FORT WAYNE – Grace College ended its series with St. Francis with a split on Saturday.

The Lancers claimed the opener 10-8 and fell 14-4 in the series finale.

Grace began game one well. The Lancers jumped ahead with a 7-0 lead after two innings.

In the first inning, Grace took advantage of a few USF errors to plate three runs.

Patrick Danforth drove in Grace’s fourth run with a single in the second inning. Three batters later, Lucas Slager launched a three-run home run to give Grace a seven-run lead.

The Cougars (24-19, 13-15 Crossroads League) did their best to climb back into contention. USF plated four runs in the third, a single run in the sixth and two more in the eighth.

Slager added an RBI single in the fourth. The Lancers held a slight 8-7 lead as the game entered the final frame.

In the top of the ninth, Slager led off with a single. Sam Newkirk drove him home with a double.  With two outs in the inning, Cal Curiel drove in Newkirk to give Grace a three-run lead.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Cougars threatened. USF scored a run and had two runners on base with one out.

But the Lancers ended the game with a strikeout and groundout to secure the 10-8 victory.

Mason Meyer earned the win, throwing three innings of relief and allowing one run with four strikeouts.

Hunter Schumacher tossed 1.2 scoreless innings, and Caleb Farney registered the save by tossing the final two innings. Farney allowed one unearned run and struck out two.

Slager hit 3 for 3 with two runs and three RBIs, and Danforth had 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 steal and 1 RBI.

Chris Griffin finished 2 for 3 with two runs and two walks, and Curiel had 2 hits, 1 steal, 1 run and 1 RBI.

In game two, it was USF’s turn to take an early lead. The Cougars erupted for eight runs in the second inning and five more in the third.

Grace did score one in the first inning, two in the third and another in the fifth.

The top of the first saw Danforth single and eventually score on a ground ball by Slager.

In the third inning, Josh Cosme had a two-out, two-run single to plate Austin Carr and Newkirk. Carr drove in Grace’s fourth run during the fifth inning.

The damage had already been done, however, as USF earned the 14-4 victory to split the doubleheader.

Kyle Reinartz was Grace’s most effective pitcher, throwing three scoreless innings of relief with four strikeouts. Jake Cox also pitched a clean inning from the mound.

Danforth hit 2 for 4 with a double. Griffin, Alex Rich and Carr also doubled.

The Lancers begin next week by concluding their series with Marian in Indianapolis; the two sides split a doubleheader on April 9. Monday’s doubleheader will begin at 1 p.m.

Grace will return home to conclude the week against Mt. Vernon Nazarene. Friday’s doubleheader will start at 2 p.m., and Saturday’s games will begin at 1 p.m.



Grace Drops Pair To Maple Leafs

WINONA LAKE – Grace’s softball team came up empty against Goshen on Saturday at Coach Phil Dick Field.

Both games were closely fought contests with Goshen winning 11-9 and 4-3.

The first game was packed with action. The teams combined for 20 runs and 24 hits. Grace outhit Goshen 13-11 and had five extra-base hits, but Goshen pulled out the 11-9 victory regardless.

Grace began the game strongly with seven runs in the opening two innings. Bethany Gardner began the first inning with a triple, and Cassandra Hayes brought her home thanks to her team-leading seventh home run of the season.

In the second inning, Grace scored five runs. Hayes had another big play, producing a bases-clearing double to score three runs. Hayes later scored after some opportune baserunning. Montana Brincks also drove in a run during the inning as Grace took a 7-4 lead.

The Maple Leafs countered with seven runs over the next two innings to regain the lead.

Grace was muted over the next three frames and went into the final inning with a three-run deficit. The Lady Lancers were able to score once and threatened for more.

Grace quickly loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, and Kendra Arnold drove in one run with a ground out. But the Lady Lancers were retired with a ground out to end the contest.

Hayes finished the game hitting 2 for 3 with five RBIs and two runs scored. Brincks, Bela Duran, Arnold and Gardner each had two hits.

Madison Bremer threw the final four innings in relief, allowing two runs with three strikeouts.

Both teams scored a run in the first inning of game two. Jessica Kaurich produced a two-out single to score Jeri Ellis and tie the ballgame.

But the Maple Leafs poured in three runs in the second inning to seize control of the game at 4-1.

Grace battled back in the fourth. Ellis produced a two-out, two-run single to pull the hosts within one.

The game entered the bottom of the seventh with Goshen clinging to a 4-3 lead. Grace threatened immediately in the frame.

Ellis singled which was followed by a double from Hayes, putting the tying run on third and the winning run on second with nobody out. But Grace’s next three batters were retired with a pop out and two strikeouts, enabling Goshen to secure the sweep.

Kierstin Fickas threw a gutsy complete game, throwing 143 pitches to go the distance. She allowed 10 hits and four runs with three strikeouts.

Ellis batted 2 for 3 with a run and two RBIs, Kaurich was 2 for 4, and Brincks hit 1 for 2 with a run.

Next up, the Lady Lancers will travel to Bethel on Monday at 1 p.m. Next week, Grace will have home games on Tuesday at 3 p.m. against St. Francis and Friday at 3 p.m. against Spring Arbor.



More School Records Go Down at Tiffin

TIFFIN, Ohio - Freshman Kylie Sauder continued her stellar season with a new school record in the 800 meters, while senior Heather Plastow added her name to another school mark, this time in the 5000 meters. The results highlighted a handful of Grace performances at the Tiffin University Track Carnival.

Sauder placed third in the 800 with a time of 2:12.98, which topped the previous mark of 2:13.40 set by MariJean Wegert in 2010. Her mark was also an "A" qualifier for the NAIA National Championships and currently ranks her in the top 10 in the nation. Sauder has already earned All-American honors in cross country and finished in the top 10 in two events at the NAIA Indoor Championships.

Two Lancer athletes raced for the 5000 meter record, with Plastow ending in 18:06.44 to finish ahead of teammate Mallory Hiatt, who ran 18:09.73. Both marks topped the previous school record of 18:14.92 set by Raven Arellano in 2017. Plastow now has a total of six school records, three each in indoor and outdoor track.

In other performances at the meet, Logan Rufenacht placed fifth in the 3000 meter steeplechase in 9:54.50. Korry Hamlin finished 10th in the 1500 meters in 4:04.79, followed by Dakota Ames, who ran 4:19.28. Nathan Woolery ran a personal best of 16:17.08 in the 5000 meters.

The Lancer track and field team will compete in the Indiana Little State Championships at Indiana Wesleyan on April 22-23.