Regional Champions: The Chesterton girls softball team won
its first Regional title and advanced to the state finals Friday night
against Center Grove in Indianapolis with a 1-0 victory over Lake Central
Saturday night at Merrillville. Pictured are, front row (l to r), Ashley
Scheerer, Katie Stahura, Megan Hawkins, Amber Paz, Brittany Richardson and
Ashley Thomas. Second row (l to r) are Kristin Mann, Ashley Aldridge, Misty
Bottos, Dani Dummel, Dawn McClellan, Lauren Wright and Julie Farmer. Back
row (l to r) are Assistant coach Dan Lynch, Laura Lange, Catie Armstrong,
Amanda Staff, Nikki Gamblin, Emma Lawson and Head coach LouAnn Hopson. Not
pictured is Alexis Paz.
(Tribune photo TR Harlan)
By TR HARLAN
It sure wasn’t easy to exorcise all those demons. But, the road to
Indianapolis finally moved east from Lake Central to Chesterton.
The Trojans advanced to the state finals for the first time in school
history with a gutty 1-0 victory over arch rival Lake Central Saturday night
in the Merrillville Regional final.
“I can’t,” Chesterton coach LouAnn Hopson said when asked to put the victory
in words. “Last year we left crying and I was annoyed with myself. I woke up
Sunday morning convinced I had cost us the game.”
One year removed from a 1-0 loss to LC in the same game, the Trojans “new
crew” of players got it done.
“This is just a great group of kids,” Hopson said. “We worked ourselves out
of trouble three times.”
The Trojans put the game’s only run on the board in the second inning when
Emma Lawson doubled to center field to lead off the frame.
“I had a bad game in the morning,” Lawson said. “I was just trying to
protect the plate. I just watched the ball and swung hard.”
Dawn McClellan’s bunt was mishandled and thrown away down the right field
line by LC pitcher Angie Funston and Lawson raced home.
“We were really loose before the game,” Hopson said. “We scored right away
and relaxed even more.”
McClellan cruised through the first two innings retiring all six batters she
faced with the use of her defense.
“I have the greatest middle infield,” McClellan said of shortstop Amber Paz
and second baseman Julie Farmer. “Amber and Julie kept me settled down and
just kept talking to me.”
LC threatened with back-to-back singles in the third, but didn’t score after
two popups and McClellan’s first strike out of the game. She finished with
five strike outs on the night.
The Trojans threatened themselves in the sixth but two out hits by Farmer
and Paz didn’t turn into a run.
“We knew what we had to do today because we were here last year,” McClellan
said. “It was always our goal to beat LC like this. They knew what I had.
This is the third time I’ve pitched against them so I just had to step up my
game 10 times more.”
She did just that in the sixth and seventh inning.
After Lake Central pitcher Angie Funston popped out to start the sixth,
Alyssa Duncan walked and Michele Nero singled to center field. A strike out
of Melissa Shofroth came before a solid single by Kate Golden to left field
loaded the bases.
McClellan worked out of the jam by getting Ashley Michalski to ground back
“Kristin (Mann) and coach called a great game,” McClellan said. “This is the
biggest win I’ve ever had.”
Things got even tighter in the seventh inning.
“There was pressure on everybody,” Hopson said. “Are we going to stand-up to
it or not?”
Allison Aguilera singled to start the seventh for LC. McClellan struck out
Rachel Weaver before an infield single by Sarah Shields put runners on first
and second. Funston singled deep in the hole at shortstop to load the bases
with one out.
Duncan came to the plate with an impressive resume. She had gotten the
game-winning hit in last year’s 1-0 victory for LC and hit a home run to win
the state championship game in 2003.
McClellan and Duncan battled through a 12-pitch at bat that included six
foul balls. McClellan would win the battle with a high fastball for the
“I had a lot of adrenelin,” McClellan said. “I just dug down deep.”
Nero watched as the first three pitches from McClellan missed the strike
“I realized things were getting smaller,” McClellan said. “I knew I just had
to throw a strike. Amber and Julie came in and calmed me down again.”
A called strike was followed by a ground ball to Brittany Richardson and
third base. She fielded it and fired across the diamond to Lawson to set off
“We had a little case of nerves out there,” Hopson said of the late LC
rally. “Dawn stuck it out and the defense made the plays.”
The Trojans will face off against Center Grove, a 1-0 winner over Carmel, on
Friday night at 7:30 Chesterton time. The game will be played at the Cherry
Tree Softball Complex in Carmel.
“We wanted to show everyone we could do it,” Lawson said. “We’re so excited.
We did this for our seniors.”
The other semifinal matches Kokomo against Martinsville beginning at 5:30
p.m. Chesterton time. The winners will face off for the state championship
on Saturday night at 6:30 Chesterton time.
Chesterton 010 000 0 – 1 4 1
Lake Central 000 000 0 – 0 6 1
2B—Emma Lawson (C); Kate Golden (LC). Pitching summary—Chesterton—Dawn
McClellan (7 IP, 6 H, 5 K, 1 BB); Lake Central—Angie Funston (7 IP, 4 H, 7
K, 1 BB). WP—McClellan (21-0). LP—Funston (17-4).
Chesterton 1, South Bend Riley 0
Katie Stahura’s single to right field in the second inning scored Dawn
McClellan with the game’s only run in Chesterton’s 1-0 victory over South
Bend Riley in Saturday morning Merrillville Regional semifinal.
McClellan singled up the middle with one out in the second and moved to
second base when Ashley Scheerer was hit by a pitch.
In the pitching circle, McClellan struck out nine and allowed just three
hits in picking up the victory.
Chesterton 010 000 0 – 1 4 0
South Bend Riley 000 000 0 – 0 3 2
Pitching summary—Chesterton—Dawn McClellan (7 IP, 3 H, 9 K, 2 BB); South
Bend Riley—Danielle Campbell (7 IP, 4 H, 6 K, 0 BB). WP—McClellan.