Local Sports

Triton Central set for semistate semifinal against Hauser

FAIRLAND -- The Indiana Crossroads Conference crowned four softball regional champions Tuesday night. Two are on the road to Ferdinand, Indiana, for Saturday’s Forest Park Regional.

Class 2A, No. 6 Cascade (24-4), the ICC champion, will take on 2A No. 1 North Posey (26-0) in the second semifinal game.

In the opener at 11 a.m. (EST), unranked Triton Central (20-5) will face unranked Hauser (24-7).

The semistate championship game is slated for 7 p.m. with the winner advancing to the Class 2A State Championship Game on June 9 or June 10 on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette.

Triton Central head coach Aaron Pyle took a huge gamble Tuesday night, trusted his sophomore pitcher, and prevailed 4-3 in eight innings at Union County to capture the program’s first regional title.

Leading 3-2 going to the bottom of the seventh inning, Pyle knew starting pitcher Brylie Couch would have to deal with Union County’s twin powerhouses, senior Shelby Hill (.539 average, 11 home runs, 55 runs batted in) and junior AnnaLea Adams (.813, 15 home runs, 56 RBIs), one more time.

With the tying run at second base and two outs, Pyle intentionally walked both to load the bases. A base hit would not only tie the game but, potentially, seal the regional title for the Patriots.

“We looked back throughout the game and it was their two top batters getting the majority of the hits,” explained Pyle. “We felt we had better luck with 4-9 (in the lineup).”

Couch ended up walking the ensuing batter to tie the game but got the next hitter out to send the game to extra innings. The escape provided momentum for the eighth inning.

Jadyn Capps led off the eighth with a triple and Hailey Harris doubled to quickly get Triton Central back in front.

Bolstered by the lead again and the bottom half of the order on tap, Couch set down the Patriots and closed out a complete-game performance where she had 16 strikeouts.

Triton Central had eight hits in the win, including Brooklyn Adkins’ first career home run.

The Tigers will now drive nearly three hours southwest to Ferdinand to battle a softball program located just 29 miles from its Fairland campus.

“We know it will be a good game,” said Pyle. “If we both play our game, it will be one of those 1-run or 2-run games. Whoever starts hitting the quickest will come out on top.”



Hauser (photo) will start junior Paige McDaniel (20-7, 2.78 earned run average, 138.1 innings, 155 strikeouts) in the circle. She eclipsed her 60th career win earlier this season.

Triton Central will counter with sophomore Lillie Fillippinie (7-2, 1.53 earned run average), who has 102 strikeouts in 55 innings this season.

“We are going to go with Lillie starting out and ride with her,” said Pyle, who will then have Couch ready in relief if necessary. “I have total faith that she can go all the way.”

Pyle won’t let himself game plan just yet for a Saturday night game. The Tigers either will get a rematch with Cascade, who defeated TC, 9-1, on April 25 or face unbeaten North Posey and senior standout pitcher Erin Hoehn (17-0, 0.35 ERA, 119.2 innings, 261 strikeouts), who will pitch collegiately at the University of Michigan.

“I have kind of looked to kind of see, but that’s pretty much to the extent that I’ve looked at,” admitted Pyle.

The other two ICC teams playing Saturday for semistate titles are Beech Grove and Indianapolis Lutheran.

In the Class 3A Jasper Semistate, Beech Grove (21-6) faces 2022 3A state runner-up Tri-West (25-5), ranked No. 6 in 3A, in the first semifinal game. No. 9 Silver Creek (27-9) and No. 2 Gibson Southern (27-4) meet in the other semifinal.

Class A, No. 7 Lutheran (19-7) opens the North Daviess Semistate against No. 6 Lanesville (24-5). The other semifinal game pits No. 1 Tecumseh (22-9), the defending Class A state champion, against No. 13 Clay City (18-9).

“That just proves to show that the ICC is a tough conference,” said Pyle. “If you are going to be in the top half (of the standings), you are going to have to know how to play and be tough, play good defense and put offense together too.”

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