Softball: Crown Point takes second straight Twin Lakes title
By Steve T. Gorches 314-3797 or firstname.lastname@example.org May 7, 2013 11:40AM
Crown Point batter Miranda Elish hits RBI double at the Twin Lake Softball tournament. | File photo
Updated: May 7, 2013 1:29PM
MONTICELLO — There’s just something about the Twin Lakes Softball Invitational that fits Crown Point like a glove.
The Bulldogs have only competed in the 16-team tournament — the largest in the state — four times. And after a 3-1 victory over Twin Lakes in Saturday’s championship, they have now won back-to-back titles and three in four years.
And Crown Point (14-3) showed its versatility by winning in multiple ways in a 24-hour span. The Dogs came from behind late on Friday night against Andrean (4-3), blasted the ball all over the place in blowout wins over Lewis Cass on Saturday morning (10-0) and Pioneer in the semifinal (15-1), and played solid defense behind stellar pitching in a 4-0 win over Lafayette Jeff to advance out of pool play, and in the championship.
“We got done what needed to be done,” said CP coach Ginger Britton with a more relaxed smile amid the celebration on the field this year. Last year’s Twin Lakes victory came weeks after she took over as coach following Brett Crutchfield’s removal as head coach.
After scoring eight runs in an inning in the semifinal — it included back-to-back home runs by Mandey Shrader and Rachael Honaker — the Dogs scored all three of their runs against Twin Lakes (11-6) without the benefit of a hit in the second inning to erase an early 1-0 deficit.
In fact, not one ball got out of the infield. Ally Rock walked with one out. She moved to second when Siena Gyure laid down a sacrifice bunt, but there was an error on the third baseman. Amanda Rock reached on an error on the shortstop, scoring her twin sister. Morgan Matalin, who was pinch running for Gyure, scored on a passed ball, and then Amanda Rock scored on a wild pitch.
“The girls did a nice job taking extra bases, taking advantage of mistakes and playing some small ball,” Britton said.
After that, it was all Miranda Elish, who retired the last 19 batters — seven of them were strikeouts. The host Indians hit her hard in the first inning with a pair of scalded singles sandwiched around a sacrifice bunt. But Elish changed things up a little after a short talk with Britton.
“I made sure I hit my corners better,” Elish said. “I was throwing pretty hard today.”
Her coach was quite impressed with the freshman’s energy level during the long day.
“She’s really came into her own,” Britton said. “She did a great job today considering the amount of innings she logged. She came into her groove.”
And her teammates fed off that groove and her energy.
“She definitely is all that,” catcher Ally Rock said. “We play with a lot of confidence when she’s (in the circle) — she plays with a lot of confidence, too.”
Winning weekend: All four local teams were at least 2-1 in pool play — a first for area entrants in more than 10 years.
Crown Point, of course, went 3-0 to win its pool, while Lowell, Andrean and Hanover also went 2-1. The Red Devils tied for the best record in their pool, but lost the head-to-head tiebreaker to Frontier, which edged Lowell 3-2 in an elimination game with a two-run home run in the sixth inning.
“We haven’t gotten very many key hits all year,” Lowell coach Pete Iussig said. “We put some hits together against Western (8-4 victory), but not much else.”
Iussig did get a compliment about his No. 1 pitcher, Brandi Flaverty.
“The umpire in the morning game said she has the best drop-ball he’s seen,” Iussig said. “He compared it to a split-finger fastball in baseball.”
Hanover looked good in the tourney for the first time since winning in 2009.
“It’s been a long time since we won two out of three,” Hanover coach Larry McMillen said.
Andrean’s highlights included a pair of home runs — a solo shot by Morghyn Neal on Friday night in a loss to CP, and a two-run shot by Brenna Boyle on Saturday.