High school softball semistate previews

The Center Grove and Edinburgh softball teams will be trying to play their way into state championship games today. In order to get there, though, each has to navigate its way through a tough four-team semistate draw.

Here’s a brief look at what awaits them:

Class 4A Bedford North Lawrence Semistate

Avon (21-8) vs. Greenfield-Central (23-6), 11 a.m.

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Center Grove (28-1) vs. Gibson Southern (27-2), 1 p.m.

Championship, 7 p.m.

Players to watch: Avon — Tiara Edwards, Paige Eichelberger, Haylie Foster. Center Grove — Piper Belden, Hanna Burris, Abby Herbst, Jordyn Rudd. Gibson Southern — Cora Blume, Jaime Nurrenburn. Greenfield-Central — Michala Ballman, Morganne Denny, Sam Kihega.

Outlook: The Trojans figure to get a challenge from the fifth-ranked Titans, whose hopes rest largely with Nurrenburn, an Evansville recruit and the team’s best pitcher and hitter. Gibson Southern avenged one of its two losses with a sectional win over Castle; its other came early in the season against Roncalli. On the other side of the bracket are defending state champ Avon, which lost a 6-3 battle with Center Grove three weeks ago, and Greenfield-Central, which has bounced back nicely from a four-game losing streak midway through the season. Life won’t be as easy for the Trojans today as it has been, but they still have to be considered at least a slight favorite to make it to next weekend.

Class 4A Bedford North Lawrence Semistate

Edinburgh (21-5) vs. Indianapolis Lutheran (14-14), 9:30 a.m.Lanesville (21-7) vs. Tecumseh (20-9), 1 p.m.

Championship, 7 p.m.

Players to watch: Edinburgh — Sidney Beier, Maddi Clark, Vanessa McManaway, Bailey Woodall. Indianapolis Lutheran — Katie Hopkins, Kimmie Kuehr, Gabby Moore. Lanesville — Laynie Collins, Katelyn Hurley, Katelyn Pavey. Tecumseh — Madison Duncan, Alicia Webb.

Outlook: Having finally gotten the better of nemesis Hauser, Edinburgh now faces another familiar foe — the Lancers and Saints split a doubleheader on April 22. On the bottom half of the bracket, Lanesville is riding high after stunning Borden in a sectional semifinal, buoyed by the arm of Hurley and the bat of Pavey, while No. 5 Tecumseh is itching for some redemption after falling in a semistate semifinal a year ago. With the last two state champions (Hauser and Borden) eliminated and only two of the seven teams ranked ahead of the Lancers still standing, the Class A tournament has been an unpredictable cauldron of chaos thus far — so there’s no reason to believe that the Lancers can’t keep their magical run going. Whichever team has the hot hand today will emerge.

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.