Senior staff writer
Franklin Central’s softball team has scored 104 runs in 15 games this season.
Their coach, veteran Kathy Stricker, wishes the Flashes (10-5) had scored more points at the right time. “The kids are hitting the ball well, but we have had moments when we’re not hitting very well,” she said. “We may get several hits in some situations, but we have times when we come back and only get a couple of runs when we need more than that.”
Franklin Central has an impressive .360 team batting average and a 1.66 earned run average. While two of their losses are against ranked teams, the Flashes have defeated four ranked squads. After dropping their first two games, the Flashes have won 10-of-13 and are No. 8 among 4A teams.
Franklin Central remained unbeaten in three Conference Indiana games after defeating county rival Southport 6-0 April 28 at Holder Field in a tune-up for the Marion County tourney, which begins Friday at six sites.
“We left too many on base; it’s a different score if we push those runners around,” Stricker said. “We’re coming off a good week, so I’m confident we’ll get it put together.”
The Flashes left nine runners stranded against Southport, including runners on second and third in the first and the leadoff batter in the third.
FC scored four runs in the second on senior Dani Wyse’s two-run homer and junior Claire Gilliland’s two-run double.
The Flashes are led by Gilliland (.515, 16 RBIs), Elana Horen (.490, 25 hits), Delaney Thompson (.455, 21 hits) and Taylor Wilson (.396, 13 RBIs). Wyse (3-1) shut out Southport on only three hits. Shelby Herron is the leading pitcher, 5-2, 1.06 ERA.
The Flashes, No. 4 Roncalli (10-2) and 1A No. 9 Lutheran (9-5) are the ranked teams in the tourney. Opening games find FC at North Central (1-12) at 6 p.m. and Roncalli at Warren Central (4-11) and Lutheran at Beech Grove (3-6), each at 5:30 p.m. Pike (1-9) visits Southport (2-10) at Holder Field, and Perry Meridian (9-5) is at Park Tudor at 5:30 p.m.
The tourney moves to the Ben Davis complex Saturday with four contests at 10 a.m. and the semifinals at 2 p.m. The championship game is Monday at 6 p.m., also at Ben Davis.
Southport coach Scott Montgomery said he is looking for a wide open tourney and is optimistic about his Cardinals with a speedy lineup. Southport has won two games of its last four outings after losing its first eight contests. The Cards’ mound corps has been bolstered by sophomore Abby Pendleton up from junior varsity.
“We have played well lately, especially defensively,” Montgomery said. “I feel like we got a really good draw in the county.”
Roncalli, based on rankings, are a favorite to snatch the tourney and is in the same bracket as Lutheran.
With the Rebels and Franklin Central in opposite brackets, an all-Southside finale is a strong possibility.
Hitting a solid .369, the Rebels are led by sophomore Scout Leffler (.526) and seniors Mallory Marsicek (429, 18 RBIs), Olivia Hoffman (.410, 16 hits) and Taylor Shull (.395, 17 hits). Marsicek leads the pitching staff with a 7-2 record and a 2.00 ERA.
“The Marion County tourney is unmatched in the state,” Stricker contends. “There always are good teams from top to bottom, so it is a real challenge for any team to win it all.”
County baseball tourney
Four Southside baseball teams open the Marion County tourney at home, also Friday.
Southport (1-10) is at Holder Field against Beech Grove (3-6), Perry Meridian (7-6) visits Roncalli (10-7) in the upper bracket and Ben Davis (4-5) visits Franklin Central (6-4) with Pike (3-11) at Lutheran (5-4) in the lower bracket, each game at 6 p.m.
Quarterfinals are at Southport, Roncalli, Ben Davis and Decatur Central at 10 a.m. Saturday, with upper bracket winners at Roncalli and lower bracket winners at Decatur Central. The championship is May 13 at Victory Field.