TERRE HAUTE —
Well, this is awkward.
I’m writing this late Monday night, with my Tuesday and Wednesday days off in the future, not knowing entirely how happy I am with state-finals softball.
Or whether or not I have to pack up today and head to Ben Davis yet again to see if Terre Haute North can get a couple more innings in against Hamilton Southeastern, for that matter.
No matter how the Patriots turn out, or have turned out, I can’t be very disappointed, however.
As far as the Patriots are (were?) concerned, a bunch of young players who may have arrived a little bit early followed the lead of their two seniors, took care of business quietly and confidently (loved the Danielle Ketner quote that you may have seen) and let all of us know we should have been paying more attention all along. No possible championship-game outcome takes the luster off that kind of performance.
As far as the Riverton Parke performance is concerned, I’m pretty close to ecstatic. As Mike Dickey told me Saturday (you may know his daughters, Elizabeth and Sara), there was a time when I was almost a permanent fixture at Rosedale High School; I can count at least five members of the Panthers — Makenzie Haltom, Mikayla Grindle, Katelynn Rewers and the Dickey sisters — whose parents I have yelled at or shared jokes with in the past.
As a result, this was the only game of the three on Saturday that I was nervous for. Between my ties to Parke County and the public school-vs.-private school scenario, there was only one way I could enjoy its outcome. The fact that I could also renew some friendships with some other Parke County softball folks along the way was an added bonus.
I wasn’t nervous before the Linton game, but I certainly was after it started. The Miners had been the best team I’d seen all season, but I didn’t see that team for very long against Wheeler.
Their season was kind of a roll of the dice anyway, of course. Pitcher Stephanie Fougerousse was supposed to have her shoulder surgery a year ago, so her efforts to try and make it through one last season added an element of risk from the get-go.
I began to have questions when two of the previous three Linton scores were 6-5 — after the Miners had given up more than one run in a game only once prior to that. On Saturday, Stephanie didn’t have much left. She knew it, her teammates knew it, and the team’s confidence — maybe its best attribute during the regular season — suffered as a result.
The Miners almost bluffed their way to a state championship anyway; any of a dozen plays could have changed the outcome. But a storybook finish wasn’t in the cards. Too bad, because they seemed to be another pretty cool group of girls, but nothing to hang heads over.
A darn good season, in other words, and the same could be said about the softball played at Terre Haute South, or Northview (2-0 vs. the Patriots), or North Central, or Clay City, or North Vermillion, or Rockville, or even West Vigo (one game away from a WIC title). Like I said a week ago, the high school softball capital of Indiana.
And as I look at the rosters in my state-finals program, I’m thinking I’ll be seeing the facilities at Ben Davis again before long.
If the Giants should happen to add a dome over their main field — or a couple of extra bathrooms, for that matter — that would be fine too.
• Speech, speech — Guest speaker at the Bainbridge High School Alumni Association’s annual banquet June 26 is Pat Rady.
No word on whether or not Larry Steele will be there.
Steele, the former Portland Trailblazer, was one of two future pros at the 1966 Lafayette Semistate, where I watched Rady’s team mount a terrific comeback against East Chicago Washington before losing a close one. That game probably deprived Putnam County from having two teams in the Final Four, because Cloverdale — which went south when Bainbridge went north for tournament play — got to the finals led by future Sycamore Rod Hervey.
Washington, led by a friend of mine named Henry Tyson, lost to eventual state champ Michigan City and Cloverdale lost to Indianapolis Tech. Get your tickets to the Bainbridge banquet and you’ll probably get more stories.
Oh, the other future pro at Lafayette? Rick Mount, who played maybe the six best quarters of high school basketball I’d ever seen before suffering from cramps and dehydration against ECW.
Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at email@example.com; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.