DEMOTTE | It was hard for Times No. 4 Portage softball coach Lisa Hayes to be upbeat after Saturday’s second game of a doubleheader against host Kankakee Valley.
After the Indians' Kiley Jones shut down the No. 8 Kougars in a 12-0 whitewash in game one, K.V.’s Taurie Piatt tossed a gem in an 8-0 victory in game two.
“We showed up for the first game,” Hayes said. “I don’t know what else to say.”
Hayes said it was no surprise Piatt was able to completely shut out the Indians (17-6).
“Some of our girls already know she’s a good pitcher,” she said.
Familiarity didn’t breed contempt as Piatt fanned 10, allowed three singles and didn’t put a runner past second base.
“She was dead-on hitting her spots today, changing speeds and moving it around,” K.V. coach Brian Flynn said. “To shut down a power-hitting team like that, that takes some doing.”
Looking for some redemption after the first game, the Kougars (17-6) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a RBI-double by Sydney Pumnea. They made it 3-0 in the third when Lauren Stokes doubled and scored on a single by Morgan Cavinder.
It was enough of a cushion for Piatt to settle in.
“Taurie is a great pitcher,” Flynn said. “When she’s on the mound, we have a lot of confidence we can play. When we scored early, that helped a lot.”
Piatt, who improved to 12-3, said every pitch was working.
“I felt very confident in most all of my pitches, especially my change-up which I’m never confident in,” she said.
Stokes had a monster day, going 4-for-6, including a double in a five-run sixth inning.
“I really don’t know how I’m hitting like this, to be honest,” she said. “I’m feeling pretty confident, too.”
Flynn said he recently moved Stokes from the fifth spot to No. 2 in the order.
“She’s been getting bunches of RBIs for us, and she’s seeing the ball really well right now,” he said.
In the opener, Jones tossed a two-hitter and got a dozen ground-ball outs and a 4-6-3 double play.
“My defense was making plays so that was really great for me,” she said. “I just tried to stay calm.
“I was just keeping the ball low and trying to hit my spots. The screwball was working pretty well and the outside fastball, so that’s two different corners of the plate.”
Alexis Johnson was 2-for-3 for the Kougars with a home run and two RBIs.