The list of individual honors continues to pour in for Center Grove first baseman Mallory Baker.
But this one the senior isn’t sharing.
Recently named Indiana’s Co-Miss Softball with Portage pitcher Kiley Jones, the latest accolade is of the local variety. Baker has been selected the Daily Journal’s Player of the Year.
Baker, who bats left-handed and is signed to play at Purdue University, batted .560 this season in leading the Trojans to a 29-2 record and the Class 4A state championship June 13.
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At the June 27 North/South All-Star doubleheader, she shared the Indiana Miss Softball Award with Jones. The honor is voted on and presented by members of the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association board.
Baker is the second Center Grove player to win the Miss Softball award. The first was pitcher Darcy Wood in 2004.
Trojans coach Russ Milligan, who just finished his 24th season, said Baker personifies the Miss Softball honor.
“Mallory was an exceptional leader. The more she worried about how others were following her work ethic and the traditions of Center Grove softball, the better she played,” Milligan said. “She played relaxed all year because she really had faith in what her teammates could do and what this team could accomplish.”
Baker led Center Grove this season in batting average, hits (56), runs (39), RBI (43), doubles (17), triples (3) and home runs (6). Her on-base percentage was a scalding .614, which included being struck out only three times in a total of 100 at-bats.
Five of Baker’s Trojans teammates join her on the All-County Team: seniors Abbey Pratt, Brandi Heath and Courtney Moriarty; junior second baseman Mandy Dallas; and freshman outfielder Jordyn Rudd.
Greenwood was next with three representatives: junior do-everything Megan Overton, sophomore Ryan Bauer and freshman Samantha DeCastro. Whiteland senior Monica Collins and Indian Creek junior Sydney Williams also were chosen.
All were exceptional, though Baker flirted with great, managing at least one base hit in every one of Center Grove’s first 23 games this season.
Overall, she went hitless in only three of the Trojans’ 31 games and produced two or more hits on 20 occasions.
Perhaps most impressive is Baker’s season-high four hits in Center Grove’s come-from-behind extra-inning 8-7 sectional victory against New Palestine to keep the Trojans’ Class 4A title hopes alive.
Yet to her, being able to refer to herself as a state champion easily dwarfs all else.
“Every year the very first practice coach Milligan holds he says, ‘Alright, if you’re not here to win a state championship then you can just leave right now.’ It’s set from the beginning that that’s your expectation and that’s what you’re working toward,” Baker said.
“Obviously I’m going to be proud of myself for some of the accomplishments I’ve had. At the same time a state championship rules everything. For us to not get out of sectionals the past five to six years was really a bummer. This year we made a run and it was awesome.”
Like many of Center Grove’s outstanding softball players of seasons past, Baker made significant contributions as a freshman and sophomore. Last spring she hit .378 with four doubles and 22 RBI before busting loose with her monster senior season.
Put in hitting terms, her high school career cleared the outfield fence with room to spare.
“It’s been a fun four years. Kind of bittersweet that I’ll never be back playing Center Grove softball, but it was awesome to go out with a bang and have a great senior year with my team,” Baker said. “I would’ve expected nothing less than a state championship from us. It’s a team sport, so we all started playing for each other.
“The underclassmen were saying, ‘We’re going to do this for the seniors.’ Everybody having each other’s backs along the way helped a lot.”
2015 DAILY JOURNAL ALL-COUNTY SOFTBALL TEAM
*Mallory Baker;Center Grove;Infield;Senior — .560 average / 39 runs / 43 RBI / 17 doubles / 6 HR
Ryan Bauer;Greenwood;Infield;Sophomore — .349 average / 17 runs / 16 RBI / 9 doubles / 12 SB
Monica Collins;Whiteland;Outfield;Senior — .302 / 11 runs / 7 RBI / 5 doubles / 6 SB
Mandy Dallas,Center Grove;Infield;Junior — .375 average / 27 runs / 25 RBI / 11 doubles / 2 HR
Samantha DeCastro;Greenwood;Outfield;Freshman — .351 average / 17 runs / 18 RBI / 5 doubles / 17 SB
Brandi Heath;Center Grove;Designated player;Senior — .382 average / 24 runs / 26 RBI / 7 doubles
Courtney Moriarty;Center Grove;Outfield;Senior — .380 average / 16 runs / 21 RBI / 6 doubles / 4 HR
Megan Overton;Greenwood;Pitcher;Junior — .418 average / 26 runs / 11 RBI / 14 doubles / 37 SB / pitching: 14-3 / 2.56 ERA / 107 2/3 IP / 160 strikeouts / 20 walks
Abbey Pratt;Center Grove;Pitcher;Senior – Pitching: 22-2 / 1.49 ERA / 154 2/3 IP / 168 strikeouts / 45 walks
Jordyn Rudd;Center Grove;Outfield;Freshman — .516 average / 33 runs / 33 RBI / 10 doubles / 3 HR / 5 SB
Sydney Williams;Indian Creek;Outfield;Junior — .500 average / 17 runs / 22 RBI / 7 doubles / 2 HR
Center Grove – Delainey Turner, Maddie Keeley, Victoria Boyer, Maddie London,
Edinburgh – Vanessa McManaway, Courtney Woodall, Madisyn Clark
Franklin – Sydney Logsdon, Shelby Taylor
Greenwood – Emily Ott, Paige Wilson, Natalie Raker
Greenwood Christian Academy – Isabella Roby, Brianna Lawrence, Bethany Dailey
Indian Creek – Dori Knight, Kasey Wilhoit, Brittany Dugan, Michaela Smith
Whiteland – Andi Stewart, Hannah Upchurch, Lauren Prohl, Skye Scott, Danielle Munn