Grace’s softball team handed No. 19 Indiana Wesleyan its first loss in 25 games, upsetting the Wildcats on the road on Saturday.
The Lady Lancers beat IWU 8-5 in the second game of the doubleheader, snapping IWU’s 25-game winning streak and giving the Wildcats their first loss of the Crossroads League season.
“I’m proud of this team for continuing to battle and put themselves in a position to win. Their determination was evident throughout the game,” said Grace head coach Heather Johnson. “Our pitchers kept the game close, and we had timely hitting and strategic offense to ensure the win.”
The Lady Lancers did not back down from the Wildcats in the opener, producing two runs in the top of the first inning. After Brooke Shell and Samantha Johnson reached base safely to start the game, Clarissa Knight hit both players in with a shot to center field.
IWU responded with a three-run home run in the bottom of the first to grab a 3-2 lead, but Grace quickly tied it up. Shell reached base and moved to third on two bunts. Chandler Elliott then singled in Shell to tie the game.
Doubles in the fifth and sixth innings added two more runs for IWU as the Wildcats moved ahead 5-3. The Lady Lancers had baserunners in the sixth and seventh innings, but they were unable to rally for the win.
Knight was 2-for-2 with two RBIs, and Shell scored two runs. Elliott tossed the complete game, giving up two earned runs in six innings.
Grace jumped out to a lead early in the second game as well. Ashley Kleinbub blasted a two-out triple to deep left field to plate Knight and Johnson, and Kleinbub came around to score on the play on an errant throw.
Alex Shipley held IWU scoreless for the first four innings, and she added a fourth run of her own in the top of the fourth inning. The Lady Lancers looked to break the game open with a four-run outburst in the fifth, pushing their lead to 8-0. Shipley drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single, and Knight and Chelsea Whitesell also scored in the inning.
But IWU was not ready to surrender its 25-game winning streak. The Wildcats struck back with five runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Each team wasted chances to score more runs. Grace had bases loaded in the sixth inning, and IWU put runners on the corners in the seventh. But Allison Franklin shut down the Wildcats’ offense, striking out five batters in just 2.1 innings of relief from the mound.
Kleinbub was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, Morgan Hutcheson and Elliott were 2-for-3, and Johnson hit 2-for-5.
The Lady Lancers enjoy five home dates next week at Miller Field. Grace hosts Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Monday, Taylor on Tuesday, Huntington on Wednesday, St. Francis on Friday and Goshen on Saturday.