MISHAWAKA — Entering Monday night’s softball sectional matchup with Penn, La Porte knew it had to play almost flawlessly.
For the first three-plus innings, the Slicers went toe to toe with the defending sectional champions, trailing only 2-1.
From there, however, the Kingsmen flexed their collective muscles, scoring 12 combined runs in the fourth and fifth innings, including Addy Kois’ 4-for-4 night, sending La Porte to a season-ending, 14-1, five-inning loss to Penn in a Class 4A Mishawaka Sectional opener at Ward Baker Park.
“We came out ready to play, we came out ready to win,” La Porte coach Ryan Sosinski said. “It just slipped away there in the end. That was their third time seeing (pitcher) Regan (Hague). I was hoping their third time seeing Regan would have came in the sixth inning. When you see a pitcher three times, you can start to get her timed up a little bit.”
The Kingsmen tallied six runs apiece in the fourth and fifth, turning a close contest into a rout versus the Slicers (16-13).
In the fourth, they capitalized on third baseman Morgan Keen’s throwing error to plate the first run of the inning. Later, Mackenzie Griman hit an RBI double to right center field, and Kois followed with an RBI single to left. Ryleigh Langwell then homered to left to make it 8-1.
Kois led Penn (20-6) with a double, a homer and six RBI. She also notched the win, throwing five innings of one-run ball, allowing a mere two hits. Kois (6-0) struck out six and walked a pair. She sealed the mercy-rule victory with a grand slam to left in the fifth.
“Addy had a phenomenal night, both in the circle and offensively for us,” Penn coach Beth Zachary said. “And to end it like that with a grand slam to finish the game, it’s pretty cool for a sophomore.”
Madeline Calvin also hit a two-run home run in the fifth.
La Porte’s defense made a couple costly miscues as well, recording three errors.
“We made a few mistakes and gave them a few runs here and there,” Sosinski said. “Those have kind of hurt us all year.”
Hague took the loss, allowing all of the runs, seven earned, on 12 hits. The sophomore left-hander fanned one and walked four, but had just one walk in the first four innings.
Penn pushed a run across in the first. Kois hit a fly ball that fell just in front of La Porte diving center fielder Emily Samuelson, as the ball was initially in her glove, but fell out as she hit the ground. That made it 1-0 after one inning.
La Porte answered in the top of the second. Sophie Sorg belted her first prep home run, a solo blast to left.
“It was a big shot by her,” Sosinski said. “She’s been hitting well all year. She was surprised she hit it. She rounded first base and when she looked at me I don’t think she believed it went out. I’m like, ‘Yeah, keep going, it’s gone.’”
In the third, the Kingsmen pounced on an error to go ahead 2-1. Griman, who singled, later moved to third on catcher Nola Hammerschmidt’s throwing error trying to pick off Griman. She then scored on Langwell’s sacrifice fly to center.
La Porte had a chance to tie it in the fourth, as Shelby Linn doubled to right, but she was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple for the first out.
The Slicers, who finished with at least 16 wins for the second straight year, lose two seniors to graduation, Samuelson and Megan Reed.
“I just told them, ‘We’re going to miss them a lot,’” Sosinski said. “‘They’re two great kids. They’re going to be very, very successful in life. They’re always welcomed back to this program. They’ve been leaders for us and they’ve been willing to do what we’ve asked of them all year.’”
Penn meets South Bend Adams in a semifinal at 4 p.m. Wednesday. The Eagles drubbed South Bend Riley 23-1 in Monday’s opener.
Class 4A Mishawaka Sectional
Penn 14, La Porte 1 (5 innings)
The Slicers’ Sophie Sorg hit her first prep homer.