A group photo taken at the Grace Sportsmanship Summit.
A group photo taken at the Grace Sportsmanship Summit.
WINONA LAKE – Grace College and Director of Athletics Chad Briscoe welcomed student-athletes from the high schools of the Three Rivers Conference for a Sportsmanship Summit on Wednesday.

Several student-athletes from each TRC school attended the conference, which was designed to educate student-athletes about sportsmanship and character training in athletics.

"We are pleased to be a part of building character at the high-school level through the Sportsmanship Summit," Briscoe said. "We hope it served as a great opportunity to educate and reinforce character education and to help promote the importance of sportsmanship for each student-athlete."

Students from TRC high schools spent the day together working in groups to discuss and challenge one another in sportsmanship and character-building opportunities in the athletic realm. The students worked in team-initiative opportunities to build camaraderie among the schools in the conference.

The Sportsmanship Summit featured sessions from Briscoe as well as IHSAA commissioners Robert Faulkens and Brian Lewis. Student-athletes also took turns sitting on a panel and answering questions in a peer-to-peer teaching environment.

Grace Softball Clashes With USF

WINONA LAKE – The Grace College softball team lost a pair of games to St. Francis on Tuesday by the scores of 4-0 and 5-3.

The Lady Lancers (10-25, 7-17 Crossroads League) were within range of the Cougars (19-16, 11-12 CL) in both matchups, but Grace was unable to make a definitive run to grab a victory.

Grace and USF were nearly identical in hits in the opening game with USF holding a 9-7 edge. But Grace was unable to manufacture a run and fell 4-0.

The Cougars scored a run in the second inning, and Grace never responded. The Cougars added two runs in the fifth and another in the sixth.

Two of USF’s runs were unearned as Grace committed three errors in the field.

Grace had chances to score, putting runners in scoring position in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and seventh innings. But each time, the Lady Lancers struggled to find a needed RBI hit.

Overall, Grace stranded 10 baserunners in the shutout.

Kaurich had the hot bat, hitting a perfect 3 for 3 with three doubles. She also walked to reach base safely all four times she appeared. Bree Gardinier was 2 for 3 with a stolen base.

Jeri Ellis threw the complete game, yielding two earned runs in seven innings with nine hits and a walk.

While the opener saw just four runs score, the second game was a different story. Five runs crossed the plate in the first two innings.

Grace struck first in the opening inning. Cassandra Hayes and Taylor Hodgen each had an RBI hit in the frame with Kaurich and Hayes also scoring.

The Cougars responded with three runs in the top of the second to grab a 3-2 lead, including two runs scored with two outs.

Grace struck back to tie the score in the fourth inning. Ellis singled and reached second on a fly ball from Kendra Arnold.

Carly Ruiz stepped up as a pinch hitter and hit a two-out single, allowing Ellis to race home and tie the game.

The score remained deadlocked at 3-3 until the seventh inning. USF benefitted from four walks in the top of the seventh and had two hits, pushing across two runs to go ahead 5-3.

Grace was retired 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh as the Cougars secured the sweep.

Ellis batted 2 for 3 with a stolen base and a run, and Hayes was 1 for 3 with a run and an RBI.

Kierstin Fickas pitched all seven innings, using 160 pitches in her complete game.

The Lady Lancers will travel to Bethel on Wednesday for a 3 p.m. doubleheader. Grace will return home on Friday for a 3 p.m. doubleheader against St. Francis. Friday will also serve as Grace’s Senior Day to honor the graduating class of Arnold, Kaurich, Bethany Gardner and Trinity Christmas.