Archive for the ‘Feature Stories’ Category

Grace Ready to Tackle NCCAA World Series

Monday, May 11th, 2015

The stage has been set for Grace’s softball team at the 2015 NCCAA World Series.

The Lady Lancers received the No. 5 seed in the 10-team tournament. Grace opens tournament play on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. against No. 4 Oklahoma Christian, an NCAA Div. II school with a record of 28-19.

With a win Grace would advance to Thursday and the semifinals of the winner’s bracket in the double elimination tournament. A loss means Grace would play again on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the loser’s bracket.

The complete tournament field is as follows: No. 1 Judson (Ill.), No. 2 Simpson (Calif.), No. 3 Lee (Tenn.), No. 4 Oklahoma Christian, No. 5 Grace, No. 6 Southern Wesleyan (S.C.), No. 7 Central Baptist (Ark.), No. 8 Mississippi College, No. 9 Oklahoma Wesleyan, No. 10 Cedarville (Ohio).

Grace finished fourth in last year’s tournament, advancing to the final day of competition. The World Series is held at the Botetourt Sports Complex.

Participating teams will perform a community service project in Botetourt County on Tuesday before enjoying the national tournament banquet on Tuesday evening.

Grace College and Seminary Holds 2015 Commencement Ceremony

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

As the 2014-2015 school year draws to a close, Grace College and Seminary will be holding a commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 9 at 9 a.m. at the Ronald and Barbara Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center. The ceremony will include an invocation by Rev. Jeffrey A. Patton, lead pastor at the Grace Brethren Church in Norwalk, California; an institutional welcome by William J. Katip, president at Grace College; and a benediction by John F. Carini, a physician in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A brass ensemble, directed by Eric Criss, will be performing at the commencement services, as well as a the Lancer Chorus, directed by Thomas Hall.

This year, Grace asked the senior class to select a faculty member to appear as a special guest speaker during the commencement ceremonies. The students selected Roger Stichter, accounting and finance professor at Grace.

For the 2015 Commencement, Dr. Katip has chosen Dr. Paulette Sauders, the faculty member who has served Grace the longest, to carry the ceremonial mace. Carrying the mace is a great honor and is traditionally borne by someone who has been singled out for tribute.

During the ceremony, Grace will also be honoring Dr. Paulette Sauders for 50 years of service at Grace as a professor of English and journalism. Only three others have reached this esteemed milestone at Grace (Dr. Homer Kent, Jr., Ron Henry and R. Wayne Snider), but Sauders is the first faculty member to accomplish this while still actively teaching full-time. In addition to serving as a faculty member in the Languages, Literature and Communication Department (where she’s taught 17 different courses), Sauders taught in the Grace prison program for 16 years and served as a leader for Women of Grace for 40 years. Sauders has been the chair of the department since 2003 and for four decades has served as an advisor to the school newspaper, “The Sounding Board.”

With its new “Measure of Grace” initiative, underway this year, Grace is working to keep its undergraduate degrees affordable and incentivize student persistence and completion. Effective this coming fall of 2015, Grace will reduce the cost of tuition by nine percent for traditional students on the main campus. In addition, once a student enrolls, his or her tuition will never be raised; instead, each consecutive year students attends Grace, they will receive an additional $500 off their tuition. This can amount to an additional $3,000 savings. This is part of Grace’s continuing commitment to pursuing excellence and affordability for more and more students.

Grace duo sweeps NCCAA Player of Week awards

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Pitcher of the week, Alex Shipley.

Player of the week, Chandler Elliott.

Alex Shipley and Chandler Elliott gave Grace’s softball team a sweep from the NCCAA for Player of the Week awards.

Shipley was named the NCCAA Pitcher of the Week, and Elliott was the Player of the Week following the Lady Lancers’ run in the Crossroads League Tournament.

Shipley impressed from the mound, posting a 1.47 ERA in three postseason games. Her highlight of the week was throwing a complete-game 9-inning victory over No. 25 Marian to eliminate the Knights from the league tournament. Marian came into the game ranked No. 5 in the nation in hits and team batting average, but Shipley handcuffed Marian to eight hits in nine innings, striking out six batters in the process. She also threw two scoreless outings in relief against St. Francis and Taylor (RV-NAIA).

Elliott was an offensive machine last week, hitting .565 with 13 hits in 6 games. She scored five runs, doubled twice and homered once. She played four games against the top three teams in the league (IWU, Marian, Taylor) and hit 11-for-14 against those teams. Overall for the week, she finished with a slugging percentage of .783 with an on-base percentage of .583.

Grace will continue its season next week at the 2015 NCCAA World Series. The Lady Lancers will making their second-straight trip to the national tournament after finishing fourth last year. Grace is also enjoying its first 30-win season in 21 years.

Grace Softball Earns Place at NCCAA World Series

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Pictured is Grace's softball team shortly after punching its ticket to the 2015 NCCAA World Series

For the second time in two years, Grace’s softball team beat Cedarville to secure a berth to the NCCAA World Series.

The Lady Lancers (31-25) knocked off the host Yellow Jackets (33-24) in the NCCAA Midwest Regional Tournament by the score of 3-2, earning a repeat trip to Botetourt, Va., for the World Series. It marks the first time in program history that Grace has reached consecutive national tournaments.

Ashley Kleinbub and Clarissa Knight teamed up to create the heroic moment in extra innings for Grace. With the score knotted at 2-2, Knight led off the bottom of the eighth with a single. She stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Kleinbub laced the game-winning single to right field to score Knight and send the Lady Lancers into a state of euphoria.

“I think reaching the NCCAA World Series two years in a row legitimizes the direction this program is going. The girls were on fire yesterday, and today they were determined to do what was needed to win,” said Grace head coach Heather Johnson. “Our freshmen have really grown up which helps us out a lot. Brittany [Turner] won the game for us against Marian, and Ashley [Kleinbub] did it today. I couldn’t be prouder of this group.”

It took Grace six innings to get on the scoreboard against Cedarville. By that point, Cedarville had crept ahead 2-0 thanks to a run in the second and fifth innings.

The Lady Lancers were unable to score in a bases-loaded situation in the fifth, but Grace made good on its runners in the sixth. A sacrifice fly from Kati Gregory brought in Knight for Grace’s first run in the sixth. Hannah Herbster was up next with two outs, and the freshman stepped up with an RBI single to score Chandler Elliott and tie the game.

Neither team could score the go-ahead run in the seventh, setting the stage for Kleinbub’s walkoff winner in the eighth.

Elliott went the distance from the mound, tossing a five-hitter in eight innings. She walked just one batter in her 15th complete game of the season.

Both sides finished with five hits in a defensive clash.

“I’m really proud of our seniors [Brooke Shell and Chelsea Whitesell]. They get a lot of credit for pushing this team to a different level, and now they get to end their careers at a national tournament,” Johnson said. “A couple days of rest will be great for us to wrap up school and then just focus on playing softball.”

The bracket and tournament field for the 2015 NCCAA World Series will be released on Sunday. Grace placed fourth in last year’s tournament.

Trio of Lady Lancers Earn All-League Honors

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Pictured is All-League winner Brooke Shell high-fiving Grace's coach Heather Johnson.

Following a memorable regular season, the Lady Lancers’ softball team was honored with three members on the All-Crossroads League Team.

Brooke Shell and Clarissa Knight each earned First Team All-League recognition while Chandler Elliott was honorable mention for All-League.

Grace concluded its first winning regular season in 18 years under head coach Heather Johnson. The Lady Lancers also won their first league tournament game in 12 years this week when Grace upset No. 25 Marian.

Shell broke Grace’s career hits record on March 21 against Goshen, and the All-American senior did not look back. Shell is batting .435 with a team-leading 84 hits, 58 runs and 13 doubles. She currently ranks No. 2 in the NAIA in hits, No. 3 in at-bats, No. 15 in runs and No. 22 in triples.

She led the nation at one point by hitting safely in 24 consecutive games – a streak that was finally broken on Wednesday. She batted .463 in 36 league games.

Knight enjoyed a stellar sophomore regular season, pounding out a team-best .442 batting average. She also led Grace with five home runs and was second with 46 RBIs. Knight showcased her speed on the basepaths, going a perfect 14-for-14 on stolen base attempts.

Elliott impressed in her first season and was Grace’s No. 1 pitcher for the entire season. She tossed 142 innings from the mound – more than double any other pitcher on Grace’s staff. She posted a 4.34 ERA with 12 wins and 14 complete games to her credit. She also exceled at the plate, notching a .408 batting average. Her 13 doubles tied for the team lead; she currently leads Grace with 50 RBIs.

The Lady Lancers will try to qualify for their second straight NCCAA National Championships on Monday andTuesday with the NCCAA Regionals at Cedarville.

Rocchio Named to the All-League Team

Monday, May 4th, 2015

An impressive season from Grace’s Frank Rocchio was honored when the junior was named to the All-Crossroads League Baseball Team on Friday.

Rocchio was voted as the league’s top third baseman, earning a spot on the 17-player All-League Team. He won the league batting title, hitting .405 for the season. Rocchio was the only batter in the league to top .400 from the plate.

He led Grace with 53 hits, 11 doubles and 24 RBIs, posting a .511 slugging percentage. He also homered once, walked 10 times and scored 19 runs.

Grace Enjoys Successful NCCAA Championships

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Grace’s track and field team had a strong showing at this weekend’s NCCAA Outdoor National Championships.

The Lancers set three school records and had numerous top-10 finishes at the championship meet.

“I’m proud of the way we competed this weekend. Some people ran multiple races against very strong competition. We still managed a couple of school records and several personal bests, which is the most a coach can ask for,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “It was nice to see our seniors go out with strong performances. Heather House and Victoria Gimben produced personal bests and earned unexpected points for our team. Donovan [Graham] anchored our 4×400 relay to a school record to wrap up his fine career. Jenna McClellan worked back from foot surgery to help our 4×800 relay earn a place.”

Competing in the first decathlon of his career, Nathan Brown impressed with a fourth-place showing of 5,795 points.

The women’s 4×400-meter relay team of Katelyn McCullough, Micah Pollard, Alicia Hertzler and Jo Boren broke the school record. The group placed fifth in a time of 3:57.47.

The men’s 4×400 foursome of Joel Zook, Lance Taylor, KeJuan Leek and Donovan Graham also had a strong showing by finishing sixth. The group set a school record in the preliminary race, crossing the finish line in a time of 3:18.97. Graham and Taylor also joined forces with Matthew Lee and Hunter Reed in the 4×800 to earn seventh place.

Pollard placed eighth in the 400 in 58.63 seconds, and Heather House set a PR in the 400 hurdles of 1:07.65 to finish seventh. Hannah Treadway was ninth in the shot put with a heave of 37-feet-3.25, and Victoria Gimben placed seventh in the high jump.

The women’s 4×800 squad of McCullough, Jenna McClellan, Emma Mitchell and Hertzler had an eighth-place showing at 9:56.91.

On the men’s side, Graham was ninth in the 800 in 1:56.28, and Tyler Back took seventh in the shot put. Macallister Seitz was sixth in the discus with a personal-best mark of 147-8.

Grace Softball Knocked Out of League Tourney

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Grace’s run in the Crossroads League Softball Tournament came to an end on Thursday.

The Lady Lancers (28-25) took down St. Francis 6-5 in an extra-inning thriller to start the day, but Taylor knocked Grace out of the tourney with a narrow 5-4 victory.

Out of the four tournament games Grace played in, three went to extra innings and all four were decided by one run. The Lady Lancers won their first league tournament games since 2003 this week. Grace now shifts its focus to qualifying for the NCCAA National Championships. The regional tournament will be held Monday and Tuesday at Cedarville.

Grace started the St. Francis game with authority, ripping off five runs in the top of the first inning. Brooke Shell led off the contest with a single and came around to score on a ground ball from Chandler Elliott. Ashley Kleinbub brought in another run with a single, and Grace loaded the bases with two outs. Alex Shipley singled which, coupled with a fielding error, cleared the bases for a 5-0 lead.

St. Francis had a five-run inning up its sleeve too, however. The Cougars (22-23) tied the game 5-5 in the third, plating all five runs with two outs.

Neither team could break the 5-5 deadlock over the next four innings, sending the game into extra innings for the third time in as many games for Grace.

In the top of the eighth, Clarissa Knight started the inning with a single. She then advanced to second on a wild pitch, and Elliott belted a timely double to give Grace a 6-5 lead.

Shipley took care of the rest from the mound. The junior struck out the first two batters and got the final one to pop out to Knight to win Grace’s second elimination game in a row.

Shell and Kleinbub were each 2-for-4 with a run scored, and Knight scored twice. Hannah Adams pitched three shutout innings of relief, and Shipley tossed the final two spotless innings.

While the Lady Lancers survived two elimination games in the double-elimination tournament, the gutsy Grace squad could not make it three in a row against Taylor.

Grace led 2-1 through three innings after Shipley’s two-out, two-RBI single in the second. But Taylor produced the decisive inning in the fourth, striking for four runs on four hits to lead 5-2. The Trojans (35-15) were beneficiaries of two Grace fielding errors during the inning.

The fifth inning saw Grace pull to within one run of Taylor. Knight doubled to plate Samantha Johnson, and Knight scored off a hit by Elliott. Grace still had two baserunners with one out in the inning, but the Lady Lancers were unable to tie the game. The Trojans made Grace pay; the Lady Lancers could not muster a runner in scoring position for the final two innings.

Elliott impressed with a 3-for-4 performance from the plate. Shipley pitched 3.1 innings in scoreless relief.

Grace Stuns No. 25 Marian in League Tournament

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Pictured is freshman Brittany Turner who had the game-winning double over Marian on Wednesday

Grace’s softball team scored a major upset in the Crossroads League Tournament on Wednesday, knocking out No. 25 Marian in nine innings.

The Lady Lancers were facing elimination against the Knights (40-12) after suffering an extra-innings defeat in the first round to Huntington. But freshman Brittany Turner provided the game-winning swing, doubling with two outs in the ninth to eliminate Marian from the tournament by the score of 4-3.

The win secures Grace’s first conference tournament victory in 12 years – a streak dating back to 2003. Grace will continue the double-elimination tournament in the losers’ bracket, starting with a 12 p.m. game on Thursday against St. Francis.

Huntington did not waste time scoring in the opening game, notching an RBI double in the top of the first inning. The Foresters notched three more runs in the third and led 4-0.

The Lady Lancers (27-24), on the other hand, were handcuffed offensively. The Foresters’ pitching held Grace without a hit for the first two innings, but Grace broke onto the scoreboard in the third inning. A ground ball from Clarissa Knight plated Brooke Shell from third base. Chandler Elliott then belted a two-run home run to right field to cut Huntington’s lead to 4-3.

Huntington responded with a three-run homer in the fourth, but Grace countered in the fifth. Samantha Johnson scored on a ground ball, and Knight snuck home from third on a wild pitch to cut Huntington’s lead in half. Hannah Herbster took care of the rest, connecting on a two-out, two-run home run to left field to tie the game at 7-7.

The game remained deadlocked at 7 apiece through regulation and into the ninth inning. The Foresters pulled ahead 8-7 with a run on a sac fly in the top of the ninth, and Grace was unable to respond. The Lady Lancers were hitless over the last three innings.

Elliott drove in three runs in the game, and Ashley Kleinbub walked twice and scored once. No batter for Grace could muster two hits as Huntington outhit Grace 14-6 in the game. Allison Franklin threw four strong innings of relief, giving up one run on four hits.

The opening-round loss sent Grace into the losers’ bracket where Grace faced the host school No. 25 Marian. Grace did not back down from the CL regular season champs, jumping ahead 2-0 thanks to RBIs from Elliott and Shell.

Marian countered with a two-run home run in the fourth to tie the game and inched ahead 3-2 in the sixth with another home run. But Grace continued the trend with a home run of its own by Ashley Kleinbub in the bottom of the sixth to knot the score at 3-3.

Grace went into its second extra-innings battle of the day after neither team found the winning play in regulation. The Knights threatened to score in the top of the ninth with two baserunners, but Grace’s defense backed Alex Shipley on the mound to keep Marian off the scoreboard.

Herbster sparked Grace in the bottom of the ninth with a one-out single. A ground out moved Herbster to second, bringing up Turner. The freshman came through in a big way, doubling to center field to allow Herbster to plate for the winning run.

Herbster scored two runs on three hits to pace Grace’s offense, and Elliott was 3-for-4. Kleinbub batted 2-for-3, and Turner had a double, a steal and an RBI.

Shipley had a gutsy performance from the mound, throwing all nine innings and muting Marian’s dangerous bats. The Knights came into the game ranked No. 5 in the nation for team batting average and total hits, but Shipley limited the Knights to three runs and eight hits, striking out six batters in a memorable outing.

Grace College & Seminary’s Dr. Paulette Sauders Honored for 50 Years of Service

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Dr. Paulette Sauders is about to complete her 50th year as English and journalism professor at Grace College. Only three others have reached this esteemed milestone at Grace (Dr. Homer Kent, Jr., Ron Henry and R. Wayne Snider), but Sauders is the first full-time faculty member to do it while continuing to actively teach.

Sauders graduated from Grace College in 1964 with a bachelor’s in English Education. After teaching for a year at the Akron Bible Institute — where she met and married her husband, Chuck — she was appointed professor of English and journalism at Grace in 1965. Over the years, she earned her master’s in Literature from Saint Francis University and her doctorate in English Literature from Ball State University, where she became a C.S. Lewis scholar.

Sauders has presented several academic papers on Lewis, most recently at the Frances White Ewbank Colloquium on C.S. Lewis and Friends and at Huntington University for the 50th anniversary of the death of C.S. Lewis. Several of her papers were published inInklings Forever.

For 35 years, Sauders has taken Grace students on a two-day trip to Stratford, Canada, to attend plays at the Shakespeare Festival Theatre, and since 1995, she’s taken students to England over spring break to visit London, Oxford, Windsor, Stratford, Bath, Stonehenge/Salisbury and Wales.

In addition to serving as a faculty member in the Languages, Literature and Communication Department (where she’s taught 17 different courses), Sauders taught in the Grace prison program for 16 years and served as a leader for Women of Grace Schools for 40 years. Sauders has been the chair of the department since 2003 and for four decades has served as an adviser to the school newspaper, “The Sounding Board.” Sauders will continue to chair the Languages, Literature and Communication Department and teach full time.

 

“[Sauders] has the most incredible work ethic of anyone I’ve ever met,” said Lauren Rich, who teaches literature at Grace. “In addition to teaching classes, she puts in long hours to make sure that her advisees stay on track, the Sounding Board comes out on time, students travel to see quality Shakespeare productions, journalism majors network with potential employers and prospective students and their parents are properly welcomed. What most impresses me, though, is that her hard work is motivated by love and compassion for her students.”

“The breadth and depth of her knowledge of the history of the English language and its uses still amazes me,” noted alumnus Andrew Jones. “Her passion for Shakespeare and C. S. Lewis led me down paths of literary inquiry I had never traveled before. Her unmatched power with a red pen might have been infuriating to lazy editors like myself, but it taught me the importance of precision and care in how I wrote.”

Mike Yocum, associate professor of communication, said, “Paulette Sauders has proven herself to be an extremely dedicated servant to Grace and our students.  She is so student-centered it is very common for her to teach special sections of classes that aren’t offered regularly to make sure a student can graduate on time.  As a colleague and supervisor there is none better.  Paulette serves Grace, her students, her colleagues and her family in a very clear Christ-like way.  She gives, she serves, she loves.”

President Bill Katip presented Sauders with an engraved desk chair at the Employee Recognition Banquet on April 29 in honor of her 50 years of service. He also presented her with a framed portrait, which will be hung in the Philathea building on Grace’s campus commemorating her service.

Katip told Sauders, “I hope you know how much we admire you and how appreciative we are of all you have contributed over the years.”