Senior staff writer
Franklin Central’s softball season came to an end Saturday against Avon in the final game of the 4A semistate at Center Grove.
The Flashes had marched through the tournament by shutting out their first three opponents, capped by a regional championship May 31 at home against Bloomington North 5-0.
Franklin Central reached the semifinal nightcap Saturday by dominating Cathedral 12-3 with a 16-hit attack while senior pitchers Shelby Herron and Dani Wyse combined to hold the Irish (18-15) to five hits and three earned runs.
Wyse and Taytum Schaney each drove in three runs against Cathedral, and Wyse, Raegan Sparks and Elena Horen each had three hits.
The Flashes uncharacteristically committed three errors in each semistate game.
Against Avon in the title game, FC had seven hits but failed to score as the Orioles scored three runs in the second and added one more in the fifth. FC left the bases loaded in a fateful fifth inning.
Against Bloomington North, coach Kathy Stricker’s Flashes scored four runs with two outs in the first inning. Sparks doubled to score Herron and Schaney, and then Delaney Thompson and Sparks scored on a throwing error. Shortstop Claire Gilliland hit a solo home run for the final run in the third.
The Flashes ended with a 23-6 record, one of the best in the school’s history, as well as county, Conference Indiana, sectional and regional championships. They made the deepest playoff run of any Southside team this season and had hoped to reach the state finals for the third time.
The Flashes graduate nine seniors with most of them targeted to play softball in college: Horen, Thompson, Sparks, Herron, Wyse, Devon Raters, Taylor Wilson, Alaina Bayles, and Kayla Selzer.
FC expects the return of starters Gilliland, Hanna LaMar and Katie Back.