Senior staff writer
Franklin Central’s softball team is taking care of its 2016 bucket list.
The senior-loaded Flashes added a sectional title to their list of accomplishments this season, notably the Marion County championship and Conference Indiana title.
The Flashes’ dominating 8-0 mastery of defending state champion Center Grove last week was nothing but sweet revenge on Franklin Central’s home field. Last year the Trojans ousted FC for the third season in a row by one run on a late-game miscue.
“We wanted this moment; we were very hungry after last year,” Franklin Central coach Kathy Stricker said. “We had to keep the pressure on them to win this one and we did.”
The Flashes scored first in the top of the first inning, which set the tone for the game.
Franklin Central held the Trojans to three hits, got out of a bases- loaded jam with one out in the fourth and escaped a harmless sixth-inning double by Trojans leading hitter Jordyn Rudd.
Flashes’ leadoff hitter Elena Horen slammed three singles and scored three times, and teammate Dannielle Wyse also had three hits and scored once. Shortstop Claire Gilliland, one of two junior starters, was outstanding in the field and drove in two runs.
“We were focused, and we were ready and really hoping to get up on them,” Horen said. “We came out with our bats and got the job done.”
Senior pitcher Shelby Herron turned in one of her best performances of the season with a three-hitter and only allowing a Trojan to reach third twice. Herron gave credit to her team’s defense.
“I always know they have my back, especially facing a great hitting team like Center Grove,” she said. “I was really trying to keep my pitches in on the hitters’ hands so they couldn’t hit it hard. Scoring in the first really gave me confidence from the beginning. We were so hyped, so excited to win this game.”
The Flashes got two hits from Devin Raters and Taytum Schaney and one from Delaney Thompson and Hannah LaMar.
Although revenge was a driving force, Stricker commented, “Our motivation is that we want to be successful and do the thing well that we can. Our seniors are great kids. A lot of coaches wouldn’t look forward to having nine seniors, but they are great leaders and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Franklin Central advanced to the finale by defeating Martinsville 4-0.
Center Grove was tested by underdog Greenwood in the opener before winning 1-0 in eight innings and later defeating Whiteland 4-0.
Lutheran dominated its Class A sectional by downing Tindley 12-0 and Indiana School for the Deaf 16-0 before dominating Bethesda Christian 15-1.
In regional action, Franklin Central hosted Bloomington North Tuesday, with the winner meeting the Cathedral-Pendleton Heights winner in the semifinal of the Center Grove Semistate at 1 p.m. Thursday; the championship game is at 7 p.m.
Lutheran traveled to North Central (Farmersburg) Tuesday for its Class A regional. The winner advances to the North Daviess Semistate Saturday.
Decatur Central upended Roncalli 5-1 Thursday in the Class 4A Ben Davis Sectional finale. The Rebels advanced after defeating Perry Meridian 8-3.