Grace Sweeps Knights to Reach 20 Wins

Pictured is Alex Shipley (right) being congratulated by Brooke Shell earlier in the season

Grace’s softball team reached 20 wins for the first time in nearly two decades with a sweep of Marian University on Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers (20-24; 16-12 Crossroads League) defeated Marian 13-8 and 8-5 to secure the season sweep of the Knights (21-19; 15-15 CL). With two series remaining in the regular season, Grace sits in sole possession of fourth place in the CL standings, one game out of second place.

The last time Grace won 20 games in a season was in 1997. The Lady Lancers came close last spring with 19 wins.

Clarissa Knight and Hannah Adams powered Grace’s offense in the opener. Knight was 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs, and Adams was 3-for-4 with two runs and four RBIs.

Grace jumped ahead 6-0 after three innings. Knight drove in two runs in the opening inning with a single, and Alex Shipley repeated Knight’s effort in the third inning.

The Lady Lancers increased their cushion to 11-3 with a five-run outburst in the sixth. Knight, Jordan McKinley and Adams each drove in a run during the inning, and Chelsea Whitesell brought in two more runs with a double. Both teams scored in the seventh inning, but Grace had already done its damage to win by five.

Brooke Shell stole three bases and scored twice from the leadoff position, and Tiffany Featherston scored three times. Amanda Bowman was Grace’s most effective pitcher with two scoreless innings on the mound.

Grace’s offense continued its scorching pace with eight runs on 12 hits in the second game. Knight’s bat continued to stay hot with a 3-for-3 performance.

The Lady Lancers scored half of their runs in the third inning. Olivia Winget, Adams and Shipley drove in runs during Grace’s four-run spree. Grace continued to tack on runs, eventually taking an 8-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth.

Marian made its charge in the bottom of the sixth, plating four runs to cut Grace’s cushion to three. But Shipley kept Marian off the scoreboard from the mound in the seventh to preserve the 8-5 victory.

Winget finished 2-for-2 in the game with two runs and two RBIs, Shell scored two runs, and Brittany Melzoni was 2-for-4 with a solo home run. Adams started on the mound, surrendering one run on three hits over five innings.

The Lady Lancers conclude the regular season at home on Friday against Spring Arbor and on Saturday against Indiana Wesleyan.

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