Grace Baseball falls to Bethel in Final Series
By Sid Elford
The Grace College baseball team took on the Bethel Pilots on Tuesday, May 1 in their final series of the season. Grace needed a sweep of Bethel in its final two games in order to clinch a berth at the conference tournament, as they were a game and-a-half back of St. Francis in the conference standings.
Game one was a wild affair that featured 28 runs, 24 hits, 8 doubles and 5 home runs. Grace had to battle and rally back from deficits three different times to stay in the game, scoring 12 runs between the fifth and sixth innings to accomplish the comeback.
Bethel scored a run in the first and second innings, but the Lancers had a response with home runs from Houston Haney and Gabe Douglass, who each hit solo home runs to tie the game at 2-2.
David Anderson followed the earlier home runs with one his own in the fourth inning, putting Grace ahead for the first time in the game.
The game picked up again in the fifth inning. Bethel seized the lead with a six run inning in the top of the inning, in part from a three run home run. The Lancers were able to respond once again with six runs of their own. Haney’s double brought in two runs, and Austin Baker, Haney, Anderson and Mitchell Enyart all came around to score later in the inning.
The Pilots refused to fade, however, and plated five runs in the top of the sixth to give them a seemingly comfortable 13-9 lead. But the Lancers again were able to answer and hold the lead for good in the bottom of the inning. Haney hit his second home run of the game, a three run shot to begin the rally. Enyart, Ethan Brooks, and Cameron Maxwell also drove in key runs to give the lead back to Grace, 15-13.
Jordan Noska came out of the bullpen and was able to hold Bethel scoreless in the top of the seventh inning, striking out two to earn him the save, and completing the win.
Haney hit 3-for-6 with 2 home runs, 1 double, 3 runs and 6 RBIs in a dominant performance. Anderson was 3-for-4 with three runs scored, and he also threw a laser from right field defensively to eliminate a potential Pilot from scoring early in the game.
Game two of the must-win series for Grace saw the Lancers off to a good start thanks to a strong start on the mound from David Anderson, who was able to hold the Pilots hitless until the fourth inning.
Cameron Maxwell led off the first inning with a single and eventually scored on two separate throwing errors. Baker increased the lead with another run with a double to make the score 2-0.
Bethel finally got to Anderson in the sixth inning with a solo home run to cut Grace’s lead to 2-1, and the Pilots took the lead with four runs in the seventh.
The Lancers managed to tie the game 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a two-run blast by Anderson.
Bethel scored on an errant throw in the top of the ninth, and Grace was down to its final out in the bottom of the inning. Anderson started the inning with a walk and reached third base with a bunt and a passed ball.
With two outs, Anderson alertly scampered home on another wild pitch by the Pilots to send the game to extra innings.
But Bethel won the game with a two-run homer in the top of the 10th, and Grace was retired 1-2-3 in its final at-bats to end the year.
Anderson batted 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, and Brooks was 2-for-4 with two runs.