Roncalli named national champion by MaxPreps

Members of the Roncalli softball team probably wouldn’t be opposed to getting on a bus and driving to a designated midpoint between Indianapolis and Montgomery, Texas.

Once there — say, Little Rock, Arkansas, for instance — those who are part of the Royals and Lake Creek softball programs could reserve the area’s best softball complex for the afternoon, play a doubleheader and let the final scores speak for themselves.

Maybe this is how national champions in high school athletics will be determined in the future.

As it stands, Roncalli, which in June won its second consecutive Class 4A state championship with a thorough 16-0 shutout of Lafayette Harrison, proudly wears the crown for softball, according to the high school sports website MaxPreps.

Lake Creek (41-0) finished at No. 2.

“I think that would be such a fun game to play,” said Roncalli junior pitcher Keagan Rothrock, she of the 28-0 record and 0.70 earned run average this past season in leading the team to a spotless 33-0 record that included 20 shutouts.

The pitching matchup alone would be well worth the price of admission — Rothrock against Lake Creek junior and fellow University of Florida verbal commit Ava Brown (30-0, 0.46).

If only.

Not that the Royals have anything to prove after outscoring the opposition, 322-32, and belting 58 home runs this spring.

Every bit as impressive is that the Royals went wire-to-wire, starting the season at the top of the MaxPreps poll, inviting and absorbing the best effort of every opponent and never once flinching.

The fifth state softball championship in Roncalli history included MaxPreps putting Rothrock and junior outfielders Lyla Blackwell and Abbey Hoffman on its all-American team.

Roncalli’s collection of postseason awards also includes David Lauck, who was named the 2022 coach of the year by the Softball Coaches Association of Indiana.

“I think both the state and national championships are a big deal,” said Rothrock, a Whiteland resident. “It’s just cool to have the whole team recognized for that. One of the biggest things that helped us was our team chemistry.

“Also, it was our desire to win and to want to win.”

And though Roncalli wasn’t able to win its latest championship in an actual softball facility, its dominance from first pitch to last, from April to June, places the Royals in elite company historically in Indiana.

“I think it’s a really big deal,” said Blackwell, the team’s leadoff hitter and Virginia Tech commit in softball. “Coming from never being in the spotlight to being in the spotlight, it’s probably one of the coolest experiences.

“As a team, we never stopped and thought about how well we’ve done. We never once thought, oh, my gosh, we’re so good. We just went out and played every day.”