Sam Newkirk celebrating a late home run during Grace's win over Indiana Wesleyan on Monday
Sam Newkirk celebrating a late home run during Grace's win over Indiana Wesleyan on Monday
WINONA LAKE – Grace’s baseball team capped off its series with Indiana Wesleyan with a victory.

The teams split the doubleheader on Monday with IWU winning 11-4 in the opener, and Grace winning 4-2 to end the day.

The first game started evenly with the score level at 2-2 after three innings.

Grace scored its first run with a solo homer from Josh Cosme. Later in the inning, Grace tied the game at 2-2 after a sacrifice fly by Alex Rich brought in Jake Cox.

But IWU slowly and steadily added to its run tally over the final five innings. The Wildcats (18-15, 11-7 Crossroads League) scored in the fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth frames, eventually pulling away from the Lancers.

Grace pushed two runs across in the top of the eighth inning when Chris Griffin parked a two-run home run over the center field fence with no outs.

But the Lancers (13-20, 7-13 CL) were unable to draw closer and fell 11-4 in the opener.

Cosme batted 2 for 4, and Griffin hit 2 for 3 with two RBIs. Austin Carr and Jeff Pawlik had two hits apiece.

The Lancers struck first in the second game of the day. Cal Curiel drove in Austin Carr for the opening run during the second inning. Grace could have scored more with the bases loaded and only one out, but the Lancers were retired with two strikeouts.

The Wildcats countered with a run in the top of the third, but Grace quickly regained the lead in the bottom half. Griffin began the inning with a double, and Rich brought him home with a single.

Grace again loaded the bases in the third but had to settle for one run as the Lancers led 2-1.

The sides traded solo home runs in the fifth inning; IWU evened the game with a one-out homer in the top of the fifth, and Sam Newkirk put Grace ahead 3-2 with a two-out blast in the bottom half.

The Wildcats threatened to score in the sixth inning with two baserunners. But Hunter Schumacher entered in relief and struck out the final batter to end the inning.

Grace added to its lead in the bottom of the sixth. Pawlik produced a two-out single to plate Collin Lytle, giving Grace a 4-2 margin.

IWU put itself in position to rally in the seventh, placing runners on second and third. But Schumacher repeated his performance with another strikeout to end the game.

Schumacher struck out four in his relief appearance to earn the save.

Jake Decker earned the win, throwing the opening 5.2 innings and allowing six hits with two runs.

Carr hit 3 for 4 with a run scored, and Pawlik had 2 hits, 1 double, 1 run and 1 RBI.

The Lancers end the week with a four-game series in Indianapolis against Marian on Friday and Saturday.



Trio of Lancers earn Player of the Week status

WINONA LAKE - Grace’s track and field team had a full day of awards on Monday. Three members of the Lancers’ squad picked up weekly awards.

Kyle Smith was named the NCCAA National Track Athlete of the Week, and Dimitri Margaritidis and Isaac Brown shared the Crossroads League weekly track and field awards.

Smith hit an NAIA “A” standard in the 800-meter run at the University of Cincinnati’s Oliver Nikoloff Invitational. Smith’s time of 1:51.72 was the fastest of NAIA runners and beat out runners from several NCAA Division I schools. Smith currently holds the No. 2 time in the NCCAA and No. 4 time in the NAIA this season.

Brown qualified for NAIAs in two separate field events. He won both the high jump and the javelin events at the Knight Open, hitting the "A" standard in high jump and the "B" standard in the javelin.

Margaritidis hit the NAIA "A" standard while running at Cincinnati's Oliver Nikoloff Invitational. He was the top NAIA finisher in the race, only trailing runners from NCAA D1 and D2 schools like Ohio State, Cincinnati and Miami (Ohio).

Next up, the Lancers will compete in the Manchester Invitational this Saturday.



Etchison tabbed as league’s Pitcher of the Week

WINONA LAKE - After a record-setting performance, Grace’s Evan Etchison was named the Crossroads League Baseball Pitcher of the Week on Monday.

Etchison set a school record with 16 strikeouts against Bethel on Saturday. He threw 5.2 innings of scoreless relief, striking out 16 batters.

He pitched two separate games last week. For the week he posted an ERA of 0.90 in 10 total innings of work. He also picked up the win in relief to beat Indiana Wesleyan.

The Lancers will travel to Indianapolis this weekend for a pair of doubleheaders at Marian on Friday and Saturday.