CP sweeps double-header with West Lafayette Harrison 2-0, 6-1 to finish regular season at 26-1, #1 state ranking

A USA-365 special report by Mark Smith


CP junior Alexis Holloway (24) aims for one of her 15 strikeouts in game one of
Saturday's double-header opener against (West Lafayette) Harrison. (All photos by Mark Smith)
CP's Miranda Elish (22) rounds third base to score on Morgan Matalin's third inning triple. giving CP a 1-0 lead.
CP first baseman Marie O'Malley (9) knows she'll be grabbing this throw and retiring Harrison's Syd Scott (9) in game two action at Crown Point Saturday.
Harrison sophomore Jade Johnson held down the high scoring Lady Bulldogs allowing just seven hits while recording eight strikeouts.
CP senior Morgan Matalin (10) lets coach Ginger Britton know she is quite happy with her third inning RBI triple in game one against Harrison Saturday.
CP baserunner Felecia Wacasey (17) and Harrison first baseman Olivia Stansbury watch the pitch during game two of the CP-Harrison double header. Crown Point finishes the regular season with a 26-1 record.
Crown Point's Miranda Elish (22) gets ready to take on a Harrison hitter Saturday on the final day of the regular season. Elish won her 14th games of the season.
CP third baseman Natalie Klingberg (15) forced out Harrison's Katie Switzer in game two of Saturday's double-header. CP has won at least 25 games for five years in a row.
CP junior second baseman Alexis Holloway (24) covers first to retire Harrison's Syd Scott (9) in game two action Saturday. CP won 2-0 and 6-1.
Crown Point first baseman Marie O'Malley (9) heads for home after launching a two-run homer off the center field wall to make the game two score 4-0 in the third inning.
Crown Point's 'Senior Night' was officially earlier in the week against Merrillville but the Bulldogs dugout honors the five seniors (Miranda Elish, Morgan Matalin, Felecia  Wacasey, Marie O'Malley and Andrea Kutemeier for the rest of the year. (All photos by Mark Smith)
On the home team bench, not everybody sits on the home team bench. Crown Point's Lydia Byrd (3), catcher Lexi Madrigal, MacKenzie Dunlap (6), Hannah Grady, Felecia Wacasey (17) Maggie Ballentine (in the shades) stand to watch the action in CP's final home double-header of the season.

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Revised: May 24, 2016.

Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Harrison (16-7) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
CROWN POINT (25-1)  0 0 2 0 0 0 - 2 7 0

Saturday, May 21, 2016 - Sunny, windy, 65-degrees (Game 1) in CROWN POINT, IN

WP - Alexis Holloway (12-0) CG, 15K, 0 walks
LP - Jade Johnson (6-4) CG, 8Ks, 1 walk

(West Lafayette) Harrison (16-7)
Syd Scott (LF) 0-for-3
Kate Switzer (3B) 0-for-2
Kenzie Rush (RF) 0-for-3
Olivia Stansbury (1B) 1-for-3, double
Jade Johnson (P) 0-for-2
Kaeley Hallada (C) 0-for-2
Katie Knox (2B) 0-for-2
Lilly Stichter (SS) 0-for-2
Peyton DeWitt (CF) 0-for-2

Miranda Elish (P) 1-for-2, double, walk
Morgan Matalin (RF) 1-for-3, triple, RBI
Alexis Holloway (2B) 1-for-3, triple, Sac Fly, RBI
Mac Kenzie Dunlap (SS) 0-for-3
Marie O'Malley (1B) 2-for-3, double
Natalie Klingberg (3B) 2-for-3
Lexi Madrigal (C) 0-for-1, HBP, sac bunt
Casey Hipp (DH) 0-for-2, sac bunt
Lydia Byrd (CF) 0-for-2

Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Harrison (16-8) 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 1
CROWN POINT (26-1)  0 0 4 0 2 0 - 6 8 2

Saturday, May 21, 2016 - Sunny, windy, 70-degrees (Game 2) in CROWN POINT, IN

WP - Miranda Elish (13-1) CG, 13K, 3 walks
LP - Peyton DeWitt (0-1) 0K, 1 walks (2.7 inn) 4 runs
Maren Fodera (Harrison) 1K, 3 walks (3.3 inn.)

(West Lafayette) Harrison (16-8)
Syd Scott (LF) 1-for-4
Kate Switzer (3B) 1-for-3, walk, RBI
Marin Fodera (P) 0-for-4,
Olivia Stansbury (1B) 0-for-2, walk
Kaeley Hallada (C) 1-for-3
Katie Knox (2B) 0-for-2, walk
Lilly Stichter (SS) 0-for-3
Jenny Phillips (RF) 0-for-1
Peyton DeWitt (P) 1-for-3

Miranda Elish (P) 1-for-2, double, walk
Morgan Matalin (RF) 1-for-3, triple, RBI
Alexis Holloway (2B) 1-for-3, triple, Sac Fly, RBI
Mac Kenzie Dunlap (SS) 0-for-3
Marie O'Malley (1B) 2-for-3, double
Natalie Klingberg (3B) 2-for-3
Lexi Madrigal (C) 0-for-1, HBP, sac bunt
Casey Hipp (DH) 0-for-2, sac bunt
Lydia Byrd (CF) 0-for-2

CROWN POINT (4A) Sectional 1
5-23-16 (Mon) Munster vs. Gary West Side
5-24 (Tu.) East Chicago vs. Lake Central - 4:30 p.m.
5-24 (Tu.) Morton vs. CROWN POINT - 6:30 p.m.
5-26 (Thu.) LOWELL vs. Munster - 4:30 p.m.
5-26 (Thu.) Lake Central vs. CROWN POINT - 6:3-p.m.
5-27 (Fri.) 4A Sectional 1 championship game - 6 p.m.

CROWN POINT, IN (5-21-2016) On the way to the parking lot, Harrison softball coach Brooke El Othmani said she was looking forward to a rematch with Crown Point's top-ranked Lady Bulldogs.

But you had to be there. It wasn't a "we're better than they are and next time we'll beat them" comment. It was more like, "I hope we play them again this year because we host the semistate and that would mean we got there," kind of remark.

Crown Point topped Harrison 2-0 and 6-1 Saturday in 70-degree sunshine at CP on the final day of the 2016 regular season. It was a lot closer than CP's 9-1, 10-1 double-header sweep at Harrison on the final day of the 2015 season, but the Raiders know that facing CP the last two seasons was catching them at the wrong time.

"You always hope to win," said Othmani. "You work as hard as you can to win. But when you go up against really top notch pitchers, you know it will be hard. I'm proud of our team. For the fight that they showed. We never gave up. But we were playing against a great team. Great pitchers. Great hitters. It was a really tough one out there for us today."

In game one, junior right-hander Alexis Holloway (12-0) won her 12th start in a row, striking out of 15 and allowing one double by Harrison freshman star Olivia Stansbury. Holloway's RBI double followed an RBI triple by senior Morgan Matalin in the third inning for the first game's only runs.

In the second game, CP (26-1) scored four times in the third inning capped of by a two-run homer from Marie O'Malley. Senior right-hander Miranda Elish (14-1), who shut out Marist (24-5) on Friday, struck out 13 Raiders, allowing just four hits and three walks.

Elish was 2-for-2 at the plate, upping her season batting average to a career best .516 (47 of 104). Catcher Lexi Madrigal (25 of 60, .357) was 3-for-3.

"I thought the day was really well," said coach Ginger Britton. "Good day. Our pitchers did well. Offensively, we put the ball in play a lot. And they put the ball in play, too, which is good for us to see. We made plays behind them (the pitchers) and the sectional will be played on this field, so that's good for us to do."

It was the final regular season game for the Lady Bulldogs, but they also plan on playing the sectional and regional at home, so the finality of this last regular season game wasn't obvious to anyone but the seniors.

"When coach said, 'it's a new season now,'" said Elish. "I thought 'Oh my gosh. It really is.'"

Miranda said she does not worry about facing a hitter she has never seen before.

"I just throw my pitches. Just throw what coach calls. You can't think about every hitter and what they do. You just have to treat everyone like they're the best hitter they have."

Elish said that pitchers don't get caught up in what a certain hitter has or hasn't done against them in the past.

"Sometimes you (look at past results)," she said. "But you can't go by that because that batter might have been in a slump when they faced you and this time it's different."

CP seniors Elish, Morgan Matalin, Marie O'Malley, Felecia Wacasey and Andrea Kutemeier are in their final hours of not only prep softball, but high school altogether. They all are well aware of it.

"I know," said Elish. "It's insane. I don't know how many more days we have, but it's gone past so fast. I can't believe it."

DOG NOTES: Crown Point has played a wide and varied schedule this year. Downers Grove South (29-3), which split a double-header with CP in early May, was 29-3 at the end of last week and is a combined 65-5 in the last two seasons. First baseman Caroline Hedgcock had 19 home runs. Michigan power Edwardsburg, which lost to CP 5-0 on April 30, was 27-4 with two games to play.

One of CP's biggest wins of the season was 4-0 Friday over Marist (25-5), the defending Class 4A state champ of Illinois. Righthander Miranda Elish allowed no runs, no hits and no walks, throwing just 85 pitches. Marie O'Malley, who finished the regular season with a .417 (30 of 72) batting average, had two singles and two RBIs.

Crown Point's only (and Elish's only) regular season loss was 4-1 to Downers Grove North on May 7. Marist defeated Downers Grove South 5-4 last June in the semifinals of the 2015 Illinois Class 4A state tournament.

At the end of the 2016 regular season, CP's Miranda Elish had a four-year record of 70-4, a CP record, very close to Brooke Baker's 73-7 from 2001 to 2004 at Lake Central. Like Elish, Lake Central didn't pitch Baker (now Andrean coach Brooke Baker Runyon) in the vast majority of games for all four years. Add CP's Alexis Holloway (30-2 in three seasons) and the Bulldogs' top two pitchers are 100-6.

Portage's Wendy Cannon was 91-10 from 1996 to 1999 and 91 career wins in the highest Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) total.

Whiting's Mel Dumezich (107-7 from 2006-2009) set a standard that probably won't be touched going forward as most teams now alternate two starting pitchers or use a No. 2 pitcher frequently in non-conference games.

Crown Point is 109-10 in the last four seasons and 84-5 in the last three years.

Harrison's Olivia Stansbury (29 of 76, .382) was 1-for-5 with a walk. A rare freshman cleanup hitter, Stansbury had 15 extra base hits in 24 games, including three home runs and 24 RBIs.

"She is a great player," said Othmani. "She started on the varsity basketball team. She's got an athletic mindset. Great teammate. Natural hitter."

Harrison (16-8) plays in the very tough Indianapolis Metro conference and Othmani was asked what's the toughest team she's seen this year.

"Other than Crown Point, right?" she said. "You mean. Other than Crown Point."

Crown Point hosts Merrillville in the Class 4A Sectional quarterfinals Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. If they win, they will face rival and defending regional champion Lake Central (23-7) Thursday night, May 26 at 6:30 p.m.

The weather will be a factor in the early starting games. After a season of playing in 45 wind chilled degrees cold, temperatures will rise into the 80s during sectional week.

Crown Point hosted Lake Central in the 2015 regional championship game, won by LC 2-1. Because CP has moved from sectional 2 to sectional 1 this season, CP can host the regional title game against if they win Sectional 1. Home field advantage alternates between numerically adjacent sectionals from year to year.

Crown Point ended the regional season at the top-ranked team in Class 4A for the second time in three seasons. In 2014, CP went 25-0 during the regular season and won sectional and regional titles before losing 2-0 to Huntington North in the semistate championship game.