Bethany Gardner (right) and Taylor Hodgen (left) celebrating a run during Grace's sweep of Bethel Tuesday
Bethany Gardner (right) and Taylor Hodgen (left) celebrating a run during Grace's sweep of Bethel Tuesday
WINONA LAKE - Grace’s softball team enjoyed its home opener thanks to a sweep of Bethel on Tuesday.

The Lady Lancers opened up Crossroads League play with a 6-1, 6-4 sweep of the Pilots at Coach Phil Dick Field.

Grace came from behind in both games, coming up big in the home debuts of co-head coaches Bo Coolen and Sam Coolen.

Grace scored all of its runs late to win the home opener. Bethel scored one run in the top of the first, and that 1-0 lead held through four innings.

Grace had a runner in scoring position three times in the first four innings, but the Lady Lancers were shut out until the fifth.

The Lady Lancers erupted with four runs in the fifth, however. Bethany Gardner put Grace ahead with a two-run double. A few batters later, Cassandra Hayes laced a two-out, two-run double to give Grace a 4-1 lead.

The Lady Lancers added two more runs with a two-out rally in the sixth. Carly Ruiz had a pinch-hit, run-scoring double, and Gardner followed that up with her second double to plate Izabela Duran.

Jeri Ellis took care of the rest from the mound. She pitched the complete game, surrendering just the lone run in the first inning. She allowed six hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

Gardner hit 3 for 4 from the leadoff position with three RBIs, and Hayes hit 1 for 3 with two RBIs.

Grace was quiet again to begin the second game. Bethel pulled ahead 4-0 after three innings, but the Lady Lancers were undaunted by the lead.

The Lady Lancers rallied to tie the score with a four-run outburst in the fourth, all coming with two outs. Bree Gardinier started the two-out rally with a double to the outfield.

Kaurich and Gardinier scored on the next at-bat, benefitting from an error by the Pilots. Ruiz then tied the score with another pinch-hit RBI to make the score 4-4.

The next inning

 Grace took its first lead of the game, scoring on an unearned run thanks to an error by the Pilots.

In the bottom of the sixth, Grace upped its lead to two. Izabela Duran hit an RBI single to bring in Annie Spicer, making the score 6-4.

Bethel was retired 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh, allowing the Lady Lancers to secure the sweep.

Kierstin Fickas picked up the win after pitching the first five innings. She allowed four runs with six strikeouts.

Madison Bremer earned the save. She was almost perfect with one lone hit against her in two innings of relief.

Gardinier had 1 hit, 1 run and 1 RBI, Arnold drove in two runs, and Duran had 1 hit, 1 RBI and 1 stolen base.