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MUNSTER — Lake Central's Rylee Platusic turned 18 on Tuesday.

There were no presents or cards or a pinata in the Indians dugout.

Times No. 3 Lake Central had a softball game at No. 5 Munster, no party.

Well, not at first anyway.

"I want tickets to Lollapalooza," Platusic said. "They're really expensive."

She didn't get those in the first inning of the game, but she may have gotten something better. A tip from teammate Jenna Towle, who was standing on second base in the top of the first at Cammunity Park.

Towle pointed to the outside. The pitch ended up there and Platusic launched a grand slam over the right-field fence.

Lake Central went on to win 8-4 against its neighborhood and sectional rival.

"I did see it," Platusic said of the location sign. "I knew where the pitch was going to be. It felt good off the bat."

Munster pitcher Dayton Elliott loaded the bases on two walks and an infield duck snort. The only ball hit hard was the homer. She only allowed one hit from the second through the fifth innings.

The Mustangs (1-1) scored a run on a groundout by Daija Williams in the first and scored two in the third on a Williams grounder and a single by Sara Mavity to get within one.

But with the No. 9, 1 and 2 hitters coming up in the bottom of the fifth, Lake Central ace Alexa Pinarski got a 1-2-3 frame to help turn the momentum. And in the top of the sixth Pinarski tripled home two to break the game open.

"It was great pitching with that early lead," Pinarski said of the Birthday Girl's granny. "It took the first-game pressure off. I'm always super nervous in the first game."

Towle scored two runs with one RBI. Pinarski had two RBIs and one run scored. And Selena Michko scored twice.

"After three weeks of practice it was nice to see someone else out there to play against," L.C. coach Jeff Sherman said. "We worked some counts early and Rylee just jumped on the first pitch she saw. That was great. And we did a nice job extending the lead later in the game.

"No one is better than making her team better from March to May than Beth (Thornburg). So if we see them in the sectional we know we'll probably see something different by then. So we have to keep working hard every day to get better, too."

Munster's Rebecca Radtke scored two runs, Williams had two RBIs and Mavity had two hits with a run scored and an RBI.

"You can't give free bases to good teams," Thornburg said. "We've got five seniors who I believe in, but we've got a lot of youth everywhere else. So we'll learn from this and keep working to get better."


Sports reporter

Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.