If the Hauser softball team is back in the Class A state championship game a week from today, there will be no denying that the trip was earned.
Whoever emerges from today’s North Daviess Semistate will have had to take down two of the state’s top five Class A teams. In fact, the four teams playing at North Daviess today are the four highest-ranked teams still alive from the last Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association poll (No. 3 Rising Sun was knocked out by Hauser in the sectional final).
At 11 a.m., fourth-ranked Tecumseh takes on No. 5 Borden in a semifinal battle of two teams with the same nickname (Braves). Tecumseh has won a state-best 14 straight sectional crowns, while Borden’s ace hurler, junior Paige Schindler, has allowed just two earned runs all season long.
The other semifinal, scheduled for 1 p.m., is a matchup of two reigning state champions. Top-ranked Hauser, which claimed the Class A crown last season and hasn’t lost since, has a date with No. 2 North Central, which dropped down after winning the 2A title a year ago.
Talk about a concentration of wealth.
By comparison, the northern semistate features No. 6 Pioneer against the host, eighth-ranked Frontier, in one semifinal and No. 10 Tri versus No. 12 South Central in the other.
A solid quartet, to be sure — but whichever team comes out of North Daviess would have to be considered a clear favorite in the June 11 title game at Ben Davis, no matter how subjective polls may be.
Will that team be the Jets? Stay tuned.
A closer look at the four teams playing in today’s Class A semistate at North Daviess:
No. 4 Tecumseh Braves (18-9)
Road to semistate: Beat Cannelton (21-1), Wood Memorial (16-0) and Northeast Dubois (2-0) to win sectional; defeated Loogootee, 6-5, in regional
Key players (statistics not available): Maddie Duncan, Kierra Schoenbaechler
Noteworthy: The Braves have won 14 straight sectional titles, the longest such streak in the state.
No. 5 Borden Braves (18-2)
Road to semistate: Won against New Washington (6-0) and Lanesville (10-0) in sectional; beat Trinity Lutheran, 8-0, to win regional
Key players: Paige Schindler (18-2, 0.12 ERA, 238 K, 22 BB; .427 BA, 4 HR, 22 SB), Keisha Curry (.421, 5 HR, 25 RBIs), Riley Schindler (.413, 2 HR, 29 SB).
Noteworthy: Paige Schindler has allowed just 14 hits and two earned runs in 121 innings this season. … More than half of Curry’s hits (15 of 24) have been for extra bases.
No. 1 Hauser Jets (25-0)
Road to semistate: Won sectional by beating South Decatur (10-0), Jac-Cen-Del (3-0) and No. 3 Rising Sun (10-0); defeated Edinburgh, 12-1, to win regional
Key players: Leslie Sims (.651 BA, 55 runs, 52 SB), Tessa Sims (19-0, 0.54 ERA, 165 K, 5 BB; .408 BA, 37 runs), Sidney Giles (.395, 6 3B, 30 RBIs), Hailey Lange (.365, 33 runs, 24 RBIs, 3 HR)
Noteworthy: The Jets are the lone unbeaten softball or baseball team remaining in Indiana this year. … Leslie Sims is the state’s all-time leader in stolen bases with 231.
No. 2 North Central Ladybirds (21-6)
Road to semistate: Beat Clay City (9-4), Bloomfield (3-0) and Shakamak (3-2) in sectional; edged Indianapolis Lutheran, 4-3, to win regional
Key players: Ariel Povlin (3-1, 1.22 ERA; .406 BA, 4 HR, 25 runs, 19 RBIs), Madison Schofield (.442, 25 runs, 17 RBIs, 17 SB), Hannah Schroyer (.356, 12 RBIs)
Noteworthy: Katelynn Kennedy, the Ladybirds’ top pitcher and hitter, has not dressed for any of the team’s last three tournament games. Her status for Saturday is unclear.
Class A North Daviess Semistate
Tecumseh vs. Borden, 11 a.m.
Hauser vs. North Central, 1 p.m.
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.