One big blast
La PORTE — La Porte only got out-hit by one on Wednesday.
But that ‘one’ proved to be the difference.
Even though the Slicers got out-hit just 7-6, they allowed a three-run home run to Maddie Snemis.
Besides that blast, Lexi Benko pitched a complete-game shutout, resulting in La Porte’s 3-0 Duneland Athletic Conference softball loss to visiting Chesterton in very cold, rainy conditions.
“They got timely hitting, it came at the right time,” first-year Slicers’ coach Ryan Sosinski said. “We had to struggle to put it all together. We get maybe one hit an inning, and then, we couldn’t get that runner over. That was the key. We just couldn’t capitalize.”
Snemis delivered the big blow of the day for the Trojans (7-2, 4-2 DAC), a three-run homer to center field in the third inning.
It happened with two strikes, on a 2-2 count, and came a few batters after La Porte (4-4, 3-4 DAC) dropped a little foul popup on the third-base side. Snemis’ home run was the only scoring in the game. She drove in Cassidy Grimm and Faith Matta, who reached on an infield hit and a bunt hit.
On the other side, the Slicers didn’t have many base runners, as Benko didn’t issue a walk, and Chesterton had a mere one error.
Three of La Porte’s base runners advanced to second base, though.
In the fourth, the Slicers’ Rylee Penziol and Avery Wolfenbarger both singled. And Shelby Linn ripped a hit to deep center, but Chesterton center fielder Kari LaFreniere made an excellent running catch by the wall for the third out of the inning. That saved at least two runs, and preserved her team’s 3-0 lead.
La Porte threatened again in the sixth.
Penziol started the rally with a base hit to center, and Megan Reed hit into a fielder’s choice. But she reached second when the shortstop’s throw to first attempting a double play was errant. Reed’s courtesy runner, Kirsta Greer, was later thrown out at the plate by LaFreniere after Wolfenbarger’s single to center. That ended that threat.
Benko then retired the Slicers in order in the seventh.
Wolfenbarger was the tough-luck loser for La Porte.
The senior right-hander surrendered three runs, all unearned, on seven hits in seven innings. She finished with five strikeouts and a pair of walks. Both of Wolfenbarger’s walks came with two outs in the seventh.
“She was very dominant,” Sosinski said of his ace. “Other than the home run, she completely shut them down. We could still be playing right now in a 0-0 ball game in extra innings, if not for that one homer. She was awesome today.”
For the Trojans, Benko went the distance to notch the victory.
She gave up no runs, scattering six hits in seven innings. Benko fanned six and walked none.
“She was mixing it up pretty well, getting us up on our front foot,” Sosinski said. “We’ve got to work on sitting and waiting for the change-up. She had a good mix of speeds and kept us off balance.”
Penziol and Wolfenbarger guided the Slicers offensively, going 2 for 3 apiece.
There was some rain for the second part of the game, and the temperature was between a frigid 35 to 40 degrees.
Despite the setback, Sosinski was proud to see his squad battle against a formidable DAC opponent to close the first half of the conference schedule.
“They can see we can fight at the top of this conference,” Sosinski said. “I told them, ‘We’re like an inch away, we’re a couple of plays away from being up there in the top 3.’ Hopefully, they took that away. Hopefully, we have a lot of confidence for the second time through.”
CHESTERTON 3, La PORTE 0
WP — Benko (7 IP, 0 R, 6 H, 6 SO, 0 BB). LP — Wolfenbarger (7 IP, 3 R, 0 ER, 5 SO, 2 BB). 2B — Iacovetti. HR — Snemis. SB — SGrimm, Stevenson, CGrimm, Matta. SAC — Linn. RBI — Snemis (3).
Records: (Chesterton 7-2, 4-2 DAC, La Porte 4-4, 3-4 DAC).