By GREG MENGELT
FLOYDS KNOBS —
Floyds Knobs’ 11-12-year softball All-Stars had been close to reaching the Babe Ruth national finals in the past.
They had made the Ohio Valley Regional in each of the past two seasons and lost in last year’s championship game to Shelbyville as mostly 11-year-olds in the 11-12 division.
Since that loss, the Floyds Knobs players made up their mind that they were going to get to Alachua, Fla., for this year’s national championship.
On Sunday, the goal became a reality with a 14-2 win over Prairie Village, Ky., in the Ohio Valley Regional championship game.
“It’s been the girls’ goal ever since they lost last year to win the regional this year,” Floyds Knobs coach Kevin Hensley said. “We kept chipping away at it. This year we were finally able to win it.
“They accomplished their immediate goal. Now we’re going down [to Alachua] to see what we can do down there.”
Hensley, who is an assistant coach to Jody Leston and the Floyds Knobs Babe Ruth president, believes his team has what it takes to compete for a national title.
The national tournament will take place Aug. 1 with the championship game scheduled for Aug. 7.
“We’re definitely going there to win,” Hensley said. “I think we’ll do pretty good. I think we’ll be pretty competetive down there. I think we’ll hold our own.”
After getting a bye to the state finals which it hosted, Floyds Knobs opened the post-season by outscoring its Indiana Southern State Finals by outscoring its five opponents 52-1. Following easy pool play wins over Rising Sun and New Palestine, Floyds Knobs knocked off Salem 8-1 in the semifinal and Seymour 8-0 to punch its ticket to the Ohio Valley Region.
“We’re pretty solid all around, but our pitching is our strongest suit,” Hensley said. “During the South State tournament, we received strong peformances by Abby Leston and Cassie Thomerson.”
At Fern Creek, Floyds Knobs went 1-1-1 in pool play then blasted Jeffersonville, Ky., South Bend Eastside and Prairie Village by a combined 31-9 to punch its ticket to Florida.
“It was a total team effort,” Hensley said, “with all of our players contributing to the Regional victory. We received strong pitching efforts from Cassie Thomerson, Abby Letson, and Amber Grooms, stellar defensive work was supplied by Bri Hall, Sarah Hensley, Gillian Coffey and Alexis McCullough. Kyla Weber provided solid catching behind the plate and her bat was red hot and she drove in multiple runs during the Regional tournament.
“Timely hitting and smart base running were supplied by Ashley Grooms, Molly Sneed, Kalissa Fosskuhl, Lois Endris and Jazzy Shireman. It was this well-balanced attack and total team contribution that spurred us on to the Ohio Valley Regional tournament title.”
ALL-STARS NEED HELP
The Floyds Knobs 11-12-year-old Babe Ruth state and Ohio Valley Regional champions are headed to Alachua, Fla., for the national championships. In order to pay for expenses, they are accepting donations at any Your Community Bank location.
Donations can be made in care of Floyds Knobs 12U Girls’ All-Stars.
South State Championship
At Floyds Knobs
Floyds Knobs 17, Rising Sun 0
Floyds Knobs 19, New Palestine 0
Floyds Knobs 8, Salem 1
Floyds Knobs 8, Seymour 0
Ohio Valley Regional
At Fern Creek, Ky.
Floyds Knobs 15, Johnson Co. (Ky.) 2
Floyds Knobs 2, Jeffersontown (Ky.) 2
Spencer County (Ky.) 9, Floyds Knobs 2
Floyds Knobs 5, Jeffersontown (Ky.) 1
Floyds Knobs 12, South Bend Eastside 6
Floyds Knobs 14, Prairie Village (Ky.) 2