Grace and Taylor squared off for a pair of tightly contested softball games at Miller Field on Tuesday.
The Lady Lancers (17-14, 10-8 Crossroads League) rallied from a two-run deficit to win the opener 3-2 on Alex Shipley’s game-winning swing. The Trojans (19-11, 13-5 CL) managed to split the doubleheader with a narrow 7-6 win in the second game.
Grace’s opening game with Taylor saw all five of the runs scored in the final inning.
Despite Grace having baserunners in every inning, it took until the seventh for the Lady Lancers to get on the scoreboard.
Grace stranded two runners in the second after Alex Shipley doubled and Kati Gregory walked. Grace also left Clarissa Knight on third base in the third inning. The bases were loaded in the bottom of the fourth for Grace, but again the Lady Lancers came up empty.
One of Grace’s best chances came in the sixth inning. The Lady Lancers had runners on second and third with one out, but the Trojans escaped with a double play and tagged out Hannah Herbster at home for the final out.
Chandler Elliott’s stellar pitching nullified Grace’s missed opportunities on offense. The freshman held the Trojans scoreless for the first six innings from the mound.
Taylor moved ahead 2-0 in the top of the seventh. The Trojans singled with two outs, scoring the first two runs of the game.
But Grace would have the final laugh. Brooke Shell led off the inning with a single and moved to third on a bunt and a single by Knight. Ashley Kleinbub produced a clutch two-out, two-run single to plate Shell and Knight, tying the game. Kleinbub moved to second on the throw at the plate, setting up the winning play. Shipley calmly laced a single to the gap in the outfield, allowing Kleinbub to score in dramatic fashion.
Shipley hit 3-for-4, and Kleinbub had two hits and two RBIs. Knight batted 2-for-3, and Herbster stole two bases.
The second game was a nailbiter down to the final out. Grace trailed 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth, but a solo home run from Chelsea Whitesell, and a triple from Hannah Herbster helped tie the game at 5-5.
Taylor produced the go-ahead runs in the top of the seventh to take a 7-5 lead. This time, the Trojans were able to hold onto their two-run lead, and Grace’s last-inning rally came up one hit short. Whitesell and Herbster doubled in the inning to score one run, but Herbster was stranded on second base when a line drive off the bat of Morgan Hutcheson was caught by the centerfielder for the final out.
Whitesell was 3-for-3 with 2 doubles, 1 homer and 2 RBIs. Knight was 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base, and Herbster batted 2-for-4 with a double and a triple.
The Lady Lancers have three more home dates this week, including Wednesday 3 p.m. against Huntington, Friday 3 p.m. against St. Francis and Saturday 1 p.m. against Goshen.