Lady Bulldogs rally in 7th inning to beat Valpo 5-3,
advance to beat Lowell in Sectional Title game 11-1

A USA-365 special report by Mark Smith

Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
CROWN POINT (28-3) 2 0 3 0 6 - - 11 9 1
LOWELL (14-14) 0 0 0 1 0 - - 1 3 4
Anna Holloway sizes up this ground ball in the sectional championship game. The Bulldogs never trailed in repeating as sectional champs. (All photos by Mark Smith)
CP catcher Gianna Fantin had three base hits in the sectional title game. Crown Point defeated Lowell for the second time this season.
CP's Anna Holloway heads for home after her first-inning home run. Holloway was intentionally walked the next three times up.
Lowell catcher Mackenzie Schwartz tags out CP's Emily Phillips at the plate in the fourth inning. Crown Point had 13 hits in the sectional championship game.
CP junior Brinkley Kita connects in the third inning against Lowell. Kita scored twice as CP won the Class 4A Sectional 2 championship.
Lowell junior Alee Eater grabs a third-inning pop up against Crown Point. Lowell reached the championship game with wins over Michigan City and Hobart.
The Crown Point bench celebrates as CP's Gianna Fantin scores on a third-inning base hit. CP led all the way in defeating Lowell.
It was photo time after the sectional win and Marianna Serratos and Madi Young spend quality time with the sectional championship trophy.
CP's nine 2021 seniors are Madi Young, Emma Smiser, Gianna Fantin, Morgan Scott, Madi Elish, Kaleigh Klingberg, Marianna Serratos, Anna Holloway and Grace Lucka.
Grace Lucka and Madi Elish are happy with the Bulldogs' sectional championship. Lucka, left and Elish combined for 20 pitching victories for CP this season.
CP athletic director Bill Dorulla hands out the sectional trophy and championship game ball to the Lady Bulldogs Saturday. Crown Point also won the sectional championship in 2019, the last year softball was played.
Crown Point's entire varsity posed for a team photo after their final game in Crown Point. CP (28-3) battles arch rival Lake Central (28-1) Tuesday, June 1 in the Lake Central Regional at 4:30 p.m. (All photos by Mark Smith)
Copyright © 2021 and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: June 04, 2021.

Saturday, May 29, 2021 - Sunny and 62-degrees, 4A Sectional 2 Championship in CROWN POINT, IN

Audrey Wroble (CF) 1-for-4. Run scored
Madi Elish (CF-P) 2-for-4, double, 2 runs scored
Anna Holloway (SS) 1-for-1, home run, 3 intentional walks, 3 runs scored, stolen base
Madi Young (DP) 0-for-4
Gianna Fantin (C) 3-for-4, double 2 runs scored, stolen base
Brinkley Kita (RF) 1-for-3, RBI, 2 runs scored, stolen base
Kaleigh Klingberg (1B) 0-for-2
Morgan Scott (2B) 1-for-3, 2 RBIs
Emily Phillips (3B) 1-for-1, HR, 3 RBIs, 2 walks

Lowell (14-14)
Carlye Walter (P) 1-for-3
Mackenzie Schwartz (C) 1-for-3
Alee Eaker (SS) 1-for-2, run scored
Bella Fuentes (CF) 0-for-1, HBP
Hailey Moore (1B) 0-for-2
Dana White (RF) 0-for-2
Morgan Hudgins (LF) 0-for-2
Payton Williams (3B) 0-for-2
Baelyn Carter (2B) 0-for-2

WP (CP) Madi Elish (13-1) 7K, 0 walks, CG
LP (L) Carlye Walter (10-7) 2K, 5 walks, CG

Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
CROWN POINT (27-3) 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 5 11 2
VALPARAISO (16-8) 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 3 7 2

Thursday, May 27, 2021 - Cloudy and 58-degrees, 4A Sectional Semifinal in CROWN POINT, IN


Audrey Wroble (CF) 1-for-4
Madi Elish (CF-P) 2-for-4, double, stolen base, 2 RBI
Anna Holloway (SS) 2-for-4, double, stolen base, RBI
Madi Young (DP) 1-for-4
Gianna Fantin (C) 1-for-3, run scored
Brinkley Kita (RF) 1-for-3, run scored
Kaleigh Klingberg (1B) 1-for-3, RBI, run scored
Grace Lucka (P-3B) 0-for-1
Sydney Meyer (PH) 1-for-2, RBI
Emily Phillips (3B) 1-for-3, run scored

Valparaiso (16-7)
Paiton Illif (C) 1 for 4, RBI, 2 runs scored
Maggie Etzler (SS) 1-for-4
Hannah Welch (3B) 0-for-3, walk
Marley Nagy (CF) 1-for-4
Charlotte Dombrowski (P) 0-for-3
Deidre (DD) Lopez (DP) 0-for-3
Brooke Cornell (RF) 2-for-3, double
Bri Shudick (1B) 0-for-2
Maddy Willis (LF) 2-for-3, double, run scored

WP (CP) Madi Elish (12-1) 3K, 0 walks (3.7 inn.)
(starter) Grace Lucka (CP) 7Ks, 1 walk, one earned run (3.3 inn.)
LP (starter) Charlotte Dombrowski (8-5) CG, 5K, 0 walks

CROWN POINT, IN (05-29-2021) ‘Everybody’ thought that state-ranked Crown Point would defeat Lowell in the Class 4A Sectional 2 championship game Saturday morning. But then again, ‘everybody’ thought they’d defeat Valparaiso in the semifinals.

Crown Point topped Lowell 11-1 in five innings. But the Valparaiso game wasn’t like that. In what looked for almost two hours like a major upset, the Vikings (16-8), which had lost twice to CP during the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) season, led 1-0 after one inning and then 3-0 after four innings.

Valpo and right-hander Charlotte Dombrowski (10-6) took a 3-1 lead to the seventh inning and it was 3-2 with two out and CP star Madi Elish at the plate, one out away from the end of the high school career of CP’s nine seniors.

”I feel like those situations are what a lot of people dream of being in,” Elish would say later in the dugout. ”I just thought this is something I’ve worked for my whole life. I really looked forward to going up there with two outs and it all on me.”

The left-handed hitting Elish boomed a long double to the left field fence, scoring Brinkley Kita and Emily Philips to put her side ahead 4-3. Teammate Anna Holloway pulled the next pitch into left field, scoring Elish and CP had enough to win 5-3.

“I knew I could do it,” Elish said, “because I’d worked hard for it and I was doing it for my team. They worked their butts off to get us to that point. It was a great game by both sides. The first two times, she (Dombrowski) was pitching me outside so the third time I decided to go with the outside pitch. I got up more on the plate and I got it on the first pitch. I just took it that way.”

It was not a shock that Elish, who has 46 hits in 96 at-bats in 31 games (.479) came though for CP. But she was the sixth batter of the seventh inning.

It looked like Crown Point’s season would end without Elish, who bats second and Holloway, who bats third getting a fourth at-bat and a last chance to save the rainy, cloudy day.

“It's amazing,” said coach Angie Richwalski. “If anybody’s going to do it, it was those two (Elish and Holloway). She (Elish) was going to do something. We just needed to get to them in the order.”

Crown Point (28-3) didn’t play badly. Valparaiso (16-8) played well. In the first inning, CP’s Audrey Wroble doubled to left and stole third base. Elish hit a slicing line drive to left field that Maddy Willis made a diving catch on in a light rain. Willis then jumped up and threw out Wroble at the plate. Valparaiso’s Paiton Illif hit CP starter Grace Lucka’s first pitch for a home run and a 1-0 Valpo lead. The Vikings led 3-0 in the fourth inning after Maggie Etzler’s hard smash went off the glove of CP third baseman Emily Phillips, allowing Bri Shudick and Willis to score.

Richwalski thought her team was tight, with all but four seniors playing in their first-ever post-season game.

“With some of our younger players, this was their first do-or-die game,” she said, “and it showed. We were a little nervous at the plate. I thought we’d get a little more run production than we did. But we came though at the end and that’s all that matters.”

Against Lowell, Holloway's two-run homer began the scoring in the first inning. Gianna Fantin’s RBI double and Brinkley Kita’s RBI single keyed a three-run third inning. A two-run error and CP third baseman Emily Phillips’ three-run homer sparked a six-run CP fifth inning that created the 11-1 final score.

Crown Point advances to their third meeting with arch-rival Lake Central in a Tuesday night regional championship game at LC.

The two teams have split their two Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) matchups with LC winning 4-2 in April and CP winning 5-0 in May in Crown Point. CP will face undefeated Peyton Pepkowksi (19-0) who has 189 strikeouts (and just five walks) in 112 innings and has allowed only four earned runs all season.

DOG NOTES: In the Sectional 2 championship game against Lowell, senior Gianna Fantin went 3-for-4 and scored two times. Emily Phillips hit her fourth home run in 31 games and Anna Holloway hit her sixth home run.

Holloway, who has 46 hits in 89 at-bats in 31 games (.517), was intentionally walked three times after hitting the homer, an opposite field stroke to right center field in the first inning.

“I don’t know,” Anna said. “We played them in the scrimmage and we played them in the last regular season game. I don’t know.”

Holloway framed the sectional as a new beginning.

“I always think that post-season is like starting a new season,” Anna said. “How you played during the regular season doesn’t really matter if you don’t show up in the post-season, so you have to put everything into every game no matter who you’re playing.”

I like to think that if everyone goes out and does their best that one person can affect the outcome of the game. You have to get there collectively.”

Morgan Scott thought the fact that CP has been such a consistent winner the last few years, helped them when they trailed late in the game against Valparaiso.

“It gives us a lot of energy. The other day against Valparaiso, we came off a little timid. But then in the seventh, we wanted it more and we went out and got it. When we get to Lake Central, we’re going to give it all we have.”

Gianna Fantin, who was named to the all-DAC team this spring, had her best day of the season with 3-for-4 and four hard hit balls.

“It was so exciting,” she said “I felt my bat was hot. Everybody was so excited. It was such a good game.”

Gianna thought that the weather conditions bothered her team in the semifinals.

“I thought that the weather had something to do with it. The rain. But when we came through in the seventh inning, that energy carried right over to today.”

Fantin said that every player has to think they can be the difference in a big game like the regional against Lake Central.

“Even if it's the smallest play, it can have a big impact,” she said. “ It could change the energy of the game. I’m excited to play them again.”

Crown Point’s 28 wins are two short of the school record 30 wins in 2017. There was no high school softball in 2020 and CP was 29-5 in 2019.

2021 CROWN POINT (28-4, 13-1 DAC)
Coach Angie Richwalski (1st year)
29-5 in 2019, 25-6 in 2018, 30-2 in 2017, 28-2 in 2016, 29-3 in 2015, 29-1 in 2014
Duneland Athletic Conference games in CAPS
All games begin at 4:30 p.m. CDT unless otherwise indicated

April 3 (W) 6-0 at Andrean
April 6 (W) 13-0 (5 inn.) MICHIGAN CITY
April 7 (W) 5-2 PORTAGE
April 8 (W) 3-2 Munster
April 13 (W) 9-1 at CHESTERTON
April 14 (L) 2-4 at LAKE CENTRAL (25-1)
April 16 (W) 5-1 at Penn
April 17 (W) 2-1 (10 inn.) Hamilton Southeastern (9-12)
April 17 (W) 12-2 (6 inn.) at (West Lafayette) Harrison (16-7)
April 21 (W) 7-4 at VALPARAISO (16-8)
April 22 (W) 6-0 LaPORTE
April 23 (W) 15-1 (5 inn.) MICHIGAN CITY
April 22 (Th) at Hanover Central (cancelled)
April 27 (W) 21-0 (5 inn.) at MERRILLVILLE
April 28 (W) 13-0 (5 inn.) at PORTAGE

Lakeshore Invitational at Stevensville, (Michigan) times are not certain

May 1 (W) 3-1 (Stevensville, Michigan) Lakeshore (35-1)
May 1 (W) 15-1 (5 inn.) Edwardsburg, Mich. (21-8)
May 1 (L) 3-5 Chelsea, Mich. (30-3)

May 4 (W) 5-0 at CHESTERTON
May 5 (W) 5-0 LAKE CENTRAL (25-1)
May 8 (W) 6-2 Boone Grove (16-8-1)
May 8 (W) 16-9 (5 inn.) New Prairie
May 10 (W) 3-0 at Kankakee Valley (13-9)
May 12 (W) 11-7 at LaPORTE
May 13 (L) 2-7 (Chicago) Marist (24-1)
May 15 (W) 4-0 Carmel (13-12)
May 15 (W) 11-1 (5 innings) Carmel (13-12)
May 17 (W) 8-0 at MICHIGAN CITY
May 18 (W) 8-4 VALPARAISO (16-8)
May 19 (W) 8-0 Lowell

CROWN POINT (4A) Sectional
At Crown Point high school

May 24 (Mon.) Valparaiso 15, Chesterton 2
May 25 (Tues.) Hobart 4, Portage 1
May 25 (Tues) Lowell 9, Michigan City 0.
May 26 - CROWN POINT 5, Valparaiso 3
May 26 (W) Lowell 6, Hobart 2
May 29 (Sat) CROWN POINT 11, Lowell 1 (5 inn.)

At Lake Central high school, June 1
June 1 (Tues) 4A No. 4 CROWN POINT (28-3) at 4A No. 3 LC (28-1) - 4:30 p.m.
Final: Lake Central 3, Crown Point 1

Harrison (4A) Semi-state
At Harrison high school, West Lafayette, June 5
June 5 (Sat) LC-CP winner vs. Columbia City (24-6)-Northrup (23-3) winner – 11 a.m.
June 5 (Sat) Northridge (25-3)-Penn (19-11) winner vs. Harrison (21-7) -4A No. 12 Noblesville (24-5) winner – 1 p.m.
June 5 (Sat) Harrison semistate championship – 7 p.m.