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By Al Stilley
Senior staff writer
Roncalli’s seniors have been yearning for another Marion County championship since their freshman season.
They finally helped the Rebels claim a second county softball trophy in four years Monday and fourth overall with a pair of timely hits for a 3-2 triumph over Decatur Central at Ben Davis Softball Complex.
“I came in my freshman year and won the county, but I’ve been looking for another one since then,” said Roncalli senior Amelia Banister, whose two-out double produced two runs in the second inning. “This is amazing; we knew we had to play our topnotch game to beat them and we did.”
The 4A No. 6 Rebels (20-2), coached by veteran Dave Lauck, left only three runners on base; a big difference from recent games. Roncalli stopped the Hawks’ winning streak at 11.
Banister hit a double to right field, driving in Amber Linton, who reached base on a fielding error, and Gracie Holok, whose smash to third was too hot to handle.
The 2-0 lead stood until the fourth inning when the Hawks’ first five runners reached base. Roncalli’s defense kept the score even by throwing a runner out trying to steal second and a fielder’s choice. Shortstop Lauren Fey came up with the final out by chasing down a blooper.
Roncalli’s game-winning run came on Banister’s lead-off single in the fifth, Fey’s sacrifice bunt, a misplayed grounder by the Hawks, and pitcher Jordan Jenkins’ two-out single, which drove in Banister.
The 4A No. 8 Hawks (17-3) weren’t finished and put runners on first and second with one out in the sixth and a runner on second with no outs in the seventh, but they couldn’t score.
Jenkins went five and one-third innings before sophomore Amber Linton closed by giving up only one hit.
Roncalli advanced to the championship game by defeating Pike 10-0, Beech Grove 8-3 and Lawrence North 7-3.
Tthe Rebels broke from a 4-2 lead over Beech Grove on Saturday with four runs in the third on RBIs by Fey, Chole Parks, Jenkins and Banister. The Hornets had spotted the Rebels two runs in the first but came back with a pair of runs on Mallory Storms’ double and Lexi Ham’s single.
The quarterfinals featured a Southside team on each of the four diamonds at Ben Davis.
Franklin Central’s Jaida Austin drove in two of the Flashes’ three runs in the second inning against Lawrence Central. Two fielding errors by the Bears opened a three-run inning in the fifth for the victorious Flashes. LC tried to rally in the sixth with the bases loaded but pitcher Casey Matthews got the third out on a fly ball.
Decatur Central’s Ricketts ended hopes of an all-Southside championship game by holding Franklin Central to only four hits in a 6-0 win.
Darkhorse Southport fell to Lawrence North 5-4 in the quarterfinals. Vanessa Miller drove in Lexi DeWester and reached third base, representing the tying run in the bottom of the seventh, but a fly ball to right field ended the game.
S0UTHSIDER VOICE PHOTO BY AL STILLEY Roncalli’s softball squad gathered for a team photo Monday evening after defeating Decatur Central 3-2 for the Marion County softball championship. Team members are (front, from left) coach Dave Lauck, Amber Linton, Scout Leffler, Sierra Holtsclaw, Lauren Fey, Amelia Banister, Katie Hiatt, Amanda Prather, student manager Olivia Wright; (standing) student manager Autumn Peoni, Ally Dwyer, Isabelle Blackwell, Kelin Cash, Olivia Lauck, Molly Sinovik, Jordan Jenkins, Samantha Curtis, Jen Smith, Jada Moran, Gracie Holok, Chloe Parks, assistant coach Jennifer Roseberry.