By Kyle Koso
AURORA – This is in no way, shape or form a joke – Knock, Knock!
Yes, two powerfully launched home runs from Sophia Knock accounted for five runs for the 16u Indiana Magic Gold squad on Tuesday afternoon, and all the production was ultimately needed as the Magic held off the Lady Dukes Lamar/Lynch by a score of 11-9 at Horseshoe Park in the opening day of 16u Power Pool action at the Colorado 4th of July tournament.
Ava Sullivan added a three-run blast in the third inning, and starting pitcher Kylie Eads survived a rocky dismount as the Magic (Bloomington, IN) went 2-0 overall to earn a spot in the winner’s half of one of Friday’s brackets. Kaitlyn Gwin added two hits and two RBI, and Natalie Burns reached base three times and scored three runs.
Knock’s home runs helped pad the lead early; the Lady Dukes (Cary, NC) had jumped to a 1-0 lead on a first-inning home run from Alexis Morgan.
“It shows us how important it is to stay together and not show any weakness,” Knock said. “You have to work together to get the outs you need to win the game. It feels great to (contribute); I want to help out my team and get us in the right spot where we need to be.”
The Magic stormed to an 11-2 lead, with Eads (a University of Southern Indiana commit) asked to stay in the circle and stay in the fight as one of just two starters on the roster. Head coach Misty Boteler and her squad did their best to elevate Eads’ mood when the Lady Dukes scored six runs in the fifth, and the pitcher came through in the sixth, getting three straight outs after Morgan hit another solo homer.
“You need to know you can’t assume you’ll always end up winning, You have to take advantage of your situations – that team almost came back and got us, and you have to respect the other team,” said Sullivan, who had grounded out into a double play in the at-bat before her home run. “I was feeling good, I’d already hit two home runs (earlier Tuesday), and I hit into the double play. I said, no big deal. Second at-bat, let’s just wait on it a bit, and I hit another home run.
“I’m proud of how (Eads) finished. She came through her frustrations, and that’s what we needed from her. That’s why we won the game.”
“We told her we had confidence,” Boteler said. “We proved it on the field and at the plate as well. She’s a workhorse and got it done.
“It’s all about our game plan, which is about attacking, go big and go hard, don’t back down. Our first two opponents are probably two of the best teams we’ll see, nothing against anyone else. It’s quality competition, and a great way to start. We wanted to come out here and set the tone, understand we are here to play.”
Morgan also doubled for the Lady Dukes and scored three runs overall. Briyana Wright hit a grand slam in the fifth; Raylee Leiman had two doubles, scoring a run and driving in another.