CHESTERTON — There’s making a statement and then there’s doing what the Times No. 2 Lake Central softball team did to top-ranked Chesterton in the first Duneland Athletic Conference game of the season on Wednesday afternoon.
The Indians erupted for four runs in the first inning on Wednesday and then added three more runs in the third inning in a 10-4 win over the Trojans. Lake Central’s first four batters scored and a fifth reached base as well before Chesterton recorded its first out.
The Indians chased Santa Clara commit Lauren Anderson before the first inning ended and then Lake Central’s bottom of the order feasted on Indiana State commit Lexi Benko with a trio of home runs over the next six innings.
“It was really important to come out and kind of set the tone for the entire season,” Lake Central junior Olivia Peterson said. “We wanted to set the tone against a team that was ranked higher than us. We trusted the talent on our team.”
The Indians (2-0, 1-0) got a leadoff double from Alexis Johnson and the sophomore advanced to third on a ground ball when Johnson got under the glove of Chesterton’s Kristi Stevenson. Johnson later scored on a wild pitch, the first of two for Anderson in the inning and both proved costly. The Indians ended up with four runs on just one hit in the inning and carried all the momentum before Selena Michko threw her first pitch of the game.
“We have gotten up early the first two games, scoring four runs in each inning,” Lake Central coach Jeff Sherman said. “It’s crucial against a team of (Chesterton’s) caliber. You knew at some point they’d make a run.”
Lake Central continued to pound the ball before the Trojans (1-1, 0-1) were able to make that run. With a runner already on first in the top of the third inning, senior first baseman Madisen Tucker blasted a home run over the centerfield fence to give the Indians a 6-0 lead. Peterson followed that up with a solo shot that also went over the center-field fence, giving Lake Central’s bottom of the order back-to-back home runs.
“I like being the No. 9 hitter,” Peterson said. “I kind of look at it as the top of the order. It’s my job to get back to the top of the order.”
The Trojans began chipping away at the deficit, adding a run in the third inning, two more in the fourth inning and then scoring one more in the fifth. While Chesterton worked its way back in the game, it missed a golden opportunity by having the first three batters reach base in the fifth inning, but only getting one run to show for it.
Johnson added another run for Lake Central in the fifth inning and then Peterson added some insurance in the seventh inning with her second home run of the game, this time a two-run blast that drove in Tucker. Both Peterson and Tucker finished with a pair of hits and three RBIs.
“It was really crucial in the game (to get an early lead),” Tucker said. “We built up our energy and kept the excitement up in the dugout.”