MUNSTER | Crown Point came into Tuesday's Class 4A regional final against host Munster undefeated, ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 13 in the country.
The Bulldogs came away with their first regional championship since 1985 after a 4-1 win that was a little closer than many expected.
"Postseason's ugly. You win ugly and you don't care," C.P. coach Ginger Britton said.
Crown Point (29-0) could only manage one run in the first inning, despite a dropped third strike and an error. The Bulldogs left two runners on base in that frame and two more in the third.
"You never like to leave runners in scoring position, but we got enough across the plate," Britton said.
Munster (20-11) evened things up in its half of the third when Taylor Michalski tripled in Sadie O'Connor, who doubled to open in the inning.
"I bet (Crown Point) hasn't been in that situation all year. We had a lot of runners on base," Munster coach Beth Thornburg said. "We came here to win."
The Bulldogs got things together in the fifth, leading off with three straight singles. All three would score, the first two on consecutive plays at the plate after sacrifice flies. Munster outfielders made near-perfect throws in both cases, but Morgan Matalin and Rachael Suits both evaded tags.
"We knew we were going to have to be very tight defensively and pitch really well," Thornburg said. "(Crown Point's Miranda Elish and Alexis Holloway) are maybe the two best pitchers in the state."
Elish, committed to play softball at Oregon, threw five innings, struck out one and allowed five hits for the win.
Michalski hit a deep fly ball in the fifth with a runner on, but left fielder Brittany Hulen chased it down just in front of the wall to end the last major threat the Mustangs could muster.
"You're looking at that from this dugout and you don't know if that's staying in or going out," Britton said. "Brittany was going full speed. It was a nice snag."
Holloway came in to get the last six outs and seal the win for Crown Point. The Bulldogs will take on Huntington North, which beat Fort Wayne Carroll 4-0, on Saturday in their first semistate in almost three decades.