Carmel’s 2015 girls swim team has established itself as perhaps the best in U.S. history and certainly the best ever in Indiana.
In conjunction with that, The Indianapolis Star is selecting all-time best teams in the 19 other Indiana high school sports. Selections were made in consultation with experts from around the state.
In its 30 years as a sanctioned sport, only a handful of softball teams have gone undefeated. Class A Whiting was the first, doing it in 2006 and again in 2008 behind ace pitcher Mel Dumezich. Class 2A South Putnam did so in 2012.
However, 4A Hamilton Southeastern is the only team to do to go unblemished at the highest level, winning the state title in 2007 with 31-0 record that had the Royals ranked 22nd in the nation.
As a team, Hamilton Southeastern batted .327. Its 978 fielding percentage tied for the best in state history.
“Offensively, we hit the ball up and down the lineup,” said veteran coach David Cook, who enters his 27th season as the Royals coach. “And our defense was really good.”
The defense had to be on its collective toes, because, as Cook noted, the Royals routinely fielded only a few balls each game.
That’s because pitcher Morgan Melloh was arguably the most dominant pitcher in state history. She was an All-American at Fresno State before transferring to Indiana University, where she was Big Ten Pitcher of the Year in 2011.
Melloh, who was Miss Softball, pitched 187 of the team’s 216 innings. She went 27-0 with a save while allowing just five earned runs, equating to a 0.19 earned run average. Her 426 strikeouts (nearly 2.3 per inning pitched) rank as the second-most in state history.
In the 2-1, 10-inning win over Castle in the championship game, Mellow struck out 26 of the 31 batters she faced and knocked in the winning run.
“(It) seemed like the perfect team,” said Melloh, who pitches professionally in Japan and makes her offseason home in Bloomington, where she works as a pitching instructor.
Six of the HSE starters – two of them freshmen at the time – went on to play four years of college softball. Junior catcher Brett Williams, who batted .419 and went on to star at Michigan State, was the anchor of the team, Cook said.
“We worked great together,” Melloh said. “The camaraderie was amazing. It was like a fairy tale, really. Our dreams came true. It was an amazing journey that season.”