Shelbyville pitcher Hannah File came into Tuesday’s Class 4A regional softball game against Center Grove fresh off a shutout of Bloomington North in the sectional final.
The Trojans’ lineup, though, has a way of making even very good pitchers look pretty bad.
Jordyn Rudd clubbed her 15th home run, one of 15 Center Grove hits in a 14-2 rout of the Golden Bears in a Class 4A regional game Tuesday night.
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Second-ranked Center Grove (28-1) advances to Saturday’s Bedford North Lawrence Semistate, where it will face No. 5 Gibson Southern in a semifinal tilt.
“We were ready to hit,” Rudd said. “It didn’t matter how good she was or anything. We were just ready to go.”
The Trojans (28-1) wasted little time jumping on File, hammering the James Madison recruit for five runs in the first inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Nikki Abrams singled in a pair of runs and Taylor Dishman knocked in two more with a triple. Tyler LeMasters capped the inning with an RBI single up the middle.
“The more excited we got, the more excited everybody else got, and the more hits came,” Dishman said. “It’s all about attitude.”
The Golden Bears got two runs back in the bottom of the inning, but Center Grove created plenty of breathing room with a seven-run third. A wild pitch scored leadoff hitter Jessica Lupinetti and Hanna Burris and Piper Belden came up with consecutive RBI singles before Jordyn Rudd lined a two-run homer just over the wall in right center. Abrams tacked on an RBI base hit to make it 11-2, and an error allowed another run to come home.
All the while, Center Grove pitcher Abby Herbst was on cruise control. After yielding two hits to open the game, she retired eight Shelbyville hitters in a row and 15 of the last 18 overall to finish it off. Herbst scattered five hits and struck out four without a walk.
Having wrapped up a state-record 15th regional title, the Trojans now turn their attention to the weekend and a four-team pod that features four of the top programs in the state. Should Center Grove reach Saturday’s second game, it will face either Greenfield-Central or an Avon team that has won seven straight since falling to the Trojans on May 10.
“Our semistate’s going to be really difficult,” Center Grove coach Russ Milligan said. “Everybody’s going to be good, and it’s going to be whoever doesn’t make many mistakes.
“From here on out, eight teams left, three games left — it comes down to guts. It comes down to staying composed, because things are going to go wrong. People are going to take things from you, because everybody does something really good at this point.”