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GREENTOWN—First it was the sectional, then it was the regional.
Adams Central softball teams had NEVER won either tournament in the history of the IHSAA softball post-season play. So the team that was 6-11 at mid-season put on a surge of epic proportions in May and ended up with both titles.
That advanced the Jets, now 20-12, to the IHSAA semi-state Saturday at Eastern High School in class 2A action and after defeating heavily favored Rochester 5-4 (ranked second in the state at 30-1) in the opening game thought "why not" to themselves as they faced Carroll (Flora) in the championship game that would send the winner to the state finals at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis this coming Saturday.
Why not indeed!
After spotting Carroll an early 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning, Adams Central tied the game in their portion of the fourth and then posted three big runs in the fifth before punching its ticket to Indianapolis with a 4-2 decision.
Coach Cary Blake jumped with elation as his Jets charged the diamond when first baseman Lindsey McDougall accepted third baseman Madi Schwartz's throw after a ground ball for the final out of the game.
"Hey, we get to practice for another week!" he exclaimed as he delivered high-fives to members of his coaching staff.
Adams Central pitching ace Sydnee Peterson tamed the Carroll bats on just two hits and came through for the Jets when it was needed.
Peterson retired the first nine batters of the game she faced and although she struck out just two, she induced 13 ground balls to the AC infield that gobbled up all 13 for outs, including the last three outs of the game as McDougall handled two unassisted ground balls and AC took a 5-3 play for the final mark.
"I tried to pitch the game for one out at a time. They (Carroll) had a lot of slappers so I knew my control would have to be there and not give them a lot of right down the middle pitches they could slap," Peterson said after the game. The AC hurler was in control all night long as she allowed only one walk.
With the score tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth, the Jets used some well-placed hits along with some fundamental errors on the part of Carroll to score three times.
Schwartz blooped a single over the shortstop's head to lead off the inning. Alexa Baller was called upon to sacrifice her but the Carroll pitcher tried to get Schwartz at second instead. The throw was in time but the Carroll shortstop wasn't at the bag and both runners were safe. Mary Fox bunted and reached base but Carroll caught Schwartz off at third and eventually tagged her out on a prolonged run down between home and third.
Bess Fiechter's solid single brought Baller home with the tying run at 2-2 and the speedy junior went to second on the late throw to home that didn't get Baller leaving runners on second and third. Carroll freshman hurler Carly Kingery retired Jenae Blackburn on strikes for the second out but then Alyssa Keller delivered for the Jets, just like she did in the upset afternoon win for AC over Rochester.