Randolph Southern’s softball team has come a long way in a short time.
The Rebels already own two sectional titles, and recently captured the first team regional championship in school history.
This Monday, Southern can make even more history. The Rebels (12-12) play Frontier (24-8) at 2 p.m. in the Class A semistate at Clinton Prairie in Frankfort.
Originally scheduled for Saturday, the semistate was moved to Monday because of weather. Lakewood Christian Park (26-2) faces Pioneer (24-6) at 4 p.m., followed by the championship at 8.
The winner advances to face the North Daviess semistate champion on June 8 at Ben Davis in Indianapolis for the Class A state championship.
“It’s a big deal for everyone, the whole community,” said Randolph Southern’s Taylor York. “They’re excited for us. … It’s a big deal in town right now.”
The Rebels are in elite company.
Frontier is ranked seventh in Class A, while Lakewood Christian Park is No. 1 and Pioneer is fifth.
Randolph Southern already has knocked off one ranked team this postseason. The Rebels halted No. 4 Cowan 5-3 to win the regional title on their new field in Lynn.
“We’ve never been this big in the community,” said Courtney Bray. “Our team really has a name now. We really stand out right now.”
Southern has been playing standout softball in recent weeks.
The Rebels defeated both Monroe Central and Tri High to win the sectional, then avenged a regular-season loss to Cowan in the regional.
Second-year coach Steve Bray praised the Rebels’ pitching and offense heading into that regional game, and was happy with the improved defense the team has played.
“They set a goal to do this, and this is where we’re at,” he said.
” … I think it kind of puts you on the map a little bit. What it does, it helps funnel down to the younger group. It kind of gets them hungry to get a little part of the success, too. We try to keep them involved as much as possible, so they can share this experience a little bit.”
York hit a home run, doubled and had two RBIs in Southern’s victory over Cowan, while Bray, Morgan Acton and Lacey Covington also added RBIs.
The Rebels also benefited from another strong pitching performance from junior Sarah Snider. She struck out eight and scattered four hits.
Snider also was a member of Southern’s first sectional champion team in 2011.
“We’re the first team in the school to (win a regional), so it’s a big deal,” Snider said.
“We really took off quick. We’ve only had a team for seven years. To already have two sectionals and one regional, that’s really good.”
Frontier is from Chalmers, north of Lafayette, and comes into the semistate after defeating Covington 2-1 in the regional.
Lakewood Park and Pioneer both had shutouts on the way to Clinton Prairie. Lakewood Park halted Triton 9-0, and Pioneer defeated Kouts 10-0 in five innings.
Coach Bray said Frontier hurler Madison Hurst was comparable to Snider in the circle.
“It’s the same type of pitching we’ve seen in our conference all year,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to be anything new, anything surprising that we’ll see. But they are going to be a good club.”
The Rebels aim to continue the strong play they’ve shown at the end of their season.
“Earlier in the season, we weren’t hitting, and I think that’s why we weren’t winning,” Snider said. “Now our bats are really good. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Added York: “It was exciting to win regionals, but it’s a different level to go to semistate. … We’re going to have to keep scoring and putting runs up early, like we have been doing in the postseason, and just playing our 21 outs.”