Pictured is freshman Hannah Adams pitching against St. Francis in the opening game on Friday
Grace’s softball team continued its midseason surge with a convincing sweep of St. Francis at Miller Field on Friday.
The Lady Lancers (14-20; 10-8 Crossroads League) exploded for 22 runs and 32 hits offensively to blow out the Cougars, winning 10-2 in five innings and 12-6 in the second game.
The wins move Grace into a tie for fourth place in the CL standings, two games removed from third place. Brooke Shell, Brittany Melzoni and Samantha Johnson had sparkling offensive performances in the doubleheader. Shell had six hits on the day with three stolen bases, Melzoni drove in six runs, and Johnson had five hits.
In the opener Grace kicked off the scoring with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Clarissa Knight singled in Shell for the first run. Olivia Winget and Chelsea Whitesell blasted run-scoring doubles to spark the inning.
The Cougars (9-17; 6-10 CL) rallied in the third with two runs and had the bases loaded, but pitcher Hannah Adams struck out the final batter of the inning. Adams helped her own cause in the bottom of the inning with an RBI ground ball to add an insurance run.
Grace ended the game prematurely due to the run rule with a six-run outburst in the fifth. Shell, Alex Shipley, Adams, Whitesell, Morgan Cody all had singles, and Brittany Melzoni produced a two-run double. Samantha Johnson ended the game with an RBI ground ball to bring in Cody.
Shell was 2-for-3 with two runs and two stolen bases, and Knight, Whitesell, Adams and Melzoni drove in two runs apiece. Winget finished 2-for-2, and Johnson was 2-for-3. Adams went the distance on the mound, limiting the Cougars to six hits and zero walks in five innings. The freshman hurler struck out eight batters and allowed two runs.
Grace erupted in second and third innings of the second game. Melzoni recorded two-out, two-run doubles in both the second and third innings, and Johnson had a two-run single with two outs in the third. When the dust had settled, the Lady Lancers were in front 7-3 after three innings.
St. Francis cut Grace’s lead to two during the fourth, scoring twice to make the score 7-5. But the Lady Lancers put the game out of reach with four runs in the fifth. Brooke Shell sliced an RBI triple to deep left-center field to tack on a run, and Alex Shipley singled in Shell. Knight and Winget also scored to make the score 11-5.
The home team was poised to end the game early again in the sixth inning after Melzoni scored on a single from Shell. But with the bases loaded and one out, the Cougars escaped the inning without another Grace run crossing the plate.
St. Francis added another run in the seventh, but Grace’s cushion proved too great to overcome.
Shell finished 4-for-5 in the second game, Melzoni was 3-for-4 with four RBIs, and Johnson was 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Morgan Hutcheson also batted 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and Winget scored twice.
The Lady Lancers continue action at Miller Field on Saturday with a doubleheader against Goshen at 1 p.m.