CROWN POINT | She's like Elvis at a county fair in the mid 1950s. Or the Beatles playing in front of a German crowd before Ed Sullivan.
Crown Point freshman Miranda Elish is a pitcher that many softball fans knew was good long before the bright lights were turned on. Now, though, closing in on the midway point of her initial high school season, Elish is proving to be every bit as good as many expected.
Elish plays travel ball for the elite Chicago Bandits and has already verbally committed to Oregon.
"Coming from travel ball this was a new team and I had to adjust," Elish said on Thursday. "The seniors welcomed me. I don't feel like a freshman on this team."
She doesn't pitch or hit like one either. In seven games, Elish owns a 0.20 ERA through Wednesday's games. She's fanned 32 hitters in 35 innings. She has only given up one earned run, as the Bulldogs enter this weekend's Twin Lakes Tournament.
Elish is also batting .556 with 10 RBIs with four doubles and one triple in 18 at-bats.
"Miranda's hitting has really improved, it's catching up with her pitching," Crown Point coach Ginger Britton said.
Times No. 1 C.P. will be in Monticello this weekend as defending champs in one of the state's best in-season tournaments. With teams coming in from all over the northern part of the state, this will be an opportunity for Elish's name to ring from Angola to Zionsville, symbolically.
"Miranda has done a nice job," Britton said. "She's using more of her breaking pitches, hitting the corners and not relying on her fastball."
This isn't no ordinary fastball. Elish's fastball has been clocked at 68 miles per hour and she believes she's hit 70 on several occasions.
Elish credits her parents, Casey and Dawn, for helping to reach stage one of her career.
She started pitching in 8-and-under leagues. The ultra athlete quickly moved forward. The family moved and the basement turned into a workout room. She throws 100 to 200 pitches on certain days.
Elish also was a major player on Crown Point's varsity basketball team. She loves that sport, but softball will always be No. 1. She even missed some early hoops because of softball tournaments in Florida and California.
With a deep pitching staff Elish (4-0) isn't getting a ton of innings, but the number is starting to grow. She was brilliant in beating Lake Central earlier this week, striking out six in a 3-2 victory -- the first win in six games against the Indians.
Northwest Indiana has been filled with a long line of great pitchers, including Lake Central's Leslie Rossa, Merrillville's Leslie Malerich, Lake Central's Brooke Baker and Whiting's Mel Dumezich.
All of them were great. And all of them did something that Elish really wants to do.
"I want my team to win a state title," she said. "I want to do it for our seniors. I don't want to let people down."
This run starts in Monticello this weekend, in a way. It ends in Indianapolis in June. And Elish is competing against the region's history, too, and where she will fit when it's all said and done.
"I was raised to be the best," Elish said. "That's what I strive for."