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Hauser softball player takes quick route to success

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HOPE — Craig Sims has coached his daughter, Leslie, since she was 8 years old, and he’s never had a tough decision about who to put in the leadoff spot.

Playing for her father’s Hauser High School softball team as a freshman this spring, the younger Sims batted .630 and stole 72 bases, which is believed to be a state record. On her father’s Indiana Select 16U travel team last fall and this summer, the shortstop has batted .483 with 78 stolen bases in 59 games.

“I slap most of the time,”

Leslie Sims said. “It’s nice to get on base and be able to steal. It’s fun.”

Leslie scored 45 runs in 25 high school games this spring. She’s scored 91 runs for Indiana Select, which will play in the USFA Fastpitch World Series beginning Monday in Panama City, Fla.

“If she hits the ball on the ground, she’s pretty much on, and she takes second base the next pitch,” Craig Sims said. “So it’s like hitting a double every time she’s on.

“And when she gets on, she usually scores.”

Leslie has been clocked at 2.6 seconds for 60 feet, the distance from home to first base. She has drawn the attention of college scouts.

“She gets emails from a lot of different colleges,” Craig Sims said.

“Purdue was very interested in her and actually talked to us, but then their coach got let go.

She gets invitations to schools for camps when they bring in prospects for the future to look at them.”

The Sims family and the rest of the Indiana Select are about to embark on a two-week extravaganza of softball. When they return from Florida, they’ll head to Chicago for the PGF Fastpitch Regional.

The following week, Leslie will play for the Indianapolis-based 18U Extreme in the ASA/USA Girls Class A 18U Fastpitch National Championship in Salem, Va. She’ll return home Aug. 4, the day before school starts at Hauser.

“I like travel ball a lot better,” Leslie Sims said. “High school ball, you just play a game. Travel ball, you play a lot of games.”

Indiana Select is 38-18-3 since last fall. The team won the NSA “A” State Tournament in Columbus, won an ASA indoor tournament in the winter at SportZone and finished second in the USFA State Tournament in Columbus.

McKenzie Bush of Silver Creek, Meg Liter of Batesville and Kelsay Lucas of Columbus North are the team’s pitchers. Lucas is 12-3 with two saves and a 5.00 ERA in 70 innings.

Second baseman Emily Bobb of Seymour is the team’s second-leading hitter with a .405 average. Liter is batting .392 with five home runs and 55 RBIs. Center fielder Kyndyl Olds of Jennings County is hitting .391 with 43 RBIs, and Lucas has 40 RBIs.

“This team is very talented,” Craig Sims said. “We have a lot of speed. We have a lot of power. We have three great catchers.”

Indiana Select finished 13th out of 86 teams in the 14U B Division of the 2012 World Series and placed fifth in 14U A Division last summer. This year, they’re in the 16U A Division.

“I feel good,” Craig Sims said. “These girls have played the best teams out there. We’re capable of beating anybody, and we’re capable of being beat by anybody.

“Ultimately, we want to go down there and win this thing,” he said. “But our focus isn’t winning tournaments. Our focus is to get better, and we should be winning tournaments. But this team’s focus is to get kids into college.”

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