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Softball: Portage gets payback in beating CP, will face Hobart in sectional final

Portage's Abigail Alexander scores off an infield triple by Portage's KaitlDoud Crown Point High School Friday May 24 2013. |

Portage's Abigail Alexander scores off an infield triple by Portage's Kaitlin Doud at Crown Point High School on Friday May 24, 2013. | Jim Karczewski~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 26, 2013 6:18AM



CROWN POINT — One year after Crown Point eliminated them in the sectional semifinals, the Portage Indians returned the favor on Friday, ending the Bulldogs’ season with a 3-1 victory.

“(Crown Point) won our conference, which is the toughest conference in the state in my opinion,” said Portage coach Lisa Hayes. “I can’t express how important it was just for us to make it to the championship game.”

With two outs in the third inning, Haley Hodges was hit by a pitch and then scored on a double by Kaitlin Doud. A fielding error brought Doud across home plate, giving Portage (20-6) an early 2-0 lead.

“After I watched a pitch go by for a strikeout in my first at bat, I wasn’t going to do it again,” said Doud, who had two doubles off of Bulldogs’ starter Miranda Elish — a close friend of Doud’s away from the field.

Mandy Schrader’s triple in the bottom of the third inning scored Courtney Holm, giving Crown Point (25-5) its only run of the game.

In the sixth inning, Alexis Johnson crushed a solo home run to give Portage a 3-1 lead, and handing Elish (17-1) her first loss of the season.

Crown Point’s offense scattered five hits off of Portage starter Kiley Jones.

“We had some runners on, but we just didn’t string together enough hits,” said Crown Point coach Ginger Britton.

Jones pitched all seven innings for Portage, striking out three batters while walking just one.

“(Catcher Haley) Hodges and I were really on the same page,” said the Indians’ sophomore.

“We never went in the same sequence. I think it kept them off-balance.”

Hobart awaits Portage in the sectional championship, after the Brickies defeated Valparaiso 6-2 in their semifinal matchup.

“They were fired up today, after school, before we got on the bus,” said Hobart head coach Katrina Lucas, who watched her team win its 10th straight game after a tough start to the season. “In the last two days we’ve been focused on hitting different speeds.”

That work paid off, as Hobart cranked out 11 hits in the game, including four doubles — two from No. 6 hitter Brittany Probasco. After grabbing one run in the first, the Brickies padded their lead with one in the fourth, one in the fifth, two in the sixth and one more in the seventh.

Andi Sarkisian’s solo home run in the fifth inning was one of just three hits that Valparaiso managed against Hobart starter Dana Claussen, who earned a complete game victory.

“We’ve been working on mixing up her pitches and hitting her spots,” Lucas said of Claussen. “She’s got a lot of experience, so she’s pretty composed out there on the mound.”



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