Senior staff writer
Center Grove’s softball team routinely served as a blockade to reach the state finals between 1986 and 2009, during which time they amassed five state championships and two second-place finishes.
Well ... the Trojans are back and will battle nemesis Lake Central at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Ben Davis for the Class 4A championship.
Lake Central owns a 3-1 edge against the Trojans in state title games, winning in 1992, 2002 and ’04. The Trojans downed the Lakers 2-0 in 2003 for their fourth crown, having also won titles in 1986, ’95, ’98 and 2009.
Center Grove (28-2) came from behind Saturday in the Bedford North Lawrence Semistate championship game to defeat unranked Floyd Central 7-6 on Mandy Dallas’ seventh-inning solo home run. The Trojans reached the title game by upending Decatur Central 2-0.
Floyd Central ended Roncalli’s season earlier 1-0 to spoil an all-Southside semistate final. The Rebels (26-9) collected six hits but never crossed the plate.
Center Grove has rallied from behind in four of its six tournament games.
This time the Trojans jumped ahead 4-0 after two innings, but the Highlanders retaliated for five runs in the next two innings. Victoria Boyer’s two-run double put CG ahead again in the top of the fifth. Determined Floyd Central tied it in the fifth to set up Dallas’ game-winning shot.
In the semifinal game, CG’s Mallory Baker drove in two runs in the third against the Hawks, and that was all the Trojans needed. Abbey Pratt (21-2) gave up only two hits.
In the Class A North Daviess Semistate, Lutheran fell to the sectional hosts 5-2 in the first round.
The Saints (18-10) tied it at 1-1 after two innings but fell behind 5-1 in top of the fifth inning. Freshman Katie Hopkins had two hits, and sophomore Elise Somble drove in a run. Blakelee Steeb gave up seven hits but allowed only two earned runs.
CG baseball falls at Evansville
Center Grove’s No. 5-ranked baseball team dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 game against sectional host Evansville Reitz (19-10) Saturday. The Trojans (21-5) were aiming for their first regional championship in 19 years under second-year coach Keith Hatfield.
In the Class A Morristown Regional, Greenwood Christian edged Lutheran 2-1 but lost to Shakamak 6-0 in the championship game.