'Senior Night' highlighted as nine seniors start
in Lady Bulldogs' 8-4 win over Valpo

A USA-365 special report by Mark Smith


Team (Record) / Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Valparaiso (14-7) 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 4 8 0
CROWN POINT (25-3) 0 0 4 4 0 0 - 8 11 2
CP senior pitcher Grace Lucks and her mom. (All photos by Mark Smith)
CP senior Marianna Serratos and her parents.
CP senior pitcher and designated hitter Madi Young with her dad and her mom.
CP senior shortstop Anna Holloway and her dad.
Crown Point senior catcher Gianna Fantin and her mom.
Crown Point pitcher/outfielder Madi Elish and her dad.
CP outfielder Emma Smiser and her mom and dad.
Crown Point second baseman Morgan Scott with her parents.
Crown Point first baseman Kaleigh Klingberg with her mom.
Apologies to Madi Elish who I couldn't fit into the Crown Point senior photo. The Lady Bulldogs have nine senior players.
Juniors Bo Turpin, Brinkley Kita, Audrey Williams, Gabrielle Serratos, Natalie Martinez and Sydney Meyer.
Crown Point sisters Gabriella (left) and Marianna Serratos have reason to be happy during their final season playing together. (All photos by Mark Smith)
Copyright © 2021 USA-365.com and Meyer Multimedia Services, a division of Meyer Broadcasting Corp.  All rights reserved.
Revised: May 26, 2021.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - Light rain and 60-degrees in CROWN POINT, IN

Valparaiso (14-7)
Paiton Illif (C) 1 of 3, walk
Maggie Etzler (SS) 2-of-2
Hannah Welch (3B) 1-for-4
Marley Nagy (CF) 1-for-4, RBI
Charlotte Dombrowski (P) 1-for-3, RBI
Deidre (DD) Lopez (DP) 1-for-3, double
Brooke Cornell (RF) 2-for-3, double, RBI
Bri Shudick (1B) 0-for-3
Melina Rodriguez (3B) 0-for-3

Aubrey Wroble (CF) 1-for-4, stolen base
Madi Elish (CF-P) 3-for-4, double, RBI
Anna Holloway (SS) 2-for-4, 2 RBIs, 2 stolen bases
Madi Young (DP) 1-for-3, RBI
Gianna Fantin (C) 1-for-3, double, stolen base
Kaleigh Klingberg (1B) 0-for-3
Morgan Scott (2B) 1-for-3
Grace Lucka (3B) 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBIs
Marianna Serratos (RF) 0-for-2, sac bunt

WP (starter) Madi Elish (11-1) 8K, 1 walk (6 inn.)
LP (starter) Charlotte Dombrowski (6-4) CG, 6K, 1 walk

CROWN POINT, IN (05-18-2021) The annual ‘Senior Night’ isn't so much about the final score and Crown Point’s 8-4 win over Valparaiso in a game played in a light rain was not what last Tuesday was all about.

Crown Point’s nine seniors all took the field for the final time and thoughts drifted from the moment in time to the last four years.

“It's crazy to think that I’m done,” said CP's Anna Holloway who, like Madi Elish and Madi Young, played as freshmen in 2017. “It has not sunk in just yet that it's over. I don’t really know if I can put it into words, to be honest. I walked in and everybody accepted me immediately. I’ve been blessed with a great group of girls every single year and a great coaching staff. It's helped me grow as a softball player and as a person.”

“It’s a bittersweet feeling. I’m definitely going to miss it and I’m sure I’ll look back on it a lot.”

CP had another state rated team in 2021 and they will be heavily favored in sectional play leading up to the expected ‘Brawl for it all’ the night of June 1 in the regional championship game against arch-rival and state-rated Lake Central.

But that wasn’t the focus on ‘Senior Night’ where it sinks in for the older kids that high school (in CP’s case, for nine players) is over.

One of the oddities about Crown Point softball the last 10 years is the time frames in which present day seniors Anna Holloway and Madi Elish have played (2017 to 2021) following the years that their older sisters, Alexis Holloway (2014 to 2017) and Miranda Elish (2013 to 2016) played. Alexis and Miranda were dominant first team all-staters, so Anna and Madi had to live up to the name on the back of their jerseys. Arguably, they did. It isn't unusual to have sisters follow each other into high school softball programs. It is unusual to have them spaced apart by age so that they span nine years and never play with each other. Not counting post-season play, Crown Point has a nearly impossible softball record of 221-27 for the years 2013 to 2021 and, with all due respect to all other coaches and players, the Elishs and Holloways were the driving forces.

“We’ve never really talked about it much,” said Anna. “We’ve always been around each other because Alexis and Miranda were playing. Madi and I grew up together. We’ve been friends since we were little. One of the things I’m going to miss the most (about graduating) is not playing with her anymore.”
“But there’s not much to say about it. It's ironic. There’s not a lot of stories where two sisters come to a place and then their two sisters go to the same place (three or four years later). For us, it’s a great story.”

Crown Point jumped to an 8-0 lead after four innings on Senior Night and Valpo (14-7) made a late run to close the gap with eight hits in the final three innings. Elish and Holloway were both 2-for-4 as was Gianna Fantin and Grace Lucka. CP finished with a 13-1 record in the Duneland Athletic Conference (DAC) which tied them with rival Lake Central (24-1) for the 2021 league championship.

But I’d be lying to say that the outcome of the game was the main focus of the rainy evening.

“'Senior Night’ is always hard,” said CP coach Angie Richwalski. “They’re always your babies. It's just that this year, there’s so many of them. I’ve watched them since they were freshmen. I remember Madi Elish throwing at Highland and I didn't know she was a freshman until the game was over.”

As someone who covers high school sports, I didn’t initially realize that when an athlete walks away after his or her final spring event, that’s most likely the last time I will ever see them. Not the last time I will see them play. The last time I will see them period.

Richwalski added, “It's probably the last time some of them will ever see each other.”

DOG NOTES: Senior Madi Young (4-1) struck out 11 and walked one in an 8-0 win over Michigan City on May 17. Young also drove in two runs and Anna Holloway (40 of 77, .519) was 4-for-5.

On May 19, CP ended the regular season with an 8-0 win over Lowell. Grace Lucka (6-1) pitched a no-hit game with 11 strike outs and one walk. Brinkley Kita (21 of 51, .412) lifted her seventh home run of the season.

Crown Point gets a first–round bye in the Crown Point Sectional and they will could meet Valparaiso again this Thursday night (May 27) in a 5 p.m. semifinal. The sectional championship game is set for Friday night (May 28) at 6 p.m.

CP coach Angie Richwalski started injured senior outfielder Emma Smiser in left field and let her stay in the field for two batters in the first inning. Smiser has a torn ACL and has not played since the first three games of the season.

“And we missed her,” Angie said. “She had three good games for us. She is very fast. As a freshman she ran track. She was a state finals runner in track. She decided that track was boring and that she wanted to play softball. She’ll get another chance to play.”
Smiser is going to Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan with Morgan Scott. Smiser, a left-handed slap hitter, played in just four varsity games her entire time at Crown Point.

2021 CROWN POINT (26-3, 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
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 (27-1)
May 1 (W) 15-1 (5 inn.) Edwardsburg, Mich. (18-8)
May 1 (L) 3-5 Chelsea, Mich. (26-3)

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 (14-7)
May 19 (W) 8-0 Lowell

CROWN POINT (4A) Sectional
At Crown Point High School
May 24 (Mon.) Valparaiso 15-2 over Chesterton – 5 p.m.
May 25 (Tue.) Hobart 4-1 over Portage – 5 p.m.
May 25 (Tue.) Lowell 9-0 over Michigan City – 7 p.m.
May 27 (Thur.) CROWN POINT vs. Valpo – 4:30 p.m.
May 27 (Thur.) Hobart vs. Lowell – 6:30 p.m.
May 28 (Fri.) Sectional 2 championship game – 6 p.m.

(the Sectional 2 winner here will on the road the night of Tuesday, June 1 for the regional championship game at Sectional 1 champ (probably Lake Central).