FORT WAYNE – Three area softball teams have found out that reaching the state finals last year was the easy part. Doing it again has proved to be more difficult but still doable.
Huntington North (Class 4A) and Adams Central (2A) will try to return to state in today’s semistate, and Lakewood Park (1A) will attempt to return to state Monday.
We didn’t have the best record last year, and they believed; it has just continued from last year, Adams Central coach Cary Blake said. Last year, we pulled up at the semistate and our kids were like, What are all these people doing here?’
They are really looking forward to going up there (this year) and playing because they know it will be a big crowd. They know what to expect, and they know the level they will have to play to be competitive to have a chance to win. It is pretty easy group to coach. I just guide them a little bit, and they play.
Lakewood Park won a state title, while Huntington North and Adams Central lost in the title games last year.
There was an uncertainty to it last year and a hope, Lakewood Park coach David Carnahan said. Knowing what to expect, there is a determination and preseason goals that these girls felt they could compete and get right back there.
There’s a passion and a confidence to get and compete and do it again. They have been prepared all season long. Through the postseason games, they haven’t taken anything for granted.
The Vikings got to the semistate by beating Carroll 1-0 in the regional; the Jets took out Bremen 5-2; and the Panthers handled Triton 9-0.
Experience has been big for these three teams as there is no coincidence they are the last area teams in the postseason.
They are a good group of kids who know how to win, Blake said. They have some goals set that they wanted to do, and they have done a pretty good job of doing it.
We have some younger girls that they have just pulled up with them and got them to play a pretty high level.
Huntington North and Lakewood Park have won three straight regional titles, and Adams Central has won two in a row.
One of the things the girls came up with was, Stay humble and stay hungry,’ Carnahan said. They have been able to keep themselves grounded. It is always harder (to get back) the second time in sports. It seems to be a lot tougher.