Grace Improves to .500 in League, Sweeps Saint Francis

By Josh Neuhart

Grace’s softball team continued its remarkable season with a sweep of Saint Francis on Monday at Miller Field.

With 16 wins on the season, the Lady Lancers (16-26; 7-7 Crossroads League) have tied for the most wins in a season since 2000.

Olivia Winget tossed a three-hitter and Brooke Shell homered to lead Grace in their opening-game win, and the Lady Lancers concluded the sweep with a gritty 5-2 victory in game two.

The opening game remained scoreless through the first three innings until Shell’s solo home run broke the stalemate in the fourth inning. Shell’s blast over the left-field fence was Grace’s first hit of the day.

The Lady Lancers doubled their lead in the fifth inning when Sam Fields singled. She was sacrificed twice to third base before scampering home on an errant throw by the Cougars.

Saint Francis put themselves in position to score with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the sixth inning, but Olivia Winget pitched herself out of a jam with a strikeout and a fly out to keep the score 2-0.

Winget went on to strike out all three batters in the seventh inning to record her first shutout of the 2013 campaign. She gave up three hits and four walks in seven innings, striking out eight Cougars.

The Lady Lancers only managed two hits (Shell, Fields) in their win. Shell and Fields were the only two players to score in the game as well.

In the second game Grace scored early with two runs in the bottom of the first. The Lady Lancers used two walks, two fielders’ choices and an RBI single to left field by Tiffany Featherston to score twice.

Saint Francis picked up its first two runs of the day in the third inning, leveling the score at 2-2.

Grace reclaimed the lead in the fourth inning with three runs. Danielle Wellman hit a sacrifice fly to plate Alex Shipley, and Winget’s ground ball was misplayed to allow speedsters Shell and Lacey Little to race across home plate.

The Cougars appeared on the verge of a two-out rally in the sixth inning when they loaded the bases, but Sam Fields caught the third out to maintain Grace’s three-run cushion.

Shipley took care of the rest from the mound, retiring the first three batters in the top of the seventh. She allowed one earned run to score in a complete-game effort.

Shell was 2-for-4 from the plate, Featherston finished 2-for-3, and Little scored twice and stole a base.

The Lady Lancers will host Spring Arbor on Thursday at 3 p.m. in their home finale for the Crossroads League season.