Softball: Crown Point shuts out defending regional champ Chesterton
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent May 20, 2013 10:18PM
Crown Point freshman Miranda Elish throws to the plate during the Bulldogs' sectional game against Chesterton Monday May 20, 2013. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 22, 2013 6:34AM
CROWN POINT — Two opportunistic runs and a marvelous pitching performance from freshman Miranda Elish led Crown Point to defeat the defending regional champion Chesterton 2-0 on the first night of the Crown Point softball sectional.
“We were just trying to keep them off-balance,” Elish said of her approach to the potent Trojans’ lineup. “We moved the ball over the place and changed speeds a lot.”
Elish ran her unbeaten record to 17-0 by allowing just one hit while issuing no walks in her complete-game victory.
“I was worried because we’d beaten them twice and they’d already seen Miranda twice. She wasn’t going to blow them away,” Crown Point coach Ginger Britton said.
“Miranda and (catcher) Ally Rock did a real nice job of making them ground out or pop out to the infield.”
Elish didn’t need much run support, but she aided her own cause by scoring what proved to be the game-winning run in the first inning after two Chesterton errors.
“We shot ourselves in the foot giving up that unearned run in the first inning,” said Chesterton coach LouAnn Hopson. But the quiet night for the Trojans’ offense continued an unfortunate late-season theme for Chesterton. “We just hit a slump hitting about two weeks ago and haven’t been able to get out of it.”
A Crown Point insurance run was added in the fifth when Ally Rock crushed a double to left center, scoring Mandy Schroder, who was hit by a pitch.
In the first game of the night, Portage took advantage of six LaPorte errors to advance to the semifinal round with a 4-2 win over the Slicers.
“Anytime you can capitalize on a mistake, even if it’s just a mental error, it’s huge,” said Portage coach Lisa Hayes. “It was a good momentum builder for us.”
After each team scored once in the first inning, Portage’s rally started with a Stephanie Upton single and a Jena Alaniz walk. Two batters later, Haley Hodges’ fielder’s choice ground ball scored one run.
Later in the inning, Kaitlin Doud’s sacrifice fly to deep left and Lauren Murray’s RBI single brought in two more runs in an inning that was extended by three Slicers’ errors.
“In the last five games we might have made one error per game,” said LaPorte head coach Bob Severs. “Six errors is going to hurt; especially against a pitcher like that.”
Portage starter Kiley Jones kept the Slicers offense in check with her off-speed pitches, scattering four hits and three walks in her complete-game outing.
“I’ve got confidence in that pitch to get ahead of the batter,” Jones said. “Even if they don’t swing at the pitch, I can still get it into the strike zone ... usually.”