Lancers earn critical late-season win

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Freshman pitcher David Anderson made sure his birthday on the mound was something to celebrate on Friday.

Anderson pitched into the seventh inning to lead Grace’s baseball team to a 5-1 victory over Goshen at Miller Athletic Complex.

The Lancers picked up an important win in the Crossroads League. Grace sits two games back of the final spot to qualify for the postseason Crossroads League Tournament with five league games remaining.

The Lancers (14-25-1, 6-16 CL) capitalized on Goshen’s errors to win on Friday. Grace was held to four hits, but four errors by the Maple Leafs (21-24-1, 9-13 CL) gave the Lancers a winning edge.

In the third inning, the Lancers were the first to get on the scoreboard. Matthew Warren and Shay Hepler earned walks. Hunter Ackerman then struck out with two outs, but the inning was extended as he reached base safely after a dropped third strike by Goshen’s catcher.

Grace made Goshen pay on the next at-bat. Austin Baker doubled down the left field line to send in two runs and give the Lancers a 2-0 lead. 

Anderson held the Maple Leafs scoreless for the first five innings. Goshen eventually scored a single run in the sixth to cut the Lancers’ lead in half.

The Lancers responded in the bottom of the sixth with a run off an error from the Maple Leafs. Baker reached base off a wild throw and came home to score two batters later as a Goshen infielder bobbled a grounder with two outs. 

Grace went on to plate two runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull ahead 5-1. Hepler laced a two-out double to right field, and he scampered home after Goshen’s fourth error of the game. 

Gavin Bussard then stole second base and was driven home by a single from Hunter Ackerman.

Aaron Voirol and Kyle Brunner took care of the rest from the mound. The duo combined to pitch the final 2.1 innings, allowing zero runs on one hit while striking out two.

Anderson earned credit for the win, striking out eight in 6.2 innings of work. He allowed six hits with one run scored.

Hepler batted 1-for-2 with two runs and a steal, Baker was 1-for-4 with a run and two RBIs, and Bussard finished 1-for-4 with 1 run, 1 steal and 1 RBI.

The Lancers will end the series with Goshen on Saturday. The doubleheader at home starts at 1 p.m. Saturday’s games will also be Senior Day to honor the graduating class.