Grace Softball Earns Place at NCCAA World Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”

Grace Sweeps Spring Arbor on Senior Day

April 27th, 2015

Senior Brooke Shell (center) being congratulated by Morgan Cody (right) on a catch in the outfield during Friday's sweep of Spring Arbor.

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.

Lancers Finish Fifth at Crossroads League Championships

April 27th, 2015

pictured is Matthew Lee competing in the 800m on Saturday at the league championships.

Grace’s track and field teams had their best finish in over a decade at the Crossroads League Championships on Friday and Saturday.

The men’s team placed fifth for the program’s best result since 2002. The Lady Lancers were also fifth, equaling their best finish since 2000.

Micah Pollard was the league champion in the 100-meter race, finishing in 12.55 seconds on a rain-soaked Saturday at Goshen College.

“It was a crazy weekend because of the weather on Saturday, but I’m proud of both the men’s and women’s teams for their efforts in spite of the elements. Everything wasn’t perfect because of some injuries and a couple missed opportunities, but overall I’m extremely pleased. Getting fifth is a great step for both our teams,” said Grace coach Jeff Raymond. “We placed in the top five of every relay we entered with three relays posting season bests. We placed in seven of the eight throwing events, and we scored points in sprints, hurdles and middle distance. It’s satisfying to see contributions from each part of our team.”

Donovan Graham finished up his Crossroads League career in style, placing second in the 800 at 1:59.25. He also anchored the 4×400 relay team of Joel Zook, Lance Taylor and KeJuan Leek to second place. Graham has now finished as an All-League winner (top-three finish) in both an individual event and the 4×400 relay in all four CL Championships during his impressive career.

The 4×400 relay also secured fifth place for Grace as the final event of the meet. The men moved into fifth place in the final standings by a half-point after passing a team on the final straightaway.

Mya Brown was All-League in the 100 hurdles, placing second in 15.40. She also finished fourth in the triple jump before suffering an injury during the 400 hurdles which ended her day.

Jo Boren picked up the final All-League honor for Grace. The junior was second in the 400 at 59.36. Boren also was sixth in the 200.

Other strong performances on the men’s side included the 4×800 relay team of Matthew Lee, Taylor, Graham and Hunter Reed. The foursome finished fifth in a time of 7:50.80, missing qualification to NAIA Nationals by less than two seconds.

Jacob Brown (javelin) and Drew Perrin (triple jump) both were sixth in their respective events, and Lee was seventh in the 800. In the shot put, Tyler Back placed fifth and Macallister Seitz was eighth. Seitz also earned seventh in the discus.

On the women’s team, Heather House and Hannah Treadway both shined. House was fourth in the 400 hurdles and seventh in the 100 hurdles, and Treadway placed sixth in the shot put and seventh in the hammer throw.

The 4×800 relay unit of Katelyn McCullough, Jenna McClellan, Emma Mitchell and Alicia Hertzler was fifth in 9:54.25.

The Lancers now face national competition. The NCCAA Outdoor Nationals start May 1 in Rome, Ga. The NAIA Outdoor Nationals kick off on May 21 in Gulf Shores, Ala.

Grace College Congratulates New Director of Alumni Engagement

April 25th, 2015

This week Grace College welcomes Denny Duncan as the new Director of Alumni Engagement. Duncan is a Grace alumnus who received his Master of Science in Education from Indiana University in 1983. Duncan promoted and nurtured the education of students within the Kosciusko community and Grace College for many years, serving Warsaw Schools as a teacher, dean of students, and principal of both Atwood Elementary School and Jefferson Elementary School. Before taking the position of Director of Alumni Engagement, Duncan served Grace College as an adjunct professor from 1984-2011 and as director of Grace Community Education since 2011.

“I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” said Duncan. “My passion has always been to cultivate relationships. This role will enable me to share the excitement and energy on campus with alumni who are literally spread across the globe. The goal is to get more alumni interested, involved, and invested in the amazing things God is doing through Grace.”

 

“Having Denny join the advancement team is a huge answer to prayer,” said Drew Flamm, vice president of institutional advancement at Grace. “Our desire is to engage with our alumni in new and authentic ways, and Denny is the perfect person to lead this effort. He loves Grace and he loves people.”

 

Duncan has been honored with the Indiana Principal Leadership Academy award (1993 – 1995), the Kosciusko County Heart of Gold Award (2001), DARE Educator of the Year (2004-2005), and the Bill Reneker Community Service Award (2011).

“As Grace College and Seminary continues to grow and develop as an institution of higher education, it is more important than ever to engage the Grace alumni in that growth and development,” said Bill Katip, president of Grace. “We are thrilled that Denny Duncan will be our new Director of Alumni Engagement! Denny is well-known and well-loved. He is highly relational, but also has excellent administrative gifts. He is the perfect fit as we continue to build bridges with our current and future alumni.”