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Roncalli’s softball team’s memorable 3-year run ends with state runner-up

Roncalli’s softball team’s memorable 3-year run ends with state runner-up

By Mark Ambrogi 

The Roncalli High School softball team’s remarkable three-year run came to an end June 10, but not without an extended battle.

Penn edged the two-time defending champion Royals 2-1 in nine innings in the IHSAA Class 4A state championship game at Purdue’s Bittinger Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind.

Roncalli’s eight seniors, led by one of the nation’s top pitchers in Keagan Rothrock, won 95 games in three seasons.

“It has been an incredible ride. Ninety-five wins for these seniors over the course of three years, two state championships and a state runner-up,” Roncalli coach David Lauck said. “They have completely energized our entire school. It’s just been awesome to be a part of and to be a small part of that as their coach.”

Rothrock had 17 strikeouts and allowed just three hits. Penn took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when a run scored on an error.

Trailing Penn 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh, Rothrock hit a lead-off home run on a 3-2 pitch to tie it.

Rothrock admitted she was emotional during the at-bat thinking she had to do something to keep the team’s hopes alive.

Penn scored the winning run in the top of the ninth on a triple and a wild pitch.

“We have a great community behind us,” Rothrock said. “I wouldn’t trade it for going to any other school. I’m so thankful to be a Royal. I love these seniors; they are like my best friends out of the whole world. We’ve been so much together. We’ve been together so much. (Catcher) Ann Marie (Meek) and I weren’t supposed to have a season, and we were able to play in a championship game. For both of us, it’s been so emotional.”

Rothrock had off-season surgeries on her legs and wasn’t cleared until the season was about to start. Meek broke her thumb and collarbone in the span of a month in January.

Rothrock, who is headed to play at the University of Florida, finished with a 25-2 record for the Royals (31-4-1).

The Roncalli High School softball team with its Class 4A state championship trophy. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi)

Roncalli left fielder Abbey Hofmann, who will play for Marian University next season, received the Class 4A Mental Attitude Award after the game. The award is annually presented to a senior participant in the state finals who best demonstrates mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability and is nominated by her principal and coach.

Hofmann was a member of Roncalli’s Student Council and served as co-president of Spirit. She won the Most Outstanding Female Mental Attitude at her school, and she had a total of 282 volunteer service hours. Hofmann is a two-time selection to the All-Marion County team and a three-year varsity athlete.

“When everyone stood behind us in the red shirts when we were getting our medals, that just proved to everyone how amazing this team is and all we’ve accomplished,” Hofmann said. “Even though this wasn’t our goal, we still accomplished so much this season.”

Hofmann said the girls have had so much fun together.

“That’s why we’ve been able to accomplish so many great things,” Hofmann said.

Hofmann, who hit .486 with seven homers and a team-high 51 runs batted in, said this experience should serve as motivation to returning players.

Two starters, sophomore third baseman Carley Keller and junior right fielder Emma Fegan, return. Fegan hit. .511 with three homers and Keller hit .504.” “Fegan and Keller will be the most experienced players returning – and they should be primed for big seasons in 2024,” Lauck said.

Sophomore Eva Hurrle hit .448 in 29 at-bats.

“Eva did hit well and will get a lot more plate appearances her junior season,” Lauck said. “The JV team was pretty good. We do have some talented young pitching coming up, which is great.”

Rothrock hit .490 with nine homers. Senior center fielder Lyla Blackwell, who will play for Virginia Tech next season, hit a team-high .546. Senior shortstop Lauren Marsicek, who is headed to Indiana State to play, batted .427.


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