Senior staff writer
Center Grove and Roncalli are among the highly regarded 4A teams in the state as the new softball season gets underway.
Even with only two seniors among several returnees, Center Grove appears primed to make another run at a state championship after falling one win short of reaching the title game last year. Coach Russ Milligan’s Trojans won 28 games last year.
Roncalli graduated only two seniors and returns to the diamond with 10 letter winners.
Most Southside teams are reloading as the season gets into full swing next week when Beech Grove, Greenwood, Lutheran and Manual see their first taste of action.
Last week, Roncalli edged Martinsville 2-1 in eight innings. After seven scoreless innings, Scout Leffler and Sam Curtis each drove in a run. The Rebels defeated Ritter 10-0 in five innings in their second home game.
Perry Meridian opened with some hot bats as the Falcons beat Pike 18-0 in five innings with a 13-hit attack. The Falcons and Southport could be considered dark horses when the state tournament begin.
Greenwood Christian could surprise in 1A.
Top seniors to watch include Center Grove shortstop and Miss Indiana Softball candidate Jordyn Rudd, Perry Meridian catcher Makiah Thomas, Roncalli’s Lauren Fey and pitcher Jordan Jenkins, Beech Grove’s Reecie Gilliam, Greenwood Christian Academy’s Amelia Walters and Grace Apgar, Lutheran’s Katie Hopkins and junior pitchers Abby Herbst and Katie Back, also a good hitter, of Center Grove.
The team-by-team outlook (with 2017 won-lost record and statistics):
Center Grove plans to keep rolling
Franklin Central has ingredients for another strong year
Greenwood to play small and add up runs
Perry Meridian hopes to keep the offense going
Roncalli returns plenty of talent
Southport aims to improve off .500 season
Beech Grove expects more with older team
Manual has goal for a winning season
Cougars seeking next step
Saints prepare for postseason with loaded schedule