAA standard in the high jump with a leap of 6-4.

On the women’s side, Hannah Treadway qualified for NCCAA Nationals in the javelin with a throw of 104-6.

“Overall it was a strong start to our outdoor season. We were missing a few athletes due to minor injuries or illness, but we still produced a couple of school records and several NCCAA qualifiers,” said Grace coach Jeff Raymond. “This gives us something to build off of in the coming weeks.”

The Lancers’ next outdoor meet is on March 28 for the Goshen College Invitational.

Grace’s Offense Erupts in Sweep of Maple Leafs

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

An eruption. An explosion. An outburst. Whatever you want to call it, Grace’s offense had it during the Lady Lancers’ sweep of Goshen on Saturday.

Grace’s softball team enjoyed 22 runs and 28 hits over the doubleheader as the Lady Lancers won 11-10 and 11-3.

In the opening game, the teams took turns matching each other on the scoreboard. Grace struck first with two runs in the first inning after Chandler Elliott blasted a two-run double. But the Maple Leafs countered with two runs to tie the score in the bottom of the inning.

Grace and Goshen each scored a run in the second, and Grace added two more in the fourth off the bat of Clarissa Knight. The Maple Leafs thought they had gained separated in their half of the fourth with a five-run outburst to pull ahead 8-5.

But the Lady Lancers were far from finished with six more runs in the top of the fifth. Ashley Kleinbub and Hannah Adams led off the inning with back-to-back doubles, and Kati Gregory, Alex Shipley and Samantha Johnson singled on the next three at-bats. Knight and Elliott drove in the final three runs of the inning with consecutive two-out singles to put the Lady Lancers ahead 11-8.

Goshen pulled back within one at 11-10 after plating two in the fifth, and Elliott handled the rest from the mound. The freshman hurler kept Goshen from finding the game-tying run over the last two innings, tossing the final 3.1 innings in relief. She also batted 3-for-5 with three RBIs.

Alex Shipley batted 3-for-4 with two runs, and Knight drove in three runs with two hits. Brooke Shell also plated three times and notched two hits.

In the second game, Grace scored early and often. Shell was a one-player wrecking crew on offense, leading Grace with a perfect 4-for-4 performance from the leadoff position. She drove in four runs, scored twice and even stole a base.

Grace ripped off five runs over the first two innings then added six more in the fourth.

Incredibly, Grace blasted three home runs in one inning during the fourth. Knight belted a solo homer to lead off the inning, and Brittany Melzoni had a two-run home run with two outs. After Shipley and Johnson reached base on the next two at-bats, Shell cleared the bases with a three-run blast for the team’s third homer of the inning.

For the game, Grace outhit Goshen 12-4 with five of Grace’s hits going for extra bases. The Lady Lancers’ speed on the basepaths was also showcased with four steals. Johnson swiped two bases and scored twice, and Chandler Elliot was 2-for-4.

Hannah Adams earned the win on the mound, tossing four innings and allowing four hits with four strikeouts. The game ended after five innings due to the eight-margin run rule.

The Lady Lancers’ next series is on Tuesday at Bethel. Grace will open up Miller Field with home games next week with three doubleheaders, including against on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Lancers Take One of Two from Goshen

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

The Lancers’ baseball squad improved to 3-1 in Crossroads League play with a split of Goshen on Saturday afternoon.

The Lancers (10-9, 3-1 CL) pulled out a 4-3 victory in the first game before Goshen’s pitching stifled the Lancers into a 9-0 defeat in game two.

In the opening game, timely hitting and strong pitching helped Grace to a narrow 4-3 victory. Grace had three fielding errors in the contest, but the Lancers also outhit the Maple Leafs 9-6.

The Lancers came out firing in the first inning, scoring three runs with a massive two-out rally. CJ Swartz walked with two men out and stole second. He came home on a single from Austin Green. Back-to-back doubles from Quentin Herbster and Frank Rocchio drove in two more runs as Grace grabbed a 3-0 lead.

Neither team would score again until the fifth inning when the Maple Leafs tied the game. It was Goshen’s turn to make a two-out run, plating all three of their runs after the first two batters were retired. A throwing error kept Goshen’s inning alive on the fifth at-bat, and the Maple Leafs made Grace pay by tying the game at 3-3.

The Lancers’ response was immediate in the top of the sixth. Green doubled down the right field line. After Logan Grigsby came on as a pinch runner, he advanced to third on a wild pitch. Rocchio took care of the rest with a sacrifice fly to right-center field to bring home Grigsby.

Goshen was poised to even the score in the bottom of the sixth with a runner on third and one out, but Grace made the defensive play of the game to tag out the runner at home plate on a bunt. Goshen still had two runners in scoring position with two outs, but Jason Stevens got the final batter of the inning to ground out to second base.

Stevens pitched 2.1 innings in relief, allowing one hit and zero runs in an effective outing. The Maple Leafs again put a runner in scoring position in the seventh, but Stevens ended the game from the mound with a strikeout and a ground out to third.

Brook Vosler and Aaron Christenberry were 2-for-4 from the first two spots in the lineup, and Green batted 2-for-3. Rocchio drove in three of Grace’s four runs.

The second game was a forgettable one for Grace. The Lancers were held to one hit by the sterling pitching of Goshen’s Eli Grimes.

CJ Swartz got Grace’s lone hit of the second game with the first at-bat of the seventh inning, spoiling a potential no-hitter from Grimes. Grace did have one baserunner from an error, one from a hit by pitch and one from a walk, but the Lancers were otherwise handcuffed on offense. Wesley Gensch notched two strikeouts in a scoreless inning of relief.

The Lancers’ next doubleheader is on Friday next week at Mt. Vernon Nazarene.