WINONA LAKE - Grace’s softball team missed on its chance to take down the Crossroads League leaders Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers (8-13, 5-5 CL) lost a 12-inning marathon in the opener by the score of 5-4. The Cougars (18-2, 8-0 CL) then completed the sweep with a 9-3 win to conclude the doubleheader.

Grace led for most of the opener before succumbing late to MVNU.

After a quick opening inning, Grace got on the scoreboard first during the second inning. Kendra Arnold delivered a two-out single to score Kyrah Lewis for the game’s first run.

The team threatened to score more by loading the bases, but Grace was held to one run.

Grace increased its lead in the third inning thanks to a two-run home run by Cassandra Hayes. That 3-0 lead held until the sixth inning.

Jeri Ellis was sharp from the mound, shutting out MVNU for the first five innings. Taylor Hodgen, Izabela Duran and Jessica Kaurich made a number of defensive plays to keep the Cougars scoreless.

Grace loaded the bases again in the bottom of the fifth with nobody out, poised to increase the lead. But a fly out and a double play eliminated Grace’s chance to score more, which proved to be important.

In the next half-inning, the Cougars rallied with three runs to tie the score. The game went to extra innings where it would remain for awhile.

Both teams scored one run in the eighth. Grace used another two-out single by Arnold to score Bree Gardinier to keep the game alive.

The game rolled all the way into the 12th innings. The Cougars pushed across a run in the top of the 12th, and the Lady Lancers were unable to respond.

Ellis produced a herculean effort from the mound, pitching all 12 innings. She allowed four earned runs while striking out four and walking none.

Arnold hit 2 for 4 with two RBIs, and Hayes was 2 for 5 with two RBIs.

In the second game, Grace had another early lead. Hayes belted a two-run home run in the second inning.

The Cougars erupted for seven runs in the third, however, to gain the lead for good.

Grace was unable to generate a response and fell 9-3. Olivia Bergman drove in a run in the sixth inning, but it was not enough. The game was called after six innings due to darkness and rain.

Alexis Bergman was Grace’s most effective pitcher, throwing two scoreless innings of relief.

The Lady Lancers were held to three hits, including one apiece from Tia O’Connor, Hayes and Jessica Kaurich.

Grace will remain home on Friday for a 3 p.m. doubleheader against No. 9 Indiana Wesleyan.