MONTICELLO | Thanks to Mother Nature throwing a curve ball at the Monticello area Friday night, the format of the 16-team Twin Lakes Invitational was changed into two eight-team tourneys.
And Northwest Indiana squads won both Saturday in very different ways.
Crown Point remained undefeated, but not without a challenge, to win the “White Tourney”.
Lowell competed without its upperclassmen, due to prom, and still rolled to the “Red Tourney” title.
The two teams do face in about 10 days, so maybe they can unofficially play for the Twin Lakes overall title in that game.
“We can bring the trophies and someone can walk away with two,” joked Crown Point coach Ginger Britton, whose program has come home a winner at Twin Lakes four out of five years.
The Times No. 1 Bulldogs (19-0) needed to survive Class 4A No. 4 Harrison 4-2 in the semifinal before rolling to a 6-0 victory over Western in the final.
Freshman Alexis Holloway came through at the plate and in the circle.
In the final, she went 3 for 3 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. The first run came with two outs in the third inning when she singled and was drove home by Miranda Elish.
Against Harrison, the Bulldogs trailed for only the second time all season, but Holloway changed that with a two-run triple in the fourth. She also got the save when she came into the game in the fifth with the bases loaded, two outs and a precarious one-run lead.
Holloway struck out the batter with an unorthodox pitch selection — change-up on the first pitch, fastball, then another change-up.
“That’s what Coach Britton called,” Holloway said when asked why she started with the slow stuff.
Britton explained: “As the game progressed, the strike zone was getting tighter. Miranda was just missing the zone and I know Alexis makes batters miss a lot.”
C.P.’s freshman-sophomore pitching connection has been shining all season. Times No. 6 Lowell (17-5) had multiple freshmen and sophomores step up when they hadn’t played varsity most of the year.
“Our JV team is 16-1 this year, so it’s not that much of a surprise to me,” Lowell coach Pete Iussig said. “I was really impressed with (freshman) Haley Raub at third base. She epitomized our play today. She’s all of 89 pounds but played hard all day.”
Her biggest play as the defensive flex player was a diving catch of a foul popup in the seventh of the 6-4 semifinal win when Frontier was threatening. She also added a single in the 12-2 six-inning final win over Eastern and scored a run.
“All these young players battled and battled today,” Iussig said. “I’ll have to mess with the varsity players a little bit this week.”