Mallory Baker

First base

Mallory Baker might shadow first base defensively for the Trojans, but she has a certain knack for landing on second.

The Purdue University recruit has delivered 17 of her team’s 62 doubles this season to go along with other team-best numbers for batting average (.577), home runs (six) and RBIs (43).

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Baker also leads Center Grove in triples with three and runs with 38.

Q: Why do you think this team made it to the championship game when the previous five Center Grove teams have fallen short?

A: Because we all have each others’ backs. Every time somebody doesn’t technically do their job, the next person will step up and do that for them.

Q: What has been your best personal or team achievement so far this season?

A: The sectional (championship) game against New Palestine. It was good for the team, and it was one of my best games with us coming back in the last inning. I went 4 for 5.

Q: Any nervousness going into the state championship game?

A: I’m not really nervous because it’s supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be a game. I think we’re more excited to see that environment.

Q: What would a state championship mean to you?

A: It would mean the world. It’s something we’ve all looked forward to our whole lives. When we were little, we would always be like, “I want to be that girl in the state championship game.” That’s us, so we have that potential to win.

Q: What’s it been like to play for coach Russ Milligan?

A: (Laughing) I don’t know how to describe it. There’s not really a word to describe it. It’s hard, but we also laugh a lot.

Victoria Boyer

Third base

Victoria Boyer understands playing third base requires intense defensive focus.

Pitches might break, but she’s not going to get one.

Boyer has put together an impressive senior campaign for the Trojans with a .304 batting average to go along with 19 runs and 13 RBIs.

Boyer will play softball next season at NCAA Division II Palm Beach (Florida) Atlantic University.

Q: Why do you feel this team made it to the championship game when the previous five Center Grove teams have fallen short?

A: I think it’s because we’re all playing for each other. Everyone wants it just as bad as the next person, and we’re working toward the same goal.

Q: What has been your best personal or team achievement so far this season?

A: Probably the sectional games. Just all of them. We were able to fight back and pick up someone else if they weren’t having a particularly good game.

Q: Any nervousness going into the state championship game?

A: Obviously nerves are expected, but one of the things we’re trying to focus on is staying calm and making sure you’re staying within yourself.

Q: What would a state championship mean to you?

A: It’s what we’ve worked for all year. The very first workouts coach Milligan comes down and he tells us that we’re going to win a state championship this year.

Q: Were you at the 2009 state championship game where Center Grove beat Lafayette Harrison, and what are your memories?

A: Yes. I remember looking up at all the girls on the field and thinking how great the atmosphere was and how much I wanted to be like them when I grew up.

Q: What’s it been like to play for coach Milligan?

A: It’s definitely different than anything that I’ve ever experienced, but it’s really helped me grow as a player because (of) mental intensity and mental toughness.

Brandi Heath

Designated player

Playing designated playing and batting fifth means expectations.

Brandi Heath has lived up to them for the Trojans this spring, ranking in the top five in five offensive categories. She is second in at-bats (99), third in hits (39) and RBIs (26), fourth in doubles (7) and fifth in runs (23).

Heath, who will not play softball in college, plans to attend IUPUI and major in nursing.

Q: Why do you feel this team made it to the championship game when the previous five Center Grove teams have fallen short?

A: Obviously we overcame a lot of things, but I think it’s just teamwork. We’ve worked together for so long that it’s just become natural.

Q: What has been your best personal or team achievement so far this season?

A: I would say the first time we played Decatur Central. We won 1-0, and my base-running improved tremendously after that game.

Q: Any nervousness going into the state championship game?

A: I normally don’t get nervous. I’m excited more than anything. I’ve waited for this forever.

Q: What would a state championship mean to you?

A: It would mean everything. I’ve gone through back surgery and I had to quit softball and then came back. In the eighth grade I was out of school for nine weeks. Made it back for freshman year.

Q: Were you at the 2009 state championship game where Center Grove beat Lafayette Harrison, and what are your memories?

A: Yes. I don’t remember much, but I remember all the people and how exciting it was for both teams to be there.

Q: What’s it been like to play for coach Milligan?

A: It’s definitely … you can’t describe it. There’s nothing that compares to it. My freshman year I was scared to death of him, but he’s basically a teddy bear by your senior year.

Courtney Moriarty

Center field

Center Grove’s starting center fielder also serves as the Trojans’ No. 3 pitcher.

Courtney Moriarty’s versatility has her batting seventh in the lineup with a .386 average. She’s also 3-0 as a pitcher. She has worked 17 innings and has 21 strikeouts.

Moriarty will continue her softball career at NAIA Taylor University.

Q: Why do you feel this team made it to the championship game when the previous five Center Grove teams have fallen short?

A: We’re friends not only on the field, we’re also friends off the field. We always hang out and are always motivated. We know if someone doesn’t get a hit the first time, the next batter will get a hit and pick them up. It just brings us all together. Bonds us.

Q: What has been your best personal or team achievement so far this season?

A: We played Plainfield in the Trojan Classic. I was sitting in the dugout, actually, and Jordyn Rudd hit a line drive and hit me right in the head. I was taken out for that game and they thought I had a concussion. But I came back, and in the next game I went 3 for 3 with a home run.

Q: Any nervousness going into the state championship game?

A: I probably won’t know until (today). I always get a little nervous before each game because I’m just so determined, but I think now that we’ve made it to state I’ll just be real excited.

Q: What would a state championship mean to you?

A: It would mean everything because these past four years that’s all we’ve really wanted. Now that we finally got here we want to accomplish it.

Q: What’s it been like to play for coach Milligan?

A: I used to be scared of him. A lot. But my junior year when I started playing varsity and starting … he’s a great guy. The thing I’ve learned most from him is to never get down on yourself. He’s going to yell at you, but just clear your mind and go back at it.

Abbey Pratt

Pitcher

Every successful softball team has its go-to pitcher, and in the case of the Trojans that distinction belongs to Abbey Pratt.

The right-hander takes the hill for tonight’s Class 4A state championship game with a 21-2 record, including 19 complete games. Her earned run average is 1.51, and she has 161 strikeouts.

Pratt will pitch next season at the University of Montevello (Alabama), an NCAA II program 35 miles south of Birmingham.

Q: Why do you feel this team made it to the championship game when the previous five Center Grove teams have fallen short?

A: I definitely think we made it this far because of team chemistry. We work well together, we never give up, and we always want to do it for each other.

Q: What has been your best personal or team achievement so far this season?

A: I think winning sectional because we probably had the toughest sectional in the state of Indiana.

Q: Any nervousness going into the state championship game?

A: I won’t know until 7:30 p.m. (today). I usually don’t get nervous, but I’m sure there will be some butterflies.

Q: What would a state championship mean to you?

A: Personally, I think it shows that all my hard work has paid off. We’ve worked hard since February running our butts off, practicing, doing the little things.

Q: Were you at the 2009 state championship game where Center Grove beat Lafayette Harrison, and what are your memories?

A: Yes. When you’re little you’re like, “I want to be that player holding the trophy.”

Q: What’s it been like to play for coach Milligan?

A: It’s definitely different. He does teach us about tradition and winning. He wants us to do the little things right and play our best.

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.