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Clinton Prairie lassos Lanesville at state, 7-1

Lanesville’s softball team dreamed of winning its first state final game on Friday against No. 1-ranked Clinton Prairie at Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers.
But that dream quickly turned into a nightmare as the Gophers posted five runs in the first two innings and cruised to a 7-1 victory.
Of the seven runs, four were earned as Lanesville had a trio of errors that all led to Clinton Prairie scores.
‘They hit the snot out of the ball. They scored a lot of runs on errors, though, and there wasn’t anything we could do about it,’ said Lanesville coach Kayla Straub.
‘They are an awesome team. Most of their starters are all seniors and have been playing together for who knows how long. They are a very good team and you can’t take that away from them.
‘They were unique. We prepared for the lead-off, left-handed slapper and things like that. We kept balls in front of us and made defensive plays and never ever let down the whole time. That’s what I was most proud of. Even in the end, we were playing the game like we were still in it.’
After the first two innings, when Lanesville starter Allison Horton gave up three hits and three earned runs, Clinton Prairie had only two hits and one earned run.
The Lady Eagles’ lone score came in the bottom of the second, when Ashley Simler had a bloop single to right with one out. Allison Wolfe came in to pinch run for Simler and stole second before scoring on an error with two outs.
The Gophers’ starting pitcher Alex Castle, a senior who boasted a record of 22-2 with an ERA of .67 coming into the game, kept Lanesville on its heels throughout the game. She struck out 13 and walked none in the three-hitter.
Clinton Prairie jumped on top in the first inning when Castle blasted a ground ball through the left side of the infield. She moved to second on a single by Janette Burgin and went to third on a failed fielder’s choice by Kathy Seager to load the bases.
Castle and Burgin scored on a passed ball, and Stacey Jarrett hit one deep to center for a sacrifice fly to score Seager.
The Gophers continued their onslaught in the second.
Stephanie Butler singled, stole second and went to third on a passed ball. Samantha Sharp hit a come-backer to Horton, whose throw was wide of first and allowed Butler to score. Sharp went to third on the play and scored on a wild pitch for a 5-0 lead.
After Lanesville’s score in the bottom of the inning, Clinton Prairie got the run back in the top of the third.
With two outs, Jarrett walked, stole second, then scored on an error.
The winners’ only other run came in the fifth.
Castle singled up the middle and stole second, then scored on a pair of wild pitches.
Clinton Prairie, a team with eight seniors, had five hits and committed two errors. Lanesville, which has just two seniors, had three hits and three errors.
Straub said replacing those two seniors, shortstop Brittany Mix and catcher Leslie Kaufer, be tough. ‘We’re really going to miss them.’
Lanesville’s coach added that with a strong nucleus of players returning in 2006, the state finals was an invaluable learning experience.
‘We know what we’re getting into next year, because I plan on being up here again,’ Straub said. ‘My girls better be planning on the same thing.’
Lanesville finished the season with a glittering 25-3 record. The seven runs they gave up in the state championship semifinal were two more than the team had given up in the sectional and regional combined.
Horton, just a junior, wound up with a record of 22-3 with 283 strikeouts (she had nine against Clinton Prairie) and a season ERA of .36.
Clinton Prairie won the Class 1A state championship with a 6-1 victory over No. 2-ranked North Daviess.
The Gophers broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning when, with one out and bases loaded, Seager doubled to right to clear the bases. She took third on a throw to home and then Jarrett sacrificed to score her teammate.
After starting the season 1-3, the Gophers reeled off 28 consecutive victories to finish the year 29-3.