UNION MILLS | "These girls live, breathe and eat softball," said John Carr, president of the Porter County Girls Softball Association.
They also hustle as in "Charlie Hustle" -- Pete Rose would feel right at home playing in the PCGSA.
"What are you guys talking about? You have no money to bet with," South Central Softball League president Jake Wade said to two of his daughters, who were wagering on the outcome of the Morgan Township-vs. Valparaiso game for the association's 10-and-under championship Saturday at South Central High School.
"Yeah, but we're betting with your money," one of the daughters replied.
Behind the almost untouchable pitching of Charlotte Dombroski, Valparaiso rolled out to a 5-1 lead before an electrical-charged downpour delayed the game one pitch short of five full innings.
When play resumed nearly an hour later, Dombroski was relieved and Morgan Township rallied for six runs in the top of the sixth to go up 7-5.
"She was only allowed six innings due to tournament rules, so we had to pull her for at least one inning and see where we stood after that," Valparaiso coach Rich Shudick said.
Valparaiso managed to tie the game in its half of the sixth. Then after Dombroski returned to pitch a scoreless seventh. She fanned 10 in six innings and yielded just one hit.
Campbell MacLagan drove a no-out bases-loaded single through a drawn-in infield to score Jamila Townsend for the winning run in an 8-7 final.
Earlier that day in the 6U championship, South Central edged Valparaiso in a 17-16 slugfest, before South Central (3) defeated South Central (1) 14-5 for the 8U crown.
South Central was due to face Washington Township for the 12U title for the final PCGSA championship to decided on Saturday.
In an age where recreational softball is being plundered by travel ball, the PCGSA is flourishing with an all-time high of 70 teams drawing in town leagues from Boone Grove, Kouts, Lakes of the Four Seasons, Washington Township, Wanatah and Liberty Rec.
"We're a recreational league, but we try to be a competitive recreational league," Carr said. "We do that by bringing in new teams for better competition year after year.
"And we also try to get more fathers involved."
The PCGSA is affiliated with Babe Ruth Softball. Last season at the Northern Indiana State Championships, five teams from the association -- South Central (8U), Liberty Rec (10U, 12U, 14U) and Boone Grove (16U) claimed titles.
For more information about the PCGSA, which is holding its all-star tournament this week, go to www.portercountygirls.com.