CHESTERTON | Dana Claussen's second and third home runs of the season could not have come at a better time for the Hobart softball team.
Claussen's second home run tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, and her third was a walk-off solo shot in the eighth inning that gave the Brickies a 3-2 win against Merrillville in the first round of the Class 4A sectional on Tuesday.
The Brickies (14-15) will play host Chesterton in the semifinals on Thursday. The Times No. 6 Trojans defeated Valparaiso 8-1.
Claussen lined a 2-2 pitch over the fence in right-center to give Hobart the win.
"As soon as it released from her hand, I knew it was the pitch to hit," Claussen said. "When I hit the ball, I didn't even think I hit it that far."
Claussen's home run in the sixth bounced off the top of the fence and over.
In the circle, Claussen allowed six hits and struck out eight in getting the win. Both runs she allowed were unearned. She was also called for five illegal pitches.
"She did an amazing job sticking with it and hitting the way she did," Hobart coach Katrina Lucas said. "I can't be more proud of her."
The Pirates (1-23) scored two runs with two outs in the top of the first. Julie Ross had a run-scoring single.
Brittany Probasco had two hits and drove in a run for Hobart.
In the second game, Syndey Cooley hit two home runs and drove in seven runs for the Trojans (18-10).
Cooley hit a solo home run in the third and added a three-run home run in the fourth. Her bases-clearing double put the Trojans in front 3-0 in the first. She finished 3-for-4 on the night.
Mallory McKee had a pair of singles and scored a run for Chesterton.
Megan Tymorek struck out seven and allowed four hits in the circle.
Amber Timmerman drove in Valparaiso’s run with a two-out single in the fifth.