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Foresters pick up first league win at Grace

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WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The #RV Forester softball team handed the Grace College Lancers (8-9, 1-1) their first league loss, 8-6, Monday afternoon at Miller Athletic Complex before dropping a 7-5 decision to their hosts in a darkness-shortened game.

Despite being outhit by the Lancers, 16-11, in game one, the Foresters were more efficient offensively to pick up their first conference win of the year. Things looked bleak for the visitors initially as Grace raced out to a 4-0 advantage after one but Coach Gower’s crew promptly answered in their next at bat.

Huntington sent ten batters to the plate in the top of the second with five Foresters picking up a hit while two others drew a walk to score six runs and claim a lead that would last. Highlighting the offensive explosion included RBI-singles by Sabrina Bethel and Karley Blankenship followed by Casey Lehman and Audra Klopfenstein doubling in two and one runs respectively.

Ashley Brown scored what proved to be the game-winner in the third when she singled to right and then eventually made her way home on a wild throw. Grace countered with a pair of runs in their half of the frame for a 7-6 ball game but they would get no closer as the game’s last score came when Marty Harris registered an RBI-single into shallow center in the fifth to make for the 8-6 final.

Camille Furrow tossed the first three frames, giving up 11 hits and six runs, before being relieved by Lairen Miller who pitched four innings of scoreless ball to pick up the win.

Miller also had a solid outing at the plate by going 2-for-2 and scoring once. Bethel also collected a pair of hits to go along with an RBI.

Much to the chagrin of the Foresters, daylight was not on their side in the nightcap. Down 7-2 heading into the fifth, HU scored three times in the top of the frame to trim the lead to 7-5 and seize the momentum but their push for a heroic comeback was denied as the game was called early due to darkness.

The fifth inning push started with a Lancer error. Klopfenstein continued the late game rally by singling through the hole at shortstop and then she and Lehman, the beneficiary of the Lancer error, both found their way home as the Lancers were chasing down Miller after her infield single. Abby Keaffaber then put the exclamation point on the inning by tallying her first collegiate dinger by blasting a shot over the left field fence.

As it turned out, the Foresters played catch up all game as the Lancers opened up the scoring in the first. HU knotted things up at 1-1 in the top of the second on Bethel’s shot into deep right-center that allowed Harris touch home after doubling to the same spot three batters prior.

Grace scored twice in each of the next three frames while HU managed to push one more run across the plate during that span to make for a lopsided 7-2 game heading into the fifth.

Furrow and Miller split pitching responsibilities again with Furrow getting the start and taking the loss by giving up ten hits and five runs in three innings in the circle before Miller tossed the fourth.

Bethel was a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate to finish with four hits on the day. Klopfenstein also logged two hits.

The Foresters (6-7-1, 1-3) host Mount Vernon Nazarene University tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. in their home opener.

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 38 NAIA All-America honors and 254 All-America Scholar Athlete honors. Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest.