HAMMOND | This is the matchup fans wanted most and neither Gavit nor Griffith was going to disappoint.
"We know Gavit is a team to be reckoned with," Griffith coach Ed McLeod said after Tuesday's forfeit win against Roosevelt in Game 2 of the 3A Gavit Sectional.
The Gladiators eliminated Clark in the opener, 7-1, as Elysia Alamillo used pin-point control for her first complete-game win.
Today's championship is at 4:30 p.m.
The large crowd watched Gavit lead-off hitter Mariah Barber crush a Valarie Ruiz fastball that cleared the left field fence by several feet. Ruiz then settled down to whiff the next seven batters.
She finished with 13 strikeouts but couldn't avoid the costly hit as Barber later added an RBI double, Brie Mangerson had two hits and 3 RBIs and Erika Ramirez an RBI single to send Gavit (10-9) into the title game with Griffith (14-13).
"As a team, we had a painfully slow start to the season," Gavit coach Emily Smith said. "Now our defense has improved, our bats are coming along and we've found a cohesive nine the past two weeks."
Added Barber: "It's my senior year and, win or lose, I want to leave it all on the field. At the beginning, I was in a huge slump but I've become more relaxed and focused (at bat). I was thinking too much before."
Alamillo had four strikeouts, no walks, and scattered five hits.
"I'm very accurate. In and out, I'm right on point," the junior said. "There was never a doubt. When it comes to Clark, I seem to be more aggressive."
Abby Govert doubled twice for Clark (13-12) and had the lone RBI.
The nightcap was called with none out in the first after Stephanie Brandner's scalding line drive struck 'Velt pitcher Gina Robatto squarely on the forehead. She was down for several minutes but never lost consciousness.
Already behind 3-0 and with only nine players left, Roosevelt (0-5) then decided to forfeit.