Once upon a not-too-distant time, the area knew one softball power, and one softball power only.
In some ways, that is still true. The Trojans have countless postseason championships and are the only county team to have ever won a state title.
Center Grove, in fact, has an IHSAA-record six of those, the most recent coming three weeks ago.
That illustrates why the 2015 Daily Journal All-County Team is, as is often the case in championship seasons, Trojan-heavy.
But despite its legacy, which dates to 1986 with its first state title, Center Grove isn’t the only local team that has enjoyed success beyond winning seasons.
Five of the county’s six public high schools have won at least one sectional championship in its history. Two have won regional titles. And two have produced Miss Softball Award winners (Whiteland had the first in 1998 with Jaime Rasmussen; Center Grove had the most recent in 2015 Player of the Year Mallory Baker).
Moreover, five schools have seen one or more of its players receive NCAA Division I scholarships over the years, and all six have had players move on to various levels of college softball.
Recent examples include Greenwood’s Brittany Gray, who enjoyed a spectacular freshman season at the University of Georgia. And another Woodmen, senior-to-be Rachel Overton, is already committed to Boston College.
And there’s more.
Edinburgh is the county’s smallest school. But since 2010, the Class A Lancers have won more sectional championships than any local school. Three in all. And their 2011 regional title was the first by a county team since 2009.
There’s still more.
Because Center Grove’s state championship, earned June 13 with a 6-2 win against Lake Central, is still fresh in our minds, it’s easy to forget that the Trojans were not Class 4A sectional champions in 2014.
Not surprisingly, a parade of Grizzly Cubs from that team are now playing in college.
So as all of the above reflects, the county is not a one-program wonder. Not at all. It just happens to be home to the most dominant program in IHSAA history. The Trojans only enhanced that reputation with their latest state title.
With six in all, the Trojans’ tally doubles that of the next nearest programs. Lake Central, Roncalli, New Palestine and Andrean have three championships each.
In total, Center Grove has been to the state championship game an IHSAA-record 10 times. It boasts IHSAA records for sectional (20) and regional (14) titles and is the only program to have won a state crown in each decade since the tournament began in 1985.
That’s consistency and domination on an epic scale. Incomparable and in some ways incomprehensible, it amplifies — again — why all-county teams tend to be Trojan-heavy, and why the achievements of other local teams are sometimes overshadowed. Not overlooked, or underappreciated, but overshadowed.
For 30 years, Center Grove has cast a large shadow. Not only in the county, but across the state.
But other local teams are still shining through.