After over 70 hours worth of delays spread over four days, the 4A title game finally concluded on Tuesday with No. 9 Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers) toppling Terre Haute North 3-1 for its second state championship (2007).
"It’s an unbelievable feeling," said Hamilton Southeastern coach David Cook. "(The players) have worked really hard and they deserved this. ... It was worth the wait."
The game barely got underway on Saturday when it was called due to inclement weather. It resumed on Monday, but only got through three more innings, with each team scoring a run in the fourth inning, but was postponed again when storms rolled back in. When the teams took the field once more on Tuesday, Hamilton Southeastern came out sharp.
"When we restarted the game, they got on base quickly, but I was proud of how we managed to get out of the jam (in the fourth inning)," said Cook. "The key (to the win) was coming out strong in the fifth. We jumped on some pitches and scored two runs to put it away."
The Royals’ Taylor Rager drilled a double into left field in the top of the fifth inning, bringing home Jenna Abraham for the go-ahead run. Freshman Alyssa Buchanan drove in the second run with a single in the fifth inning, giving the Royals enough of a cushion to ride out the next two-and-a-half innings.
Abraham went 2 for 3 from the plate, while Rager and Buchanan both went 2 for 4. Rager also got the win as the pitcher, allowing just one run on six hits in seven innings and striking out five Patriots. Marlee Yeager was the only Patriot with more than one hit, going 2 for 3 from the plate. Catcher Kelsey Coffey went 1 for 3 and had Terre Haute North’s lone RBI.
The Royals finished the season 27-4, while the Patriots ended their season at 27-9.
Fort Wayne Dwenger wins first 3A title
In one of the wildest games in recent finals memory, Bishop Dwenger (Fort Wayne) managed to overcome a six-run deficit and earn its first softball title with a 9-8 win over Boonville.
Boonville, which has been to the 3A championship game four of the past five years, built up a 7-1 lead after four innings. Dwenger came storming back behind a three-run home run from Andrea Filler. The Saints scored twice more in the fifth, once in the sixth, and posted a pair of seventh-inning runs to take the lead for the final time.
Dwenger tied the 3A finals record for hits in a game (15), led by Elaine Rorick, who tied a finals record by going 4 for 4 from the plate to go along with two RBI. Ashley Burkhardt went 3 for 4 from the plate with an RBI. Filler led the Saints with three RBI and also got the win by pitching six innings and allowing just one earned run.
Boonville got a strong 2-for-3, three-RBI performance from third baseman Alex Childress and a 2-for-4, two-RBI showing from catcher Samantha Saltzman.
Dwenger finished its season at 27-2 while Boonville went 34-2.
Wheeler clamps down for first 2A title
Just a couple of months after winning its first boys basketball state championship, the Wheeler (Valparaiso) softball team pulled off an equally impressive feat: knocking off powerhouse Linton-Stockton 8-7 for its first title. The Miners were undefeated coming into the final game and finished as the 2A runner-up last season.
Wheeler scored seven combined runs in the third and fourth innings, but both team were shut out from that point on, and the Bearcats clung to their one-run lead over the last three-and-a-half innings.
Wheeler (31-2) catcher Mackenzie Ness went 2 for 3 from the plate with two RBI, white shortstop Marcy Medina went 2 for 5 with two RBI. Miners (26-1) Katie West, Savannah Mason, and Courtney Barnes each had two hits in the game, while centerfielder Joie Gadberry went 1 for 3 with three RBI.
Riverton Park scores early, holds on for Class A title
In perhaps the most surprising outcome of all the state championship games, No. 2 Riverton Parke (Montezuma) took home its first state championship with a 1-0 win over No. 1 Indianapolis Lutheran.
Freshman Sarah Dickey blasted a triple for the Panthers in the top of the first inning and was brought home by junior Ashley Kinne with a single. The Saints, who had outscored their opponents 53-2 in their five previous postseason games this year, managed just two hits in the entire game.
Pitcher Haley Chambers improved to 21-1 on the season, earning the complete-game win and striking out seven Saints. Lutheran’s Morgan Lewis (29-2) fanned 13 batters in the loss. Lewis’ career, which included four straight state finals appearances, one title and the 2009-10 Gatorade Player of the Year award for Indiana, closed with her receiving the Class A Mental Attitude Award.
No. 1 Indianapolis Cathedral (31-1) topped Bloomington South (26-5) 1-0 to advance to the 4A state finals for the first time since winning the title in 2007. Junior Dillon Peters, a Texas recruit, struck out 15 batters and recorded the only hit for the Irish. Cathedral will play Fort Wayne Carroll (25-6) in the finals.
Defending 2A champion Heritage Christian (Dyer) (26-10) will return to the state final after knocking off Providence (Clarksville) 7-2. Senior pitcher David Ledbetter led the way for the Eagles, striking out 10 batters and going 2 for 4 from the plate with two RBI. Before the seventh inning of the contest, Ledbetter had pitched 29 consecutive scoreless innings. Heritage Christian will take on Delphi (26-7) in the state finals.