Grace splits pair of last-inning rallies
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Grace and Marian combined for a pair of memorable baseball games on Saturday in Crossroads League play.
Both games of the doubleheader were won in the final inning with each team coming from behind to win. Grace rallied in the first game to win 8-7 and lost the second game 5-4.
Grace pulled off a monumental comeback in the first half of the twin bill.
The Lancers trailed 5-0 after seven of the nine innings were complete. Grace had only one hit to its credit across the first seven innings, a second-inning single from Patrick Danforth.
The Lancers tried to start a rally in the bottom of the eighth when Alex Rich’s two-out, two-run single scored David Melendez and Danforth.
But the Knights countered with two more runs in the top of the ninth, giving Marian a seemingly comfortable 7-2 advantage.
But Grace was undaunted, securing the comeback with six runs to win via walkoff.
The rally started when Grace quickly loaded the bases. Jeff Pawlik had an RBI single for Grace’s first run of the inning, and Grant Buschman soon followed with a two-run double to cut the deficit to 7-5.
Collin Lytle drew a crucial walk to keep Grace’s rally alive, and Rich’s single trimmed Marian’s lead down to one.
On the next at-bat, Jarrett Faubion drew a bases-loaded walk to score Buschman and tie the game at 7-7.
Grace popped out on the next play, giving the Lancers two outs. Austin Carr then stepped up and hit a fly ball that Marian could not handle, allowing Lytle to score the game-winning run.
Rich hit 2 for 5 with three RBIs, and Danforth was 2 for 3 with two runs and a stolen base.
Bret Wilhelmi was Grace’s most effective pitcher, tossing two scoreless innings of relief. Braden Compton earned the win by throwing the final two innings.
In the second game, Kameron Koch largely kept Marian’s bats in check. Koch held Marian to two runs across the first six innings, allowing the Lancers to claim a 3-2 lead.
Buschman, Danforth and Sam Newkirk all had RBIs to give Grace a one-run lead. The Lancers could have increased their lead by more, but Grace left runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
That proved to be a mistake as Marian seized the lead in the top of the seventh. Grace had an untimely error to extend the inning, and the Knights claimed a 5-3 lead with three runs.
Danforth led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, but Grace was retired on the next three batters to end the contest.
Koch threw 6.1 innings, allowing three earned runs with seven strikeouts.
Newkirk hit 2 for 4 with 1 RBI, 1 run and 1 steal, and Danforth was also 2 for 4. Lytle reached base twice.
The Lancers’ next series will be a four-game stint next weekend at No. 19 Indiana Wesleyan. Grace is down to its final two series in Crossroads League play (Goshen – April 30).