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Pitcher learns of Miss Softball at sister’s wedding

Erin Rethlake’s sister came down the aisle shedding tears of joy Saturday evening. And, no, not for the reason you’re thinking.

Yes, she was getting married.

But her kid sister, the Kentucky-bound Huntington North standout, had just been named Miss Softball by the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association – and Big Sister knew it first.

“We were taking pictures before the wedding,” Rethlake said. “And my sister, who hadn’t cried all day, came down the aisle and she was crying and said ‘You got it!’ ”

Which came as something of a shock to Rethlake.

“I was very surprised,” she said. “I went to Friday’s practice (for the North-South All-Star game) and then the banquet, and my high school coach said he didn’t think it was possible Usually, consistently, it’s always a South girl who wins.”

Not this time.

This time it was Rethlake, who missed 3 1/2 weeks of her senior season with a concussion before leading the Vikings to sectional and regional championships. She finished with a 13-2 record, a 0.80 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 96 2/3 innings. In the tournament, she threw a perfect game in the sectional final and two-hit shutouts in the regional and semistate semifinals, beating top-ranked and unbeaten Crown Points in the latter.

“Things were so much better when I came back,” Rethlake said. “I kind of tweaked a few things. The farther the tournament went on kind of the better I felt as a player all-around, I guess.”

It was a happy ending for a player who was the Gatorade Indiana Softball Player of the Year last season after going 23-1 with a 0.18 ERA and 317 strikeouts in 154 innings. She also batted .476 with 14 home runs and 36 RBI. Huntington North went 26-3 and, as it did this year, reached the semistate finals.

Saturday, however, was different. For obvious reasons.

“Yeah, it was kind of a controversy in our family how we were gonna do everything,” Rethlake said, laughing.

They managed.

bensmith@jg.net

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