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Lanesville flames Jac-Cen-Del, eyes state final

Lanesville flames Jac-Cen-Del, eyes state final
Lanesville flames Jac-Cen-Del, eyes state final
The Lanesville Lady Eagles captured their second straight Class 1A regional championship in girls softball Saturday night with a 10-1 victory over Jac-Cen-Del. Coach Kayla Straub's squad will meet the North Central Thunderbirds at 8:30 p.m. Friday in the state semifinals at Hamilton Southeastern High School. (Photo by Alan Stewart)

One year ago, Lanesville’s girls softball team advanced to the school’s first state final in any sport.
What was believed to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Lady Eagles was spoiled by No. 1-ranked Clinton Prairie, 7-1.
Exactly 364 days later, Lanesville will make a return trip to Hamilton Southeastern High School to play on the exact same field, with the exact same Class 1A state championship on the line, only this time it will be the 21-4 Thunderbirds of North Central (Farmersburg) standing between the Lady Eagles (15-9) and a date with immortality.
The second state semi-final takes place at 8:30 p.m. Friday; preceded by a battle between Lafayette Central Catholic (18-9) and top-ranked Whiting (31-0). Friday’s winners square off on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Ben Davis High School for the Class 1A state championship.
Host Lanesville trounced Jac-Cen-Del in Saturday’s regional final, 10-1, for its second consecutive regional crown. In the semi-final that morning, Lanesville slid past Northeast Dubois, 2-1.
By virtue of its state finals appearance, the Lady Eagles become the first team in any varsity sport in Harrison County to advance to a state final in back-to-back seasons.
Other state finalists in team sports include South Central (2006 basketball) and Corydon Central (2005 basketball).
North Harrison’s girls cross country team made it to the state final in 1997.
Through the two regional contests, the Lady Eagles committed just one error. That, third-year coach Kayla Straub said, along with the always-solid pitching of senior Allison Horton ‘ who also helped her cause with a solo blast that cleared the left field fence by no less than 15 feet ‘ and timely base knocks throughout the lineup were the keys to winning the regional.
‘We left a few people on base, but other than that, we hit the ball well, we played really good defense and really, I thought they were the best two games we’ve played all year. In the first game against Dubois, we knew it was going to be close, and it was. In the second game, one hit led to another hit and we never let them get into the game,’ Straub said. ‘We got here at 8:30 this morning and had a quick little practice because of the rain we had (Friday) and I could really tell the girls were ready to go.’
The final bars of the Star-Spangled Banner were still winding down when the Lady Eagles posted their first run of the game.
Allison Wolfe walked and then scored with two outs when Horton reached on an error.
In the second frame, Lanesville effectively put the game away.
Ashley Royalty, Erin Harbeson, Ashley Simler, Wolfe and Erin Dorgay all came across to give the hosts a 6-0 advantage.
Jac-Cen-Del (10-11) scratched a run across in the fourth, but Lanesville added four insurance runs two innings later.
Horton, Royalty and Beth Dorgay loaded the bases for Harbeson, who cleared the bases with a blast to the gap in right-center for a three-RBI double.
Jac-Cen-Del never recovered as the hosts raced off to the victory.
Lanesville notched its 10 runs on just five hits as Jac-Cen-Del committed three miscues.
Horton, who leads the state in strikeouts per seven innings (14.2), fanned half that number (7) in the title game. She had a dozen in the win over the Lady Jeeps.
The triumph over N.E. Dubois was a classic tussle between a couple of hard-nosed twirlers, with Horton doing the most damage with her arm, legs, and bat.
The Lady Jeeps (18-9) marked a solo run in the bottom of the third after Gia Terwiske tripled down the left field line, and scored on a passed ball.
Trailing 1-0, Horton deposited a pitch from Erica Lampert over the left field fence to tie the game.
‘As soon as she hit it, I knew it was gone,’ Straub said. ‘She just ripped the ball. I think that got her going on the mound, too. I think that just pumped everybody up. It was pretty awesome.’
Two innings later, Horton scored again.
This time, she and Royalty singled. Horton swiped third, then came across on Harbeson’s ground out to short. The run proved to be the game winner.
‘I’m just so happy for all of my girls,’ a tearful Straub said. ‘They’ve all worked so hard to get back up to state after the way things went last season.’
Of the 16 teams among the four classes at the state finals, only three (1A Lanesville, 4A Martinsville and 2A Frankton) advanced to the state championship last season.