WEST LAFAYETTE | Portage had flown under the radar for most of the regular season and did the same in the state tournament.
The Indians upset host Crown Point to win the sectional and knocked off Munster to win the regional. After dispatching Class 4A No. 2 Northridge 2-0 in the afternoon semifinal at the Harrison Semistate, Portage faced No. 5 Huntington North.
Could the Indians pull off another stunner Saturday night?
Down to its final outs, Portage scored the tying run in the seventh inning. went ahead in the ninth, then withstood a threat in bottom half to prevail 2-1.
After Huntington North scored a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a scoreless tie, Kaitlin Doud singled to lead off the Portage seventh and stole second base one out later. She scored on a single to left-center field by Alexis Johnson to knot the game at 1.
Doud also started the winning rally in the ninth in identical fashion. She singled to lead off the inning and stole second base one out later. She scored on a single by Lauren Murray.
In the bottom of the ninth, Kiley Jones struck out the final batter with the tying and winning runs on base.
In the afternoon game, the Indians made their two hits count in a dynamic two-run rally in the sixth inning and advanced to the championship with a 2-0 victory over the Northridge Raiders (26-2).
Stephanie Upton tripled to the fence in center to lead off the frame.
“It was a change-up,” Upton said. “I waited on it and just hit it as hard as I could pretty much.”
Jena Alaniz reached on a fielder’s choice to put runners on the corners for lead-off hitter Jalise McKnight. McKnight lined a single to the hole between first and second to plate Upton for the first run.
After Rachel Ortiz-Zabloudil reached on another fielder’s choice, Haley Hodges drove in the second run with a hard hit ground ball that Northfield got a force at second. Northridge pitcher Haley Nixon induced a double play to finally get out of the jam.