Last season’s end result wiped away a lot of those success stories.
Harrison’s softball team won a Hoosier Crossroads Conference and sectional championship. In all, the Raiders lost just three times while winning 25 games.
They didn’t win the one they desired most.
“We want to win our last game of the season and to do that you have to win a state championship,” coach Dick Mitchell said. “We want to peak right at the end and last year I think we maybe peaked a little bit before that. We saved our worst game for last and you can’t do that.”
Hamilton Southeastern defeated Harrison 7-2 in the regional and went on to finish as the Class 4A runner-up.
The Raiders have seven seniors back leading a group with unfinished business.
So far, they have the look of a team on a mission. It continued Tuesday night with a 10-0 victory over rival McCutcheon behind a dominant pitching effort from one of those seniors, Kaitlynn Moody. The victory improved Harrison to 6-1, the lone loss coming Saturday in a doubleheader split at Portage.
“We have so much ability in the lineup. Anyone can come off the bench and fill in. We work hard, we play hard and we do everything 110 percent.,” said Moody, who struck out 15 in six innings Tuesday.
Harrison’s senior cast — Kalyn Revord, Lexi Campbell, Savannah Gault, Maggie Shandrick, Shailen Johnson, Shelby Kyle and Moody — has the varsity experience to go with the talent.
Four of them were on the field for the Raiders as freshmen and Moody was the ace pitcher at Lafayette Jeff her freshman and sophomore seasons before transferring.
“The amount of senior leaders we have is amazing. There is not an empty hole,” Johnson said. “Every position has a leader around it or in it and you can tell the difference in the way we play, the way we communicate, the way we react to each other. It’s a different atmosphere having that many voices knowing what we’re doing.
For the third season in a row, Mitchell has put a senior in the leadoff spot.
Two years ago it was Alex Spitznagle and last season it was Hunter Bridge. Both seasons, Shandrick was the No. 2 hitter. She does not take her new role as the senior leadoff hitter lightly.
“I need to get everyone going. I’ve gotten on base 75 or 80 percent in my first at-bat every game. I didn’t today, but most games I have,” said Shandrick, who said her role as a leader on the basketball team has helped her transition to a similar position this spring.
In Tuesday’s home victory against McCutcheon, Moody added two hits and an RBI to her masterful pitching performance. Johnson went 3-for-4 and Shandrick and Revord also had two hits, as did juniors Katie Knox and Sydney Scott.
Through seven games, Harrison has outscored opponents 67-7.
“Every year is a new year and we lost some good people and gained some good people, so we kind of went into the season not knowing exactly how it was going to go,” said Johnson, a four-year starter. “But we knew our expectations. We know what we are capable of.”