TERRE HAUTE —
On the front page of Wednesday’s sports section, a photo showed Terre Haute North shortstop Danielle Ketner kneeling with her teammates while she helped hold the IHSAA Class 4A state runner-up plaque.
It was shot moments after the Patriots lost to Hamilton Southeastern 3-1 in the Class 4A softball championship game last Tuesday in Indianapolis. A red medallion is hanging around Ketner’s neck and, understandably, she appears ready to shed a tear or two.
Make no mistake about it: Ketner hates to lose.
Although she’s back to being her old cheerful self, let’s hope she takes some of that disdain for losing to Indiana State’s team in the fall.
Ketner, who signed a national letter of intent over the winter to attend ISU, plans to bring some offensive pop and defensive consistency to a program that has finished 20-31 in 2010, 20-27 in 2009, 19-30-1 in 2008 and 18-22 in 2007.
Ketner isn’t making any bold predictions, however. She just wants a chance to play and contribute.
“It’s a different level,” she said over the weekend. “There’s different expectations, but I’ll adjust to that and bring whatever I can to help make them better.”
Ketner mentioned that ISU’s previous starting shortstop (Amber Paz) and left fielder (Kacy Ketner) have graduated, so she’s willing to step in at either of those positions.
“I’ll do anything to get in the lineup,” she stressed.
Ketner chose Indiana State to continue her softball career for a variety of reasons, including its closeness to home.
“That’s definitely a big advantage because my family is something that helps get me through things,” she explained.
Because of her family, Ketner has been exposed to plenty of softball over the years, especially at the old Terre Haute Softball Stadium at First and Farrington streets.
“I was always at the ballpark when I was a kid, even watching my dad [Keith] play when I was super young,” she recalled.
Ketner, who debuted in the sport at Miss Softball America when she was 5, enjoyed watching and learning from her older sisters, Erica and Jessica, as they displayed their talents for Terre Haute South and St. Mary-of-the-Woods College.
“Softball’s always been a major part of my life,” Danielle Ketner emphasized.
Now she’ll be the one youngsters will watch when the Sycamores play home games at Price Field.
“I always wanted to play [NCAA] Division I,” Ketner said. “Playing Division I and playing at home, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Not full of herself because she’s tasted success, Ketner admits she needs to improve to excel at the college level.
“Most of the top pitchers I faced in high school are the types I will face all the time in college, some even better than that,” she noted. “So I need to be able to hit them more consistently.”
In the state title game, Ketner finished 1 for 3 and scored the Patriots’ only run. For the season, she batted .354 with 24 runs batted in and a team-high six home runs.
Although she felt sad that North fell short against Hamilton Southeastern, she felt proud of the Patriots’ accomplishments in 2010.
“No one really expected us to go that far,” Ketner pointed out. “Although I would like to have won it all, it was still a great way to end my senior year.”
• Sad news — I didn’t hear about this until several days after the fact, but I was saddened to learn former Tribune-Star sportswriter and Robinson (Ill.) native Tim Brooks lost his battle with cancer June 11. Funeral services were conducted last week in Oblong.
He was 50.
An easy-going, friendly guy, Tim worked here in the early 1990s before becoming sports editor of the Robinson Daily News.
According to the Daily News’ online story, Tim was first diagnosed with cancer in September 2008. He served as the newspaper’s sports editor for more than 14 years.
He also coached softball at Oblong High School and Junior High, Lincoln Trail College, Robinson High School and Greenville College and worked as an umpire over the years.
Condolences go out to his family.
David Hughes can be reached by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224 after 4 p.m.; by e-mail at david.hughes@
tribstar.com; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.