Edinburgh has a winning record, a sectional championship and home field advantage for the next round of the postseason.
Little wonder the Lancers feel good about their chances in tonight’s Class A softball regional.
“We’ve been competitive in pretty much every game,” Edinburgh coach Stephen Clark said. “I definitely think they’re going to be ready to play.”
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They’ll have to be.
The opponent is top-ranked, unbeaten Hauser (24-0), a defending state champion that appears even stronger this year than last.
Powered by senior slugger Leslie Simms and her sister, sophomore pitcher Tessa Simms, the Jets have seldom been challenged this season. In last week’s sectional championship game at No. 3 Rising Sun, they blanked the hosts 10-0 in five innings, sending a clear message they didn’t peak in the regular season.
But no matter. The Lancers (12-10) like their chances for an upset, and it’s easy to understand why.
Having earned their fourth sectional championship in the past six years, the Lancers are no strangers to postseason success. They won a regional in 2011 and have consistently been one of Class A’s most competitive programs.
Moreover, the Lancers are quite familiar with Hauser, a Mid-Hoosier Conference rival they’ve had success against in recent years and gave the Jets something to think about during the regular season.
Hauser beat Edinburgh 8-5 on May 5. But the five runs were the most scored against the Jets this season.
So the Lancers aren’t daunted.
“Our team has played, as a whole, a lot better than what our record reflects,” Clark said. “We’ve been competitive in pretty much every game.”
That’s because the Lancers don’t rely on any one player, or handful of players, for production. They rely on the entire lineup.
Offensively, the Lancers hit .325 and have scored 147 runs in 22 games.
Defensively, they commit few errors and boast a .903 fielding percentage.
On the mound, sophomore Madisyn Clark and junior Bailey Woodall split starting assignments and have a combined ERA of 2.78.
Clark’s record is 7-5. Woodall’s is 4-5. Woodall is also the Lancers top hitter with a .427 average.
“It’s been kind of by committee,” Stephen Clark said of the Lancers’ success. “Every girl’s had their ups, had their downs and had their highlights. Our pitching’s been solid. Our defense has been playing solid, and we’re hitting the ball well.
“As far as (an individual) standout, I don’t know. There’s nine of them.”
Hauser is also nine-players strong but does feature standouts in Leslie Simms and Tessa Simms, who have both committed to play at Indiana State University.
One of the state’s top hitters, Leslie Simms bats a team-high .659 and has 52 stolen bases in 52 attempts. She has also scored 53 runs.
Tessa Simms, meanwhile, is one of the state’s top pitchers. She has18-0 record, 0.49 ERA is also one of the Jets’ top sluggers with a .425 average.
But Hauser’s capabilities notwithstanding, the Lancers like their chances of claiming what would be their second regional championship.
“It’s kind of a rivalry game, and the girls are definitely motivated to play,” Stephen Clark said. “Especially being at home, I think it’ll be a good boost.
“I look for it to be a pretty tight game on both sides.’
What: IHSAA Class A softball regional
Where: Edinburgh Community High School
When: 7 p.m. today
Who: Edinburgh (12-10) vs. Hauser (24-0)