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Grace falls in nailbiter to Foresters

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Huntington held on to sweep Grace’s softball team on Tuesday, beating the Lady Lancers 4-1 and 12-9 in a pair of hard-fought contests.

The opening game was quick due to a pair of strong pitching performances. Dori Knight allowed three runs over the first five innings as the starter, and Sam Heim yielded a run over the final two frames.

The Foresters (16-24, 12-18 Crossroads League) took a quick 2-0 lead by scoring a run in the first and second innings.

The Lady Lancers (10-34, 6-26 CL) managed to cut Huntington’s margin in half in the fourth. Britney Young led off the inning with a double, and she came home after a two-out RBI single by Morgan Tapscott.

But that proved to be Grace’s only run of the ball game. The Foresters added two more insurance runs, which was all the cushion they needed.

Tapscott hit 2 for 3 with a run driven in, Young was 1 for 3 with a run, and Heim batted 2 for 4.

The second game started mildly enough, but it was an inaccurate foreshadowing of what was to come.

Huntington struck first again, holding a 1-0 lead after four innings. The Foresters scored two more in the top of the fifth, and that set off a run-scoring spree for the rest of the contest.

Grace belted out five runs in the fifth to pull ahead 5-3. Young brought in two runs with a single, and Jessica Kaurich and Tapscott followed that up with back-to-back RBI singles. Lawhon drove in the final run with a sacrifice fly.

Grace’s lead was short-lived as the Foresters countered with a five-run sixth. Huntington was aided by a pair of untimely errors in the field by Grace.

But the Lady Lancers quickly erased that lead in the bottom of the sixth. Young sliced the Foresters’ lead down to one with a two-run double, and Hannah Middlebrooks tied the score with a two-out RBI single to left field.

Lawhon proceeded to give Grace a 9-8 lead with a double on the next at-bat, putting all the momentum on the home team’s side.

In the top of the seventh, the Foresters struck out on their first two at-bats, putting Grace one out away from winning the game.

But Huntington unleashed a deadly two-out rally, producing four hits and a walk over the next five batters. When their run was finished, the Foresters held an unexpected 12-9 lead.

Grace tried to overcome its shellshock, putting a pair of baserunners in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh. But the Foresters ended the threat and the game with a ground out.

Young hit 3 for 5 with 2 doubles, 2 runs and 4 RBIs. Lawhon tallied 3 hits, 2 doubles and 2 RBIs, Heim was 3 for 5 with two runs, and Kaurich finished 2 for 5 with one run and one RBI.

The Lady Lancers have two more home dates this week to end the regular season. Grace hosts Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Friday at 3 p.m. and Goshen on Saturday at 1 p.m.