INDIANAPOLIS—The storybook ending would have been seeing the Adams Central Lady Jets pull off the unlikely and win their first state championship on Saturday afternoon at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis.
Unfortunately, sometimes the better team wins and AC came up short against South Putnam, a team who went 31-0 to finish off a perfect season and their second straight 2A title with a 3-1 win over the upstart Lady Jets.
After the contest, the deflated Jets had mixed emotions on their run.
"It's disappointing that we couldn't go all the way," starting junior pitcher Sydnee Peterson noted. "It's still exciting to get this far and we gave them a good game."
Senior DH Alexa Baller recognized the incredible accomplishments the Jets have achieved, "We had nothing to lose being the underdogs coming in. I think we did a great job this year."
Many had the Jets down for big losers against the Lady Eagles who have dismantled more than half of their opponents this season including a 10-run win just last week at the semi-state level to earn just their second appearance at state after a 28-1 season last year that resulted.
South Putnam’s senior fire-baller, Brooke Boetjer had barely been touched this season entering the championship with an ERA of 0.11 in 129 innings of work netting a 21-0 mark. That’s TWO earned runs against Boetjer in 21 starts for the math geek crunching the numbers.
And that’s not even looking at the Lady Eagles’ batting numbers this year (also led by Boetjer who bats cleanup). Five South Putnam starters came into the game batting over .400 compared to just Alyssa Keller (.505) and Bess Fiechter (.426) for AC. The Jets had eight homers entering the game (six by Keller) compared to 19 from the Eagles who have two players with five dingers each.
On paper, it did not look good.
But, as AC fans and the Lady Jets’ opponents have found out this post-season, numbers just don’t mean a thing to this group of girls.
Fiechter led off the game with a hard shot to second base that the junior nearly beat out and both sides of the grandstands were rocking with cheers. South Putnam fans rejoiced for the out, while Adams Central’s faithful were ecstatic that Boetjer was mortal.
Two batters later, Keller singled to left field and there was life in the AC dugout. Sammie Baker would end the inning on a groundout.
In the Eagles’ first frame, Jenny Thompson knocked a one-out double and then Boetjer stepped up one batter later with two outs in the clean-up spot and hit a one-hopper to the left-centerfield fence scoring the run and striking first.
After a quiet second inning from both squads, the Jets did what only two other teams this season could do…get an earned run on Boetjer. Senior Alexa Baller, AC’s eighth hitter and batting .207, opened the third inning with a single for the Jets. Mary Fox brought around the top of the order with a sacrifice bunt that moved Baller to second and then Fiechter’s groundout moved her to third. With two outs, senior Jenae Blackburn scored Baller on a hit to right field tying the game at 1-1.