Softball: All-County team

Riley Janda knows how to make a closing statement.

She was a starter from the first day of her freshman season at Center Grove and had always made an impact, but Janda had no desire to coast to the finish line — and the results reflect that.

After driving in 52 runs over her first three years, Janda knocked in 59 this spring alone, third among all Indiana players and first in Class 4A. She hit 11 of her 14 career home runs and half of her 12 career triples on the way to a lofty .515 batting average, and added 22 stolen bases for good measure.

Janda kicked it up a notch this season in every facet of the game, making the Trojan shortstop a relatively easy choice as the Daily Journal Player of the Year.

”I just had a lot more confidence this year,” she said, “and I knew what I wanted. I didn’t want to waste my senior year, and I just wanted to capitalize on what I had left. And with my teammates around me, I think that it just helped me have the confidence, too, to know that I can do it.”

From the beginning of the season, it was clear that Janda had reached a new level. She went 11 for 18 with 13 RBIs over the Trojans’ first six games, and she didn’t slow down a bit from there. Janda had a home run and four RBIs in a 7-5 victory over Avon, drove in five runs in an 8-7 triumph over Bedford North Lawrence and three more in the Johnson County tournament final against Indian Creek.

Janda continued to deliver in the postseason. She went 3 for 4 with a home run and four RBIs in the sectional championship rout of Mooresville — and then, with her team struggling to generate offense in a regional game at East Central, she hammered a three-run homer to right field to lift Center Grove to a 3-1 win.

How did Janda manage to always come through in the clutch?

“A big part of it is obviously adjustments; I was making a lot of adjustments through the game,” she said. “But I didn’t feel like the pressure was always on me, and I think that’s a big part of my success this year — feeling like it’s not all on my end. If I don’t get the hit, my teammates will get the hit.”

The Trojans certainly had plenty of talent surrounding her — classmate Hannah Haberstroh, another four-year starter, joined Janda on the All-State first team, and numerous other teammates will play Division I college softball somewhere. But in 2024, No. 8 sparkled a bit more brightly than any of those other stars.

“She’s just a beast,” Center Grove coach Alyssa Coleman said early in the season, a statement that she either repeated or paraphrased numerous other times throughout the remainder of the schedule.

Her high school career now behind her, Janda will play in a few travel tournaments this summer before heading down I-65 to attend the University of Louisville, where she’ll be wearing a similarly colored uniform but facing a higher level of competition.

She’s looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s going to be a really big step,” Janda said. “I’m definitely going to have to compete, and that’s what I signed up for. Obviously, I’m going in for the starting position, but I’m going to have to work for it, and I have never not worked for my position, so I’m excited to just compete.”

Might not be quite as exciting for anybody who’s going up against her.


The 2024 All-County softball team:

Adeline Blackwell, Franklin junior: Earned second team All-State honors after hitting .500 with six doubles, three triples, 34 runs scored and 24 stolen bases … Anchored the Grizzly Cub defense as a third-year starter at short.

Alli Gavin, Indian Creek senior: Second team All-State pick who was among the top defensive catchers in the state while leading a young Braves team … Hit .286 with two homers and 13 RBIs … Will play at Indiana University.

Hannah Haberstroh, Center Grove senior: First team All-State selection batted at a .542 clip with seven doubles, two triples, three home runs, 22 stolen bases, 36 runs scored and 25 driven in … Signed with Ohio State.

Courtney Hankenhoff, Greenwood senior: Led an impressive turnaround season by the Woodmen, hitting .494 with six doubles, five triples, three home runs and 21 RBIs … Pitched 122 2/3 innings, striking out 111 batters.

Riley Henson, Center Grove senior: Despite being limited by injury, started all of the Trojans’ biggest games down the stretch and finished with a 2.16 earned-run average over 70 2/3 innings … Will pitch at Indiana State.

Sydney Herrmann, Center Grove junior: A mainstay in the heart of the Trojan lineup, the first baseman batted .409 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs to help lead Center Grove to the Class 4A semistate title game.

Riley Janda, Center Grove senior: Ranked among the state leaders in several categories, hitting .515 with 14 doubles, six triples, 11 homers, 59 RBIs and 22 steals … First team All-State … Signed to play at Louisville.

Delaney Jones, Indian Creek sophomore: Swung a big bat for the Braves, hitting .419 with eight home runs and 27 runs batted in … Also finished with a 3.10 ERA and struck out 110 batters over 88 innings in the pitching circle.

Aubrey Leugers, Franklin sophomore: Provided both speed and power for the Grizzly Cubs, stealing 13 bases and clubbing a team-best nine home runs … Batted .329 with five doubles, three triples and 40 runs batted in.

Brynn Meyer, Center Grove sophomore: Second baseman led the 4A regional champ Trojans with 37 runs scored while hitting .469 with three triples, 17 RBIs and 21 stolen bases … Posted a .500 on-base percentage.

Kyah Streeval, Edinburgh senior: Ranked second in the state with a .667 batting average while also collecting 15 doubles, six triples, two homers, 28 runs, 24 RBIs and 10 steals … Third team All-State pick and class valedictorian.

Kiley Sullivan, Whiteland junior: Batted an even .500 at the top of the Warrior lineup, scoring 31 runs and driving in 16 while adding four triples and 15 steals … Excelled defensively in the outfield and pitched 42 1/3 innings.

Honorable mention

Taylor Barrett, Center Grove; Madi Bracken, Indian Creek; Emma Chism, Greenwood; Jordyn Crouch, Whiteland; Sophia Doyle, GCA; Josslynn Harbert, Whiteland; Haylie Hendricks, Greenwood; Addison Martin, Franklin; Mae Munson, Center Grove; Maddy Myers, Whiteland; Annabelle Richter, Franklin; Addie Schaub, Indian Creek; Kenna Streeval, Edinburgh; Kristen Soots, Indian Creek; Madisyn Tharpe, Center Grove; Sydney Waldron, GCA