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Rossville softball gets 2 shutouts to advance to the Class A state finals

FRANKFORT — There were seniors whose last game last season took place on the same Frankfort softball field.

And the season before that. And then there were those who hadn’t even had that opportunity, and who had endured the struggle to build a program to the point where it finally won a sectional championship for the first time two years ago.

Two years of semi-state heartbreak was too much for Rossville, yielding a high-scoring offense and a top pitcher who refused to be turned away this time.

The Hornets made it happen in two Class A northern semistate games on a rainy Saturday, defeating Morgan Township 12-0 in the semifinals and Tri 8-0 in the championship to advance to the softball state finals.

“Since the first practice, we have been working hard to get to this moment,” junior pitcher Avery Layton said. “We have the girls. We have the talent. It’s all coming together at this point in the season.”

More: How a lost title opportunity could be the catalyst for Central Catholic baseball in the postseason

Junior pitcher Avery Layton was nearly flawless, ensuring Rossville’s hot bats would hold up.

The Virginia Tech recruit struck out 14 in a perfect five-inning game against Morgan Township, then backed it up with 19 strikeouts on Saturday night, allowing three walks and just one hit, and a one-out triple in the 2e7.

“I knew my defense was behind me and the adrenaline was flowing,” Layton said. “Definitely one of my good performances.”

Layton also got leads in the first inning, 4-0 against Morgan Township and 5-0 against Tri.

Finley Gibson had a total of five hits that day, including two doubles. Addi Gorbett and Cayden Robey each had four hits and in total the Hornets (27-3) collected 24 in two semistate games.

Layton, Megan McDonald and Autumn Paschal all hit home runs, with Paschal seemingly being the one all but assured that the program would tear down the semi-state wall that stood in its path in 2022 and ’23.

The breakthrough for Rossville’s program wasn’t just about the 13 players on the current postseason roster.

There were seniors whose last game last season took place on the same Frankfort softball field. And the season before that. And then there were those who hadn’t even had that opportunity, and who had endured the struggle to build a program to the point where it finally won a sectional championship for the first time two years ago.

“Everyone who has come through the Rossville softball program has earned all of this,” Rossville coach Chris Gorbett said. “It takes everyone to get to this point.”

Rossville won’t know who it plays until the rain-delayed South Seminstate championship between Rising Sun and Tecumseh concludes Monday.

What the Hornets do know is that their season will end at Purdue University’s Bittinger Stadium, where they play for a Class A state championship.

“It’s a big deal for us to finally get over that, I guess you’d call it a semi-state slump,” senior third baseman Megan McDonald said. “This year the group of girls we have want to do everything they can and they are willing to put in all the work to get where we are.”

Sam King covers sports for the Journal & Courier. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @samueltking.