Senior staff writer
Defending Marion County softball champion Franklin Central enters this year’s tourney as a slim favorite with a strong possibility of a rematch of last year’s title game against rival Roncalli.
The Flashes (4A No. 15) are among three state-ranked teams from the Southside, including Roncalli with a 4A No. 8 ranking and Lutheran, Class A No. 11.
Franklin Central had 16 hits and dominated Roncalli 10-4 in last year’s championship game. The Flashes defeated Roncalli 12-2 April 26 to end the Rebels’ six-game winning streak.
FC coach Kathy Stricker’s team was paced by Taylor Schaney, three hits, four RBIs; Nicole Austin, two hits, three RBIs; and Mariah Jenkins, three hits, two RBIs. The Flashes are hitting .368 as a team with eight players batting .300 or better, topped by Schaney .492, Katie Back .480, and Jenkins .434. FC has slammed 14 home runs this season.
The Flashes are in the upper bracket, while Roncalli is in the lower bracket.
The Rebels have a difficult path with the possibility of facing 4A No. 16 Decatur Central in the quarterfinals.
First-round games are Friday night at eight different sites. The winners advance to Ben Davis for quarterfinals and semifinals Saturday. The championship game is Monday at 6 p.m., also at Ben Davis.
The pairings: Friday – Game 1, Franklin Central (11-4) at Lawrence Central (8-6); G2, Southport (7-6) at Beech Grove (2-8); G3, Speedway (4-7) at Brebeuf (0-6); G4, Ben Davis (3-11) at Lutheran (7-9); G5, Pike (0-11) at Roncalli (12-3); G6, Lawrence North (5-7) at Decatur Central (14-2); G7, Park Tudor (forfeit) vs. Warren Central (6-12); G8, North Central (5-12) at Perry Meridian (4-10). Saturday, 10 a.m., at Ben Davis – G9, G1 vs. G2 winners; G10, G3 vs. G4 winners; G 11, G5 vs. G6 winners; G 12, Warren Central vs. G8 winner. Semifinals, 12 noon, G9 vs. G10 winners; G11 vs. G12 winners. Monday, 6 p.m., at Ben Davis.
The county baseball tourney also opens Friday in a wide-open tourney that features only one ranked team (3A No. 11 Brebeuf) with reigning 4A state champion Roncalli, Lutheran and Perry Meridian among only seven teams with winning records (through April 29).
The pairings: Friday, 5:30 p.m. – G1, Lawrence North (9-8) at Franklin Central (3-11); G2, Southport (4-9) at Ben Davis (7-4); G3, Lawrence Central (8-9) at Decatur Central (10-7); G4, Pike (4-9) at Brebeuf (6-11); G5, Lutheran (6-4) at Speedway (6-6); G6, Warren Central (6-4) at Perry Meridian (8-7); G7, North Central (9-4) at Park Tudor (1-8). Saturday, 10 a.m. – G9, G1 vs. G2 winners at Ben Davis; G10, G3 vs. G4 winners at Decatur Central; G11, G5 vs. G6 winners at Perry Meridian; G12, G7 vs. G8 winners at Lutheran. Saturday, 2 p.m. – G13, G9 vs. G10 winners at Decatur Central; G14, G11 vs. B12 winners at Roncalli. May 15, title game at Victory Field, follows city championship at 5 p.m.