CROWN POINT | The knees were knocking a little bit in the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday night. And it had little to do with the frigid wind whipping through the field at the Class 4A Crown Point Sectional.
Upstart Michigan City had just scored a run to tie the game against favored Portage and the Indians were batting in the bottom of the inning.
Then, with one powerful swing, everything changed.
"It was the first pitch, I saw it and I got a good swing," said Portage sophomore Haley Hodges, who launched a two-run home run to break open the game and take the Indians to a 7-3 win.
Hodges' dinger was the first one hit at Crown Point this spring. Portage (19-6) will play Chesterton on Thursday night in the semifinal. The Trojans beat Hobart 18-5 in Tuesday's second semifinal.
"That was the biggest home run I've ever hit," said Hodges. "I wanted to do this for my seniors. They're a great group. We were a little nervous when they scored early but I knew we could do it."
Portage's Morgan Eastridge had a single, double and triple with two RBIs and a run scored. City's Bre Miller had a double, triple and two RBIs.
"We talked from the beginning that we have to be ready to bounce back, no matter what happens," Portage coach Gil Arzola said. "It's tournament time. You have to be ready for anything. Haley's home run was real big. That really changed our momentum and changed things in our dugout."
Chesterton only led 5-4 heading into the top of the sixth. But the Trojans scored six in the sixth and seven in the seventh to blow open what had been a close game.
Jaren Lynch scored four runs with two hits. Sydney Cooley had a three-RBI double. Taylor Harlow had a two-RBI double. Ryan Bozak had three RBIs.
And starting pitcher Megan Tymorek had three hits and three RBIs.
Hobart senior Abby Adams ended her brilliant career with a 2-for-3 night with two runs scored.