The 2012-2013 Minooka Indians Girls Softball Team were on a mission to win their first IHSA (Illinois High School Association) State Title and they did it in grand style as the SPC (Southwest Prairie Conference) Team pummeled St. Charles East Saints 14-3 in a 6 Inning Game at the EastSide Centre in East Peoria, Illinois for the Class 4A Championship.
Minooka (23-8) displayed their power versus St. Charles East (33-6) by hitting three home runs and establishing a state finals game record for number of hits in a game with 19 after Rachel May blasted a three-run home run down the left field line in the sixth inning. The Indians, who won 15 of their games by three runs or more were clearly the better team in this season's State Final Game as the St. Charles East Saints bats were silenced by Sara Novak who came on in relief after scoring all three runs of their runs against Indians starter Jackie Lilek.
The Wisconsin-bound Sara Novak wasn't only impressive from the mound either as she played a big role offensively with a 2-run home run and finished the day 4-4 with 3 RBI to earn Player of the Game honors. Rachel May finished 3-5 with 3 RBI while Jordyn Larsen went 3-4 and 2 RBI.
I don't think anyone would have predicted that the Indians would defeat a quality team such as St. Charles East by the 10-run Slaughter Rule as both of these teams have shown the ability to put up big numbers during these State Playoffs. Heck, I was almost expecting slug-fest similar to Minooka's 15-14 victory over Lockport Township in their Sectional Semi-Finals.
Going into the State Final Game the teams looked evenly matched as both teams had earned a +24 scoring differential with Minooka at 45-21 and St. Charles East 40-16. So a 14-3 score in the final game wasn't one I had anticipated. Both of these squads have used exceptional pitching and timely hitting throughout this tournament and appeared that the State Final would be no different.
But softball is a funny game. Sometimes what appears to be a great match-up to those of us on the outside looking-in turn out to be a rout because there just happens to be a team in the mix that has the right chemistry and that is exactly what the Minooka Indians had this season. They are more than a worthy Class 4A Champion but that does not diminish the talent of their opponents.
Unfortunately, the St. Charles East Saints were a quality team who just happened to run into a buzz-saw at the wrong time of the season. The Saints, like the Indians, had all the right ingredients this season. And their final record tells us as much as getting 33 victories in any season is something very special, especially in 4A Softball. So the Saints should not look upon this season as a failure because being the runner-up in the IHSA is pretty darn impressive.
And for those of us who follow the Southwest Prairie Conference, well, we just couldn't be prouder that Minooka has given us a State Champion. But even more important than what it means to the conference - this is something that means so much more for a school who has won a few State Championships in other sports but this 2012-2013 Minooka Indians Girls Softball Team will forever be remembered as the 1st team to achieve that status for that program.
And that is a mighty big deal!
Congratulations and A Job Well Done For The Lady Indians.
Tags: Girls Softball, High School Sports, IHSA State Playoffs, Illinois High School Association, Jackie Lilek, Jordyn Larsen, Minooka, Minooka Indians, Minooka Indians defeat St. Charles Saints for IHSA Class 4A Girls Softball State Title, Minooka Indians Girls Softball, Minooka Indians IHSA Class 4A Girls Softball State Champions, Rachel May, Sara Novak, Softball, Sports, St. Charles