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Preps Plus

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      Kurt Tippmann talks after the Panthers' 37-17 loss to Penn.
Cathie Rowand / The Journal Gazette
Lakewood Park Christian softball pitcher Carly Heibel warms up during practice Tuesday.

Greetings from state softball

Hello, all. Stacy Clardie taking over Greg Jones' blog for a bit today.

I'm here at the state softball tournament at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. It's a pretty impressive facility, and here's hoping the set-up of moving teams over to nearby diamonds to celebrate works flawlessly again today.

About 10:15 a.m. now, and the weather is OK. We should start on time.

First up is the Class A championship between No. 3 Lakewood Park Christian (25-5) and No. 6 Tecumseh (23-7).

The Panthers are making their first appearance at state and sounded confident when I spoke with seniors Alyssa Koorsen and Carly Heibel and coach Dave Carnahan earlier this week.

Koorsen, who has won four sectional titles and two regionals in her career, said the difference this season has been the team's mental approach.

"Every game in every season is going to be different. We definitely prepared more mentally this year than we have in the past," the Purdue commit said. "Just a combination of playing with our whole hearts and being mentally prepared really helped.

"Coach has us sit down and he talks to us sometimes half the practice just about mental stuff and he sends us home with probably a stack of paper that big" -- Koorsen holds her index finger and thumb about 2 inches apart -- "of mental preparedness papers to read. That has really been a key this year. Not that it hasn't in the past but just definitely more this year."

Though Lakewood Park has used a rotation at pitcher this year with Heibel and freshman Mikeila Boroff, it'll be Heibel who gets the start today. It's likely Boroff will pitch some, too.

The Class 2A title game will feature the only No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup of the day: top-ranked Woodlan (26-2) vs. second-ranked South Putnam (27-1).

Maybe the Warriors can use the no-respect card -- at least if they look here. Click that real quick and come back here. I'll wait. ...

Yes, you read that correctly. The state's top-ranked team is spelled "Woodland" on the rankings. Been that way for weeks.

Much of the talk leading up to the game is if Woodlan can have success against Arizona State-bound pitcher Brooke Boetjer.

What did Woodlan coach Barry Ehle have to say about Boetjer?

That his pitcher, Hannah Robbins, has statistics that are comparable.

"You like the fact that you've got a pitcher like that on your side," Ehle said of Robbins, a sophomore who is 24-2 with a 0.35 ERA and 287 strikeouts in 181 innings. "I wouldn't want to face Hannah. If Hannah was on the other side against us, I wouldn't like that.

"We've got people who have seen (Boetjer) play in the summer and they know what she's capable of doing. It's just you're there, you've got that opportunity. Be prepared, do the best you can and look for that one inning and capitalize the best you can."

High School Sports Editor Greg Jones on prep sports.