Softball: Portage puzzled by Piatt; KV gets split
By John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent May 11, 2013 8:40PM
Updated: June 13, 2013 7:39PM
WHEATFIELD — Portage’s lineup is loaded with weapons that make a lot of noise.
Yet in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Kankakee Valley’s Taurie Piatt dis-armed the Indians by quieting their bats.
The Kougars’ senior righthander allowed four hits and fanned 10, leading KV (17-6) to an 8-0 win over the Indians (17-6).
Piatt’s shutout marked the first time Portage has been blanked this season. It also helped the Kougars salvage a split after the Indians rode the two-hit pitching of Kiley Jones in the opener to cruise to a 12-0 win.
“They’re a huge hitting team,’’ Piatt said. “I felt very confident — like I could throw whatever I needed to throw. My change-up helped me keep them off-balance. I couldn’t have done it without Mo (KV catcher Morgan Cavinder). We’re the dynamic duo. She called a great game like she always does, and the rest of my teammates played good defense behind me.’’
Kankakee Valley coach Brian Flynn was impressed with Piatt’s performance.
“She was dead-on hitting her spots today, changing speeds and moving it around,’’ he said. “To shut down a power-hitting team like they are, takes some doing.’’
Portage coach Lisa Hayes was impressed with Piatt’s effort.
“I really didn’t know what to expect from her, but she’s very good — she’s a great pitcher,’’ she said.
Kougars shortstop Lauren Stokes played a big role, too. She went 4-for-6 overall, including 3-for-4 in Game 2. She had two doubles and an RBI, and scored three runs.
Stokes has been hitting so well, Flynn has moved her from the No. 5 spot to No. 2 in the batting order.
“It felt really good to hit like that,’’ Stokes said. “(The pitching) was a lot slower than the first game.’’
Stokes said she was stepping out against Jones, but adjusted to Heather Zengler’s style in Game 2.
“I was in it, to hit it,’’ she said. “I wasn’t in my defensive swing.’’
In the opener, Jones went the distance to win her ninth game in 13 decisions.
“I was just keeping the ball low and trying to hit my spots,’’ she said. “The screwball was working pretty well and so was the outside fastball — so that’s two different corners of the plate.’’
The Kougars had 12 groundball outs, making things even easier for Jones.
“My defense was making plays behind me, so that was really great for me,’’ she said. “I just tried to stay calm.’’
Alexis Johnson, who missed three games after suffering a concussion in an auto accident last week, drove in three runs — two with her second homer.
“I could tell it was gone the minute it hit my bat,’’ Johnson said. “It felt really good.’’