HAMMOND | There might not be two teams more closely matched in region softball than Highland and Morton.
They both mirror each other's styles by trying to put the ball in play and limit the opposition's base runners.
But Wednesday night, the home team Governors had one more base runner than the Trojans, beating them 1-0 on their final at-bat after shortstop Jessica Chorak smacked one that Highland misplayed.
"Highland is our measuring stick," Morton coach Matt Barno said. "Both teams had a lot of missed opportunities, but Jessica made some great plays and is one of the hardest workers I've seen since I took over the program."
It was one of three Highland (0-1) errors, but none more critical than that because Morton had two runners on after a walk and a single.
That's when Chorak hit the game-changing blast.
"In a game like this, it's all or nothing," Chorak said. "We have to keep communicating and keep our heads up high."
After being one of the region's best last year, Morton (1-0) ace Angelica Justiniano proved she will be among the elite again with a complete game shutout, scattering six hits and striking out eight while walking no one.
"I thought I pitched pretty good," Justiniano said. "I stayed in control and had some good backup."
Highland's best shot to break through came in the second inning when Tiffany Morton led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on an error, but then Justiniano retired the next three to end the threat.
Justiniano has just one mindset in a tight situation like the one she just overcame.
"I have to stay focused -- because one mistake can make or break a tight game," she said.