(SOUTHSIDER VOICE PHOTOS BY STEVE PAGE)
Roncalli senior Lyla Blackwell has a habit of clicking her heels before touching home plate to score a run for the Royals.
The Virginia Tech signee did that once in the first inning and once in the second inning Monday night against Franklin Central to send her teammates on their way to a second consecutive Marion County softball championship at Ben Davis, 6-1.
“That’s what I do; it gets us going,” Blackwell said matter-of-factly after the softball program’s sixth county title. “It was important to get off to a fast start; we expected this.”
After senior pitcher Keagan Rothrock opened the title game by striking out the first three Flashes, Blackwell led off with a successful bunt, Carley Keller moved her to third with an infield hit, and she scored later to put the Royals (19-2-1) up 1-0.
Again after striking out all three Flashes (12-10), the Royals pushed across their second run on Blackwell’s grounder to second that was mishandled and later scored on Keller’s single to centerfield.
“This (championship) means a lot because we were expected to win it,” Blackwell said. “We’re definitely playing together and have everyone’s back.”
Blackwell also drove in two runs.
Abbey Hofmann, Lauren Marsicek, and Rothrock had three hits apiece.
Natalie Summers led off the fourth with a double to leftfield and later scored. In the fifth, Rockwell and Marsicek led off with hits and were driven in by Willis and Blackwell.
“We were able to feed off each other,” Blackwell added.
Roncalli left the bases loaded after scoring one run in the first inning and stranded a total of 11 for the game.
Rothrock had a perfect game going for 4.2 innings until walking Kasey Hickle. FC scored its lone run in the seventh on Hickle’s RBI double.
“We got behind early, but I’m proud of the way our girls played,” FC coach Kathy Stricker said. “We fought and we didn’t quit.”