Grace College’s softball team debuted its sparkling-new Coach Phil Dick Field on Saturday, and the Lady Lancers split with rival Bethel in the home opener.
After suffering a 4-0 defeat in the opener, Grace ended the day on a high note with a 7-2 victory.
The new grandstands were filled in Saturday’s opener with hardly a seat left vacant by the game’s first pitch.
In the first contest, the Lady Lancers (8-22, 4-14 Crossroads League) were unable to get find their offensive stride. Grace threatened to open the scoring in the second inning on a single to left field by Andrea Castillo. The scoring threat was neutralized, however, when Taylor Asher was thrown out in a close play at home plate.
The score remained deadlocked at zero into the fifth inning before Bethel (9-21, 4-14 CL) was able to plate a pair of runs on a two-run single. The Pilots extended their lead in the sixth inning with two more runs.
The Lady Lancers put up a fight at the end, tallying three hits from Sam Heim, Jessica Kaurich and Britney Young. But Grace could not push a runner across home.
Heim finished 2 for 3 at the plate in addition to a strong performance as the Lady Lancers’ starting pitcher. Young also added a pair of hits.
Bethel got on the scoreboard in the top of the first, but Grace quickly took control of the game. After giving up a run from the mound in the first, Dori Knight quickly settled in. She struck out the side in the second inning, allowing Grace to take the lead.
Michaela Lee tied the game in the bottom of the second, perfectly executing a squeeze bunt to score Emily Bobb. But Grace was not done.
Jess Vandenboom followed Lee with a run-scoring double that plated Bethany Gardner. Heim built on her strong first game with a triple to plate Vandenboom, and Olivia Scarbrough singled through the right side of the infield to plate Heim and cap off a four-run inning.
The Lady Lancers added another trio of runs in the third inning. Asher scored first, and Gardner plated Castillo with a run-scoring single. Gardner then scored herself on a ground ball by Vandenboom.
Erin Lawhon took care of the rest from the mound. Lawhon did not allow a run to score in relief for the final 3.2 innings, yielding just one hit and no walks.
Gardner finished 2 for 3 with two runs scored and her first collegiate RBI. Heim continued her hot stretch with another 3 for 4 showing, and Morgan Tapscott also went 2 for 3 for the Lady Lancers.
Scarbrough had a pair of hits and an RBI, and Vandenboom drove in two runs.
The doubleheader opened up 12 consecutive home games for the Lady Lancers. Next week, Grace will play three doubleheaders at Coach Phil Dick Field, including St. Francis on Tuesday, Indiana Wesleyan on Thursday and Marian on Saturday. – from grace.edu