Chesterton Tribune



Trojan Softball beats Valpo for Sectional title

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When the IHSAA released the postseason softball draw this season, Chesterton senior Shelby Grimm paid attention to one particular potential sectional title opponent: Valparaiso.

That matchup came to fruition earlier this week when Chesterton knocked off Hobart and Portage, while Valparaiso dispatched Michigan City.

The Vikings struck first on Thursday afternoon, but the Trojans recovered to score five runs off four Valparaiso errors in the third inning on their way to a 6-2 victory.

Chesterton will travel to the winner of the Crown Point sectional on Tuesday evening in Regional action.

“There was some excitement when I saw Valparaiso could be our opponent,” Grimm said. “I know that we always play really well against them. It’s always one of our biggest games and we always are focused for them.”

The Trojans kept their focus despite Valparaiso jumping out to a quick 1-0 lead. Leadoff hitter Maya Seifert singled and then advanced to third off a wild pitch and an error. She later scored when Alex Burns delivered an RBI double.

Grimm got as far as third base in the first inning for the Trojans, but couldn’t score. The same happened to Micaela Iacovetti in the second inning, but Valparaiso pitcher Emily Glover once again got out of the jam.

The Trojans finally broke through in the third inning with five runs as Valparaiso’s defense fell apart. Chesterton’s first three batters reached via error before Lexi Benko delivered the first hit of the inning. By the time the damage was done, Chesterton’s first six batters reached base and five runs crossed the plate.

“When it’s Valparaiso and Chesterton, all bets are off,” Valparaiso coach Tracy Corneil said. “I thought we could win if we did three things. We needed good plate appearances and we needed to stay calm. We did both of those things. We also needed to play good defense and we didn’t do that.”

The Vikings got a run back in the fourth inning off a sacrifice fly, but that also started a stretch of 11 straight batters that Chesterton pitcher Lexi Benko retired to end the game. Benko also added a solo home run in the sixth inning for a little more insurance.

“You just have to act like it’s any other game,” Benko said. “It’s the championship, the Sectional and the adrenaline is going to be racing.”

The victory gives Chesterton its second straight sectional title and the 10th overall in program history. It was a subdued celebration after the game that was highlighted by Grimm going over to the Valparaiso team and asking them to join the Trojans for a postgame photograph.

There were lots of hugs and tears between the two rivals following the photograph.

“It was nice because people do see us as rivals,” Grimm said. “We all live close to each other and a lot of us are friends. People need to remember at the end of the day, it’s still just girls playing a game against one another.”

IHSAA Sectional


Chesterton 6, Valparaiso 2


Valparaiso 100 100 0 -- 2 5 5

Chesterton 005 010 x -- 6 7 0

2B -- Alex Burns, Emily Glover (V). HR -- Lexi Benko (C). Pitching Summary -- Valparaiso -- Glover (6 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 2 BB); Chesterton -- Benko (7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 4 SO). WP -- Lexi Benko. LP -- Emily Glover.



Posted 5/25/2018




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