A late Portage rally was not enough on Tuesday night, as the lady-Indians varsity softball team fell to the Chesterton Trojans 6-3. Portage came from behind by plating three runs in their final at-bat in the bottom of the seventh, but it was not enough to earn a win in the first home game of the 2011 season.
The Trojans grabbed control of the game thanks to a prosperous first inning in which they scored five times on six hits, including a two-run homer by Sydney Cooley. After that they never looked back, adding an insurance tally in the fourth inning.
The Indians’ bats were quiet through the first six frames. Sophomore transfer Jalise McKnight rapped a single to lead-off the first. Later in the inning, Dani Lynch reached on an infield single. After that, the next 16 Portage batters were retired by pitcher Megan Tymorek.
Natalie Korpak, who came on to pitch in relief, had a solid outing that kept her team in the game. After the five run first, the Trojans did not scratch out another hit until the fourth. In the bottom of the seventh, Korpak finished her pitching performance with a flourish. She struck out the side to give Portage some momentum going into its final chance.
The Indians built on that momentum in the bottom of the seventh. Haley Hodges and Dani Lynch drilled back-to-back singles with one out to set the stage for Morgan Eastridge, who delivered a two-run double. Salina McConnell’s pinch hit single with two outs drove in Eastridge to make it a 6-3 game. Portage was hoping for some more late-inning magic after their come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Hebron in the season opener. However, Tymorek struck out the next hitter to end the rally and the game.
The Indians lineup features a new look this season with the emergence of the strong freshman class. Freshman Alexis Johnson took over shortstop duties for this game due to the absence of star senior Kristen Ashby. Senior Sabrina Alaniz, who has signed to play at Taylor University, received the start as the designated hitter. Lynch returns as the team’s first baseman, but this year she is the cleanup hitter in the order. Sophomores Haley Hodges and Shelby Meints return at catcher and third base respectively, while speedster Nikki Cloyd mans right field once again.
Portage’s record dropped to 1-1 with the loss, while the Trojans improved to 2-1 with the victory. The two teams will rematch in Chesterton on April 26. The Indians will look to bounce back when they host LaPorte on Thursday at 4:30.