Decatur Central Wins First State Title 5-2 Over Lake Central
Decatur Central scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and came back from a run down to beat Lake Central 5-2 in the Class 4A Softball State Championship game at Purdue University’s Bittinger Stadium.
The state title win is the Hawks’ first in program history after finishing runner-up in the 1999 and 2000 Class 3A State Finals.
Hannah Cravens singled to score Skylar Peace to tie the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Kaylee Gross scored the go ahead run on Kenzee Smith’s RBI double.
Smith and Cravens later scored on Karli Ricketts’ two-RBI double to put the Hawks ahead 5-2.
Lake Central scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a one-run lead before Decatur Central regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning.
Decatur Central (32-4), coached by third-year leader Don Ivey, first took the lead when Cravens walked with bases loaded, and Peace scored to put the Hawks ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Decatur Central’s starting pitcher, Karli Ricketts, went four innings with four strikeouts, two walks and two hits. Kenzee Smith got the win in three innings with a strikeout, two walks, a hit and two earned runs.
Lake Central pitcher Alexa Pinarski had four strikeouts, seven walks, four hits and one earned run in six innings. The Indians finished 29-5.
Lake Central’s Jessica Kiefor Wins Class 4A Mental Attitude Award
Members of the IHSAA Executive Committee presented Jessica Kiefor from Lake Central High School as the recipient of this year’s Mental Attitude Award in Class 4A Softball.
Playing left field, Jessica is a three-year letterwinner with the Indians and has been named All-Conference and All-Area and has shown outstanding leadership in Lake Central’s Best Buddies program developing positive relationships with students with intellectual and development disabilities.
Over the past year, Kiefor has also battled back after sustaining injuries in a horrific car accident just before the start of the school year and was told she likely would miss most of her senior season of softball. Using a tremendous work ethic and a grueling regiment of physical therapy, she was able to return to start the first game of this season and just graduated cum laude and has also earned Academic All-State honors.
She is the daughter of Ken Kiefor and Melanie Bennitt of St. John, Ind. She will attend Ball State University in the fall where she will play softball and study Psychology.
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance presented a $1,000 scholarship to Lake Central High School in the name of Jessica Kiefor.