PORTAGE | Nothing like scoring five runs in the first three innings to give a pitcher some breathing room.
It’s even better when that hurler directly contributed to three of those runs.
Portage junior Kiley Jones tossed a complete game while also blasting a two-run home run in the first inning and scoring another run in the third after a double in the Times No. 2 Indians’ 6-1 victory over No. 6 Chesterton.
Jones’ high-flying bomb to right-center field came two batters after Sydney Coundiff reached on an error.
“That’s sort of how I hit home runs – a mile high and hope they get over the fence,” she said modestly about her second dinger of the season. “It’s a confidence-booster to get that early in the game, but you also have to realize it’s just your first at-bat.”
Hence, why she was just as happy about the scalded double to lead off the third.
It also helped that she was pretty good in the circle, too. A two-out rally by Chesterton (1-3, 0-2 Duneland Athletic Conference) in the third resulted in a run, but that was all Jones gave up while striking out seven and walking just one.
“She’s getting stronger on the mound and at the plate,” Portage coach Lisa Hayes said. “Being inside for so long, it’s hard to know how some girls get started.”
One girl who’s gotten her Portage varsity career started well is sophomore outfielder Adrien Hall. After a hard-hit out in the first on a groundout to second base, she got base hits on her next three at-bats, including two doubles. She also scored two runs for the Indians (4-1, 2-0).
“We knew she had a good bat,” Hayes said. “She placed the ball well today. This was one of those breakout games we expected from her.”
For the Trojans, it’s their second straight loss to start the Duneland campaign with just one run scored in the two games after scoring more than 20 in two non-conference games.
“After a couple innings with some strikeouts, we did hit the ball better,” Chesterton coach LouAnn Hopson said. “There were definitely some mistakes and some good plays. We’ll put it all together eventually. It’s just a matter of keeping the kids’ hopes up.”
Sydney Cooley was a bright spot for the Trojans with two hits and three innings of relief work in the circle, giving up just one run with three strikeouts.