Grace Softball produces split with USF
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – During a beautiful spring afternoon at Coach Phil Dick Field, Grace’s softball team won one of two against St. Francis on Tuesday.
The Lady Lancers (9-23, 5-15 Crossroads League) claimed the opener 5-1 behind a strong pitching performance by Sam Heim. Grace seemed poised to win both, but the Cougars (17-18, 8-12 CL) pulled out an 8-7 win in extra innings to close out the afternoon.
Heim was sharp on the mound during the first game, and Grace’s offense was efficient in the victory.
USF did not score a run until the fourth inning. By that point, the Lady Lancers already led 4-0.
Bethany Gardner doubled to right-center field in the bottom of the second to plate the game’s first two runs.
Morgan Tapscott and Britney Young also drove in runs in the third inning for the early 4-0 lead.
The Cougars had a big inning in mind during the fourth inning, scoring one run and advancing baserunners to second and third with one out. But Heim escaped the inning by forcing a shallow fly out and a ground out.
Young added to Grace’s lead in the bottom of the fifth; her sacrifice fly ball allowed Olivia Scarbrough to score from third base.
Heim did not allow a Cougar to move beyond first base across the final two innings to wrap up the win. Heim’s complete game gem included five hits and one walk with five batters struck out.
Jessica Kaurich hit 2 for 3, and Young drove in two runs. Gardner was 1 for 2 with two RBIs, and Scarbrough scored twice.
The second game was filled with momentum shifts. The Lady Lancers led 4-2 after the first two innings.
Heim tripled during Grace’s first at-bat, and she came home after a single from Scarbrough.
Grace scored three more in the second inning, but USF countered with two runs in the third to tie the score.
The Cougars benefitted from two walks and a hit batsman in the fifth to jump ahead 7-4, but Grace was able to respond.
In the sixth, Heim and Scarbrough had back-to-back RBI hits to trim USF’s lead to one. Tapscott then tied the game with a two-out double, allowing Heim to score from second base.
The Cougars could have won the game in the seventh, placing a runner on third with one out. But Hannah Middlebrooks struck out the next batter and forced a ground out.
In the bottom of the eighth, Grace was on the verge of a walkoff win. Heim led off with a double, Scarbrough was hit by a pitch, and Kaurich loaded the bases with nobody out after a well-placed bunt.
But the Cougars got out of the inning thanks to an infield pop out and a line drive double play.
USF took that momentum and won the game in the ninth. Gardner doubled in the bottom of the ninth with one out, but the Lady Lancers were unable to move her across home plate to extend the game.
Heim finished 4 for 5 with 3 runs, 1 stolen base and 1 RBI, and Scarbrough was 2 for 2 with three RBIs.
Tapscott drove in a pair of runs, Young hit 2 for 4, and Michaela Lee and Jess Vandenboom each plated twice.
Middlebrooks pitched the final 4.1 innings, allowing one run with three hits and three strikeouts.
The Lady Lancers remain at home for two more series this week. Grace hosts No. 13 Indiana Wesleyan on Thursday and No. 3 Marian on Saturday.