Grace’s softball team celebrated Senior Day in style with a sweep of Spring Arbor on Friday.
Senior Chelsea Whitesell homered and fellow senior Brooke Shell stretched her current hitting streak to 21 games as Grace won 10-3 and 7-2 at Miller Field.
The Lady Lancers have one doubleheader remaining in the regular season – a home series against Indiana Wesleyan on Monday at 3 p.m. Grace has already wrapped up the No. 4 seed in next week’s Crossroads League Tournament.
Grace’s team made highlight plays on both sides of the field in the opener. Defensively, Grace used double plays in both the first and second innings to stop a potential Cougars’ rally. Offensively, the Lady Lancers (26-21, 19-15 CL) ripped off eight runs over the first three innings.
Brooke Shell doubled in two runs in the second inning, and Clarissa Knight singled her in with two outs to put Grace ahead 5-0. Ashley Kleinbub led off the third inning with a double, and Kati Gregory took care of the rest, belting a two-run home run over the center field fence. Alex Shipley later scored in the inning to put Grace on top 8-0.
Spring Arbor was on the verge of losing the game in five innings due to the run rule, but the Cougars (15-30, 9-23 CL) rallied with three runs in the top of the fifth to stay alive.
Grace tacked on two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Kleinbub’s sac fly brought in Knight. Gregory later had a two-out single to plate Chandler Elliott.
Elliott took care of the rest from the mound, tossing the complete-game victory. She allowed nine hits and struck out four to get the win.
Gregory drove in three runs on two hits, and Hannah Herbster was 2-for-3. Knight and Elliott were each 2-for-3 with two runs, Shipley scored two runs and stole a base, and Kleinbub was 2-for-4 with a double and a steal.
In the second game, eight different players tallied eight hits overall for Grace. The Lady Lancers got on the board in the second inning with two runs. Herbster’s sac fly brought in Kleinbub, and Brittany Turner’s two-out single scored Shipley.
Whitesell led off the fourth inning with a solo home run on a 1-0 count, and Turner and Shell later plated in the inning to pull Grace ahead 5-0. Clarissa Knight belted a two-run homer – Grace’s third of the day – in the seventh inning to give the Lady Lancers insurance runs. Spring Arbor tallied two runs in its final at-bats, but Allison Franklin secured the win from the mound. The sophomore pitched the final three innings of relief, striking out two.
Hannah Adams got the win, pitching four innings with just two scattered hits. Turner was 1-for-2 with two runs, and Knight was 1-for-3 with 2 RBIs, 1 run and 1 stolen base. Shell and Shipley each tallied a hit, a run and a steal.