(6-11-22) The Eastside Blazers are the IHSAA Class 2A State Softball Champions after beating North Posey 2-1 at Bittinger Stadium on the Purdue Campus.

June 11, 2022 (IHSAA Game Summary)

Eastside edges North Posey for second softball crown

Eastside pushed single runs across in the third and fourth innings and junior pitcher Natalie Lower made them stand up as the Blazers earned a 2-1 victory over North Posey in the Class 2A state championship game.

Lilli Cline tripled leading off the third inning and scored on a squeeze bunt for the first run before Mataya Bireley was hit-by-pitch leading off the fourth and later scored on a squeeze bunt by Grace Kreischer to provide the Eastside scoring.

Lower, meanwhile, scattered six hits and walked only one and allowed just one run in the top of the seventh to finish the victory.

The win for first-year coach Brennen Kitchen gives the Blazers (29-1) their second state title, with the first coming back in 1998.

Coach Gary Gentil’s Vikings (24-2) were seeking their first state title in their third finals appearance. Lauren Kihn scored the NP run after leading off the seventh with a single and the Vikings had the potential tying run at second base before Lower recorded a strikeout and coaxed a ground ball for the final outs.

Haley Lowe had two hits for North Posey.

Eastside’s Skyelar Kessler Earns Mental Attitude Award

At the conclusion of the game, Skyelar Kessler of Eastside High School was announced as the recipient of the Mental Attitude Award for Class 2A Softball.

The award is annually presented to a senior participant in the state finals who best demonstrates mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability and is nominated by her principal and coach.

Skyelar Kessler is the daughter of Brian and Nichole Kessler of Butler, IN and will attend Indiana University in the fall to being studying Biology. She plans to become a medical laboratory technician with the goal of becoming a medical laboratory scientist.

Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance presented a $1,000 scholarship to Eastside High School in the name of Skylar Kessler.

Do you remember…

In 1998 Eastside softball won the IHSAA Class A State Championship


Eastside (32-3-1) captured its first IHSAA team title in any sport as it defeated Riverton Parke 3-1 to win the Class A softball state championship June 20 at Cherry Tree Softball Complex in Carmel. 

After Riverton Parke (31-5) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, Eastside scored twice in the fourth inning and rode home for the victory.  

Sarah Ruckman led off the Eastside fourth with a double, and scored on Lindsay Mitchener’s triple to right center field. Mitchener scored on Karla Ridge’s double to make it 2-1 Eastside. 

Eastside added an insurance run in the sixth inning as Mitchener took first via a fielder’s choice, moved to second on a wild pitch, moved to third base on a delayed steal and scored on another wild pitch. 

Riverton Parke’s only run came in the second inning as Angie Bunch walked and later scored on Amanda Cleghorn’s single to right field. 

Eastside (3)

Sarah Ruckman, ss3110
Kelly Carpenter, cf3010
Lindsay Mitchener, p3211
Karla Ridge, 2b3011
Rachel Steman, lf2000
Trisha Shilling, 3b3000
Kritsten Brown, dh3000
Amanda Watts, 1b0000
Richelle Fuller, rf3000
Veronica Ranger, c2000

Riverton Parke (1)

Robin Nichols, 2b3000
Bobbie Brown, cf2010
Mandi Martin, p3000
Kristi McElroy, 1b3000
Cristina Lee, ss3000
Angie Bunch, rf2100
Shannan Walters, c2000
Rada Martin, lf3010
Amanda Cleghorn, 3b3011
Riverton Parke0100000131

E — Fuller, Ruckman, Walters. 2B — Ruckman, Ridge. 3B — Mitchener. LOB — Eastside 3, Riverton Parke 5. WP — M. Martin 3. SB — Steman, Mitchener. Umpires — Don Fisher (Home Plate), Ron Lowe (First Base), Tony Fornuto (Third Base), Doug Baker (Left Field), Danny E. Cook (Right Field). Time of Game — 1:52 (includes 21-minute rain delay).

Pitching Summary

Mitchener W, 23-2711336
M. Martin L, 21-57224211