Grace baseball loses pair of close games

GOSHEN, Ind. – Grace’s baseball team was unable to top Goshen in a pair of contests on Wednesday.

The Lancers lost 8-6 in a nine-inning Crossroads League game and ended the day with a 6-5 defeat in a nonleague game. The nonleague contest was a continuation of a game on Feb. 18 that was suspended due to weather after three innings.

Grace was unable to generate a consistent offense in the opening game. The six runs from the Lancers (5-26, 5-12 CL) occurred in just two innings of work. The Maple Leafs (18-21, 10-11 CL), on the other hand, plated a run in five of the first six innings.

Austin Baker got Grace on the scoreboard in the third inning with a two-out, two-run double.

Baker repeated his act with a two-run double in the fifth inning, driving in Ethan Brooks and Cameron Maxwell.

Later in the inning, David Anderson’s sacrifice fly scored Houston Haney, and Jaron Mullett’s RBI single brought in Branden Scott to momentarily give Grace a 6-5 lead.

Goshen responded with a run in the fifth to even the score and two go-ahead runs in the sixth inning. Grace was unable to move a baserunner past second base over the final four frames to lose by two.

Baker batted 2-for-5 with four RBIs, and Brooks was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Maxwell plated twice, and Hunter Ackerman had a hit and a stolen base.

Logan Swartzentruber struck out five batters in 4.1 innings as the starter, and Jordan Noska pitched a clean inning of relief with two strikeouts.

The second game was picked up in the middle of action due to the suspended play on Feb. 18. Goshen led 3-0 at the point of continuation, and Grace was unable to recover from that deficit over the final three innings.

In the top of the fourth, Anderson, Sid Elford and Maxwell all singled to start a rally. Maxwell’s single brought in Anderson, and Mullett then singled with two outs to score Elford.

In the fifth, Baker singled and stole second base. He reached third on a wild pitch and came around to score on a ground ball from Anderson.

The Maple Leafs added insurance runs to lead 6-3 heading into Grace’s final at-bats in the seventh. Anderson reached base and eventually scored on two errors in the seventh, and Aaron Voirol scored as a pinch runner after Mullett singled, making the score 6-5. But with the tying run on second base, Grace was retired with a pop out to the infield.

Mullett was a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBIs, and Baker had 1 run, 1 hit and 1 stolen base. Anderson plated twice, and Maxwell had a hit and a run driven in.

Both Swartzentruber and Josh Tew struck out five batters in three innings from the mound.

The Lancers return home for a three-game series over the weekend against Spring Arbor. Grace will play a single nine-inning game on Friday at 4 p.m. followed by a doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m.