Avon softball making noise early this season

Staff report

Harley Skinner doesn’t have a crystal ball to flash images of how the remainder of Avon’s softball season will play out.

The third-year Orioles coach is, however, partial to how it started.

By the second week of April, a program with 11 sectional titles and the 2016 state championship in its rearview mirror held an 8-2 record and had surged to No. 6 in the Class 4A poll.

Most memorable is Avon downing two-time defending 4A state kingpin Roncalli, 7-5, in the final of the Lady Braves Bash hosted by Terre Haute South. Along the way, the Orioles avenged an earlier loss to Bedford North Lawrence, 10-9.

The win over Roncalli was particularly notable.

Avon senior tri-captains for the 2023 softball season include Anna Bracey (left), Amanda Logeais and Mandy Lauth. The team broke Roncalli’s 50-game win streak. (Photo provided)

Skinner’s team chased the virtually unhittable Keagan Rothrock, the Royals hard-throwing senior pitcher who was in middle school when she committed to play softball at the University of Florida.

“(Rothrock) pitched the first four innings, and the score was tied, 2-2, when they took her out,” said Skinner, who at 24 is barely older than the players she’s leading. “They put in a different pitcher, and we got six hits off of her.”

Still a relatively young team, the Orioles are guided by three senior tri-captains in third baseman and cleanup hitter Mandy Lauth, centerfielder Amanda Logeais and Anna Bracey.

On paper, the Orioles look to be a year away from something special.

Or maybe that special is now.

“They just go right at it,” said Skinner of her players. “They play hard, they work hard and they battle. They’re talented, but they work and they care.”