Lady Lancers nearly sweep Maple Leafs

GOSHEN, Ind. – Grace’s softball team missed a chance to win twice on the road, settling for a split at Goshen on Thursday.

Grace won the opener 4-1 behind stellar pitching by two freshmen, but the Maple Leafs (15-26, 7-15 CL) found revenge in the second game with a walkoff, extra-inning 6-5 victory.

Hannah Middlebrooks and Dori Knight pitched Grace to victory in the first game. Middlebrooks pitched the first five innings, yielding five hits with one run surrendered. Knight picked up the save by tossing two clean innings of relief, only allowing one hit.

Goshen scored its sole run in the first inning and clung to a 1-0 lead through four frames. The Lady Lancers (10-20, 4-12 CL) took the lead for good in the top of the fifth.

Grace scored three runs in the fourth, all with two outs on the scoreboard. After the first two batters were retired, Kyleigh Garner and Britney Young started a run with back-to-back singles. Chandler Elliott drove in the game-tying run with a double, and Ashley Kleinbub put Grace ahead with an RBI single on the next at-bat.

Abby Mozingo plated the fourth and final run of the game in the sixth inning. She singled and eventually made her way to third base, where she scrambled home on a wild pitch.

Kleinbub hit 3-for-4, and Elliott was 2-for-2. Mozingo and Young both hit twice and scored a run.

For the game, Grace outhit Goshen 13-6. The Lady Lancers stranded 10 baserunners in the contest as well.

Grace suffered defeat in extra innings to end the day. The Lady Lancers again outhit Goshen (12-10), but Grace left 11 baserunners in a losing effort.

Hannah Herbster reached base to start the game and promptly stole second and third base. Sam Heim’s ground ball allowed Herbster to score for the game’s first run.

In the second inning, Emily Bobb and Abby Mozingo singled, and a sacrifice bunt moved the pair into scoring position. Paige Hlutke’s sacrifice fly brought in Bobb to double Grace’s lead.

The Maple Leafs responded with four runs in the third inning, highlighted by a two-out, three-run double.

Grace slowly chipped away at Goshen’s margin, tying the game with single runs in the fourth and fifth.

In the fourth inning, Grace had bases loaded with nobody out but only managed to score once. LeAnna Jimenez drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in the only run of the inning.

Grace loaded the bases again in the fifth inning and came away with one run. Michaela Lee tied the game at 4-4, scoring after a single by Mozingo.

The Lady Lancers put a runner on third base in both the sixth and seventh innings, but Grace was unable to score the go-ahead run either time.

In the top of the eighth, Herbster used her speed to reach base with a bunt and proceeded to steal second base. Heim bunted Herbster over to third base, and Elliott laid down a squeeze bunt to plate Herbster.

But Grace’s lead was short-lived. Two singles and a double in the bottom of the eighth allowed Goshen to salvage a split on the day, winning 6-5 in walkoff fashion.

Mozingo hit 3-for-3, and Herbster was 1-for-5 with two runs and three stolen bases. Bobb finished 3-for-4 with a triple and a run scored, and Jimenez batted 2-for-2 with an RBI.

Knight struck out five batters in three innings as the starting pitcher, giving up four runs.

The Lady Lancers return home on Friday, hosting No. 11 Indiana Wesleyan at 3 p.m.