ST. JOHN — Lake Central entered its home game Wednesday against Crown Point on a tear.
Since a two-run loss to Chesterton on April 27, the Indians had reeled off three straight wins and outscored their opponents by 21 runs. But as the team continued to gain momentum, Times No. 3 Lake Central knew its Duneland Athletic Conference matchup with the No. 1 Bulldogs would be an early-season test.
Crown Point lost to the Indians last year in the sectional championship and were perhaps looking for a bit of revenge, but Lake Central denied the Bulldogs of any redemption with a 6-2 home victory.
"What I really liked about our game plan was that the girls didn't treat the game as more than it was," LC coach Jeff Sherman said. "A lot of people made more of (Wednesday's) game than we did, because it's Crown Point and Lake Central, and it's a great rivalry."
Gabi Carra led the way for the Indians and recorded a single and triple in each of her at-bats. The senior second baseman also earned a walk and notched two RBIs. Her base hit in the first inning helped the Indians take a 1-0 lead and in the third inning she and fellow senior Olivia Peterson both notched RBIs to help the team go up three runs.
Sherman said that he has a lot of confidence in Carra and that he expects her to continue delivering big hits for Lake Central (5-1, 2-1). But in the midst of a standout performance, Sherman and the rest of the team had a moment in which they that her contributions may be put on hold.
In the sixth inning, Carra tagged out Crown Point senior Mallory McMahon, who was trying to steal second base. But as Carra lunged, she stepped awkwardly and went down with an apparent leg injury. The game was briefly delayed as Carra laid near first base. However, after a brief delay she got up and walked off of the field under her own power.
"Obviously we'd like to have her finish the game," Sherman said. "But it was a little tweak (to her knee). We should be okay."
In addition to Carra's strong outing, the Indians also received solid showings from both of their pitchers. Sophomore Peyton Pepkowski started the game and had six strikeouts in four innings, and she only allowed four hits, one walk and one run.
Sherman decided to bring in relief pitcher Jenna Towle to close out the last three innings, and she picked up right where Pepkowski left off. The senior gave up two hits and one earned run, but ended the game with two flyouts and a strikeout.
"Crown Point, they don't give up," Towle said. "They're known for coming back at the end of the game, so you gotta treat those last three innings like it's the first three innings. You just gotta throw hard every pitch because you're always thinking that they can come back at any time."
Towle also brought in two runs on a double in the fifth inning and notched a run of her own by stealing home to cap off Lake Central's collective effort against Crown Point (2-1, 2-1). The senior said she was pleased to come through for her team but added that her mindset will be the same as her coach moving forward.
"We met before this game, and we decided that this was nothing more than just another game," Towle said. "We're only six games in. We can't be treating it like it's a big, huge game. We've got a lot of conference play left. We've got a lot of season left."