Softball: Kiley Jones delivers for Portage in coach’s return
By Kevin O’Keefe Post-Tribune correspondent April 16, 2013 9:38PM
Portage's Kiley Jones connects on a three run home run against LaPorte in the third inning Tuesday afternoon at Portage High School. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 18, 2013 6:54AM
PORTAGE — Portage softball coach Lisa Hayes was away from her team for the last two weeks and she was champing at the bit to get back.
Hayes, who gave birth to a son on Easter Sunday, was rewarded in her first game back with a 4-1 Duneland Conference victory over LaPorte on Tuesday. Portage (7-3, 2-2) pitcher Kiley Jones was a one-person wrecking crew, hitting a three-run homer and allowing six Slicers base runners in her complete game victory.
“It’s good to be back, I’m glad to be here,” Hayes said. “She’s (Jones) a good kid. She had a good game, had very good at bats and pitched a very solid game.”
The Slicers jumped on top in the top of the second with an unearned run. Alexis Botsford, who had two of the three LaPorte hits on the day, had a one-out single and came home on a throwing error for the only Slicers run of the game.
“We tried to run on them early and put some pressure on them,” LaPorte Coach Bob Sewers said. “They’re a good team and we’re young and still learning. We wanted to try to get an early lead, it’s better to score first than to be fighting from behind.”
The Indians had a chance to do some damage in the bottom of the second as Slicers pitcher Stasia Merkel walked the bases loaded, but got an inning-ending groundout to second to end the threat.
Merkle’s fortune ran out in the bottom of the third, however, as the Indians put together five hits and scored four times. Jalisa McKnight led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second by Dalton Minor. Haley Hodges was hit by a pitch followed by Kaitlin Doud’s RBI single, driving in McKnight to tie the game at 1-1. Jones then drilled a three-run homer to right center field.
From there, Jones allowed three Slicers base runners.
“It was a great feeling getting her (Hayes) back,” Jones said. “It was weird with her gone and I definitely felt her absence. It was a total team effort today, we were very efficient defensively and at the plate we strung some hits together. That is the second home run I’ve hit and I didn’t know if it was gone, I just started running hard.”