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Sectionals and beyond...
By DYLAN MALONE
It seems as though the Adams County schools are made for the playoffs here in the spring. This year’s crop of athletes seems to bring with them the chance to compete on a higher level with the big boys that perennially seem to make the headlines.
The group of Bellmont tracksters headed for Bloomington next Friday is a great example of this.
Bellmont struggled all season because of lack of depth. The teams that they faced in the NHC are all big time schools who find themselves at the top of the track game because of the amount of students at the school. There are bound to be a slew of talented runners, jumpers and hurlers with the amount of students at places like Homestead, Carroll, and Columbia City.
Enter the Squaws this season with their core group of girls Alexis Harvey and the Hankenson twins Bailee and Holly. Shattering records all season (most held by them already), the trio of super runners have been everything we expected and then some as fans. The girls are now headed to state putting their talents on display representing the little guys in a system that does not differentiate classes on the track.
It’s the same old song and dance that soccer, swimming, golf, and tennis players face each season.
What chance do these small schools have to make noise against the larger ones, particularly when we make it as far as the state level and see teams with Indianapolis in their title?
Along the same lines, that is exactly why Adams Central’s victory at Norwell’s tennis sectional was so sensational. The Lady Jets entered the post season as the smallest school in their sectional and already were the winners of the ACAC as the smallest school there as well. Topping Huntington North and the hosting Norwell team, AC made their sixth consecutive sectional championship and won for the second time in that stretch. More props to the little guy.
Switching over to the sports that have the class system, there have already been some heartaches for both Adams Central and South Adams this week in the sectionals.
With praise for South Adams boys and Adams Central girls for moving on, it was like fate dealt both ACAC schools in the county a poetic hand. After the Lady Jets beat South Adams two nights ago for the third time this season, the Starfire men looked to avenge the girls and did so with a dramatic win against the Jets last night at Indiana Tech field…the third time SA topped the Jets this season as well.
AC softball also won last night against Bishop Luers winning the sectional title, the second time that AC has beaten the Knights stealing a sectional title this school year (lest we forget the AC basketball team…).
There's a lot of (insert word here: poetry, irony, karma, come-uppans...) with both the softball and baseball teams of South Adams and Adams Central playing each other. Attending both games I had to obtain an equal amount of unbiasedness on the sidelines, which wasn't hard... I love to see both schools succeed as I spend so much time writing about all three schools in the county it's natural that I should want to see the kids I'm getting to know do great things. It was hard during the basketball season watching them eliminate each other as well.
I feel that the balance is a good one, however, with the Lady Jets taking the softball sectional and the Starfire men having great potential to bring home an eighth title to SA. It's easier to justify later that there are good things happening at both schools. Imagine how hard it would become for me as a fan if Bellmont ever joined the ACAC (red rover, red rover, send Leo right-the-heck out of here).
Speaking of which, Bellmont took care of business against the Mississinewa Indians, 18-0 in four innings, in a game that they were supposed to win. In my humble opinion, there is a big difference between winning games you’re supposed to win and making the statement that the Braves made last night on their home diamond. Heritage makes the return trip after topping Eastbrook and will look to avenge a loss to Bellmont earlier in the season.
That may be easier said than done, however, as Bellmont is clicking on all cylinders and are ready for the Patriots’ pitching. Hopefully, coach Ben Fawbush’s Braves will not need to pull a rabbit out of the hat to beat Heritage like they did earlier when they needed a few runs in the seventh to come from behind and win.
The Squaws also play tonight against the Norwell Knights. Bellmont’s sectional only got tougher with the shake-up at the start of the season but the Squaws have a real shot of winning the sectional title if they can find a way to best Norwell.