WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Sweeping a league rival will always be a high note to any softball season. But ending a 16-game losing streak in the series with a sweep like Grace’s softball team did on Tuesday against Bethel College seems even better.
Olivia Winget homered twice for the Lady Lancers in the team’s 3-2 opening-game win, and freshman Alex Shipley tossed a complete-game shutout to lead Grace in their 3-0 victory in the second game.
The Lady Lancers (13-21; 5-3 Crossroads League) had not tasted victory over the Pilots since March 24, 2005, before their sweep at Miller Field on Tuesday.
In the opener, Olivia Winget’s towering two-run home run in the first inning handed the Lady Lancers their first lead of the game.
Winget added another blast on her next at-bat in the fourth inning to single handedly put Grace ahead 3-0.
The Pilots (19-7; 9-5 CL) picked up one more run with two hits and two walks in the fifth inning, but Olivia Winget pitched herself out of a bases-loaded jam with only a single tally against her.
Ashley Bossaer made the defensive play of the game in the top of the sixth by turning an inning-ending double play, erasing two Pilot baserunners.
Bethel threatened to rally again in the top of the seventh when they loaded the bases with nobody out, but Winget won the game from the mound by getting three straight outs. The Pilots managed to plate one run on a sacrifice fly, but Winget shut down the Pilots to secure the win.
Winget allowed eight hits and two runs in a complete-game effort, striking out seven batters. From the plate, Winget was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and three RBIs.
The second game was all about Shipley. The freshman pitcher threw a five-hit gem in blanking the Pilots. She struck out six batters without allowing a run to score in seven innings.
Winget scored the first run of the game in the second inning after walking. She was sacrificed to second base and reached third on a wild pitch. Tiffany Featherston then laid down a bunt to allow Winget to slide safely underneath the tag at home plate.
Grace opened up a 3-0 advantage in the fifth inning when Danielle Wellman hit a two-run single to right field to score Brooke Shell and Lacey Little. Those extra runs proved to be unnecessary as Shipley shut out Bethel on the scoreboard.
Shell led Grace from the plate by going 2-for-2, and Jordan McKinley batted 1-for-3 with a pair of stolen bases.
The Lady Lancers will look to continue their winning ways on Wednesday when they travel to Goshen College for a doubleheader at 3 p.m.