INDIANAPOLIS – For a team that had only one senior, the Leo softball squad showed plenty of moxie in winning its first state championship.
The Lions got out of several jams, including three errors, and defeated Gibson Southern 2-0 Saturday at Ben Davis to win the Class 3A championship.
“This is absolutely amazing," coach Ben Shappell said. “To see these girls come together like this, after not having the best finish to our regular season, losing four out of five games there, I’m in awe. To come together like they did and play as a family like they did, it’s amazing. We didn’t have one person who stood out as far as hitting the ball hard. We scraped and clawed to get those runs. It was a total team effort and I’m really proud of the way they played today.”
Lindsay Bowers was solid on the mound, allowing four hits, striking out five and walking none, and she had a no-hitter going into the sixth.
“I can’t even explain this,” said Bowers, whose team outscored the opposition 11-0 in the final three games and finished 27-6.
“At the beginning of this game, we made some errors. But once we loosened out of that, it really came together for us.”
The Lions took the lead in the top of the first, after a shaky start by pitcher Bree Wilzbacher and even shakier fielding by the Titans (29-4). A double steal resulted in Leo’s Alexa Allen crossing home plate only because the catcher, Taylor Rogers, dropped the ball after a throw from the shortstop.
In the bottom of the inning, a pair of fielding errors, and a stolen base, gave Gibson Southern runners on first and third with no outs. Bowers pitched out of the jam, though, starting with a strikeout of Ashtin Seaton. Then, Sydney Norris hit a groundball to third and the runner was out at home. And Ellen harder hit a bases-loaded groundball to first to end the inning.
Gibson Southern yanked Wilzbacher midway through the second inning – she allowed one run on one hit with two walks – and her replacement, Jaime Nurrenbern, went six innings and allowed one run on three hits with four strikeouts.
Leo totaled four hits.
“When we won sectionals, that was a big thing for us because we beat Bishop Dwenger and had lost to them in the regular season pretty bad,” said Leo’s Hannah Risser. “Once we won sectionals, it went up the hill from there.”
For more on the game, read Sunday's Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m.