ST. JOHN | The bus was 45 minutes late. Sitting around and waiting for a ride is as fun going to a parade without any floats. Or lemonade.
So when Times No. 3 Portage got to top-ranked Lake Central on Tuesday, the Red Indians were rushed and anxious — and it only got worse.
After two innings of the Duneland Athletic Conference game, Portage trailed 10-0. Later, it was down 12-2.
"It was tough," Portage coach Lisa Hayes said, "but once we got those first few runs I knew we'd be OK. Our kids never quit."
Yes, Lake Central won 12-10, which gave the Blue Indians the outright DAC championship. But Portage actually got the tying run to the plate in the seventh inning before Lily Del Toro could get the final out.
Portage (13-6, 9-4) was led by freshman Kaitlin Doud, who was 4-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Haley Hodges was 3-for-3 with two runs scored.
The visitors committed six errors in the first four innings and only five of Lake Central's runs were earned.
"If we catch the ball we probably win the game," said Hayes, whose team had already beaten Lake Central (19-2, 11-1).
Portage was pretty pleased when the game was over. L.C. coach Jeff Sherman read the riot act to his team in left field after the game was done, even though his program had just clinched its second straight league title.
"We are excited that we won the conference title again," Sherman said, "but we may not be happy with the way we finished the game. We should've ended better than we did. But we'll get over it."
Lizzie Seymour scored twice for L.C. and had two RBIs. Andriana Bribiesca had three RBIs batting No. 9 for her team.
Class 4A No. 4 L.C. has picked up a doubleheader at top-ranked Carmel on Friday and the Indians will host second-ranked South Bend Riley next week.
"When we lost to them we didn't hit," said L.C. senior Bridget Boyle, who was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI. "We wanted to hit against them this time. Once we got up as big as we did we kind of relaxed and we can't do that.
"We're happy with winning the DAC. We've worked hard for this."