PORTAGE | Freshman pitcher Kiley Jones was nearly perfect for Portage on Tuesday afternoon.
Jones faced 24 hitters, three more than the minimum, in tossing a two-hit shutout as Times No. 4 Portage beat No. 7 LaPorte 4-0 in Duneland Athletic Conference play.
"Kiley has really stepped it up in a couple of pretty big games for us," Portage coach Lisa Hayes said. "We had some payback to do after the last LaPorte game, and she was up to the challenge. She took it and went with it."
Jones walked leadoff hitter Alexis Botsford to begin the game and then took control from there. Jones retired 13 of the final 14 hitters and needed just 81 pitches to get through the game.
"Haley (Hodges, the catcher) and I were on the same page. The pitches were looking good and everything," said Jones, who improved to 4-0 on the year. "We had chemistry today."
Jones finished with six strikeouts, most coming on her changeup.
"I've been working on that pitch hard lately, and it's finally coming in for me," Jones said. "It's the first game where I've really had full control over it."
No LaPorte base runner advanced past second base.
Jalise McKnight led the Indians (11-5, 7-3 DAC) at the plate with a pair of singles. McKnight drove in Katie Peksenak in the second to put Portage ahead 2-0, and she also scored a run.
Lauren Murray put the Indians ahead in the bottom of the first with a two-out single that plated Morgan Eastridge, who walked and stole second and third.
In the fifth inning, Jena Alaniz scored McKnight with a single and then scored on a double by Hodges, which chased LaPorte starter Hannah Fuller from the circle. All four Portage runs were scored with two outs.
"That's something we've really been working on, making sure we don't give up when there's two outs," Hayes said. "The girls were ready for it today."
Fuller allowed six hits and four runs in 4 2/3 innings for the Slicers (12-7, 5-4), who have lost four consecutive games.
Fuller and Botsford tallied LaPorte's two hits.
"You're not going to win any games if you don't hit the ball," LaPorte coach Bob Severs said.