News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

Top Story 3

June 11, 2010

Level-headed North softball ready to play for state title

TERRE HAUTE — Consider Terre Haute North’s high school softball players party crashers at Saturday’s state championship games at your own risk.

Yes, the Patriots have eight losses, more than the other seven teams vying for titles at Ben Davis. Yes, North’s next appearance in the 2010 state rankings will be its first — although the Patriots will debut at No. 1 or No. 2 if another poll is taken.

But being overlooked and underappreciated is a formula that hasn’t bothered the Patriots one bit so far this season. Considering the Patriots are 8-1 against ranked opponents, in fact, maybe it’s a blessing.

They belong. They plan to prove that.

“We’ve kept a level head, and we didn’t let people get to us,” senior shortstop Danielle Ketner said this week. “We weren’t talked up a bunch, but coach [Jack Kirchner] says if you have to talk about yourself, then you’re obviously not that good.”

Part of the reason the Patriots flew under the radar for so long was their own fault, they admit. Four of their first five losses came to small-school teams (South Putnam, Bloomfield, Clay City and Rockville). While they’d like to have those games back, however, the Patriots are happy about what they learned from those games.

“We just shook it off. We didn’t think anything about [the losses],” said sophomore third baseman Marlee Yeager, adding she and her teammates learned “to keep our heads in the game the whole seven innings.”

“As a team, we weren’t very confident in ourselves at the beginning,” added second baseman Hailee Travioli, another sophomore. “The game that hit us hardest was Bloomfield, because we knew we should’ve won … but we learned not to go into a game expecting to win.”

“Through the whole season we stayed positive and stuck to our goals [Big Four, North-South game, Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference, sectional]” said junior catcher Kelsey Coffey. “And after that sectional, we wanted more so we kept going.”

“We got 15 hits against Rockville and lost, and we’d already got beat by Clay City and Bloomfield,” Kirchner recalled, “but we were still going for the tournament.”

And despite some of those surprising losses, Kirchner said, he and his coaching staff were gaining confidence in their team.

“After the first couple of games, coach [Chris] Mundy said, ‘We’ve got something special here,’ ” Kirchner remembers. “These girls have worked hard, and they get along well. They’ve all come together, and they know how to get on each other the right way.”

They also appear immune to pressure, their coach added.

“They do not get upset and they do not get uptight,” Kirchner said. “They’re relaxed a lot more than I am.

“Against South in the sectional, they had the bases loaded with one out and their No. 4 hitter at bat, and she’d already had two hits,” Kirchner said to support that point. “I went out there and told [pitcher] Bethany [Sullivan] not to give in to her. Bethany said, ‘She’s not getting another hit,’ and Hailee said, ‘One ground ball and we get a double play and we’re out of the inning.’

“Sure enough, almost before I got back to the dugout there was a grounder to third, Marlee stepped on the bag and threw to first for the double play, and when they came in Hailee said, ‘See what I told you?’ ”

“I like pumping people up. I don’t play very well when we’re all serious,” Travioli said this week.

“We’re pretty relaxed about the state, but it’s exciting,” Coffey agreed. “For us to make it this far from the way we started out the season is a plus.”

“It feels great. I’m pretty sure we can win it all,” said Yeager.

“Sectional was our first major hurdle, but once we got that nothing was stopping us,” said Sullivan, whose pitching is certainly one of the main reasons for that. “We haven’t known much about the teams we’ve played [in the regional and semistate], so we just play our game … and I’ve always trusted these girls behind me.”

Not only are Sullivan and Ketner the team’s only seniors, but nearly half its players are freshmen. So what the two seniors have done off the field is probably as important as their many contributions on it.

“We’ve tried to be leaders,” Sullivan said. “We try to make sure the younger girls knew they could come to us … and when you gain the respect of your teammates, I think you’ve done a good job as leaders.”

“They are a young group, but they will take in anything you can give them,” Ketner said of her teammates. “We are a group that wants to learn.

“There were some games we should have won that we didn’t, but there were some games we won that we shouldn’t have won too,” she added. “You take what you get and go with it.”

Now the two seniors get to complete their North careers in the spotlight.

“It’s really nice knowing that no matter what happens, this is the last game I get to play,” Sullivan said, “and there’s no better way I’d rather end the season than the state championship [game].”

“It’s awesome to be able to have this to end my senior year,” Ketner agreed. “Only one team gets to end their season with a win.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Story 3
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit
NDN Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010