The Guerin Catholic High School softball team had a luxury most teams aren’t afforded.
Senior Alicia Flores and junior Izzy Kemp shared pitching duties equally.
“We were blessed with two of the most consistent and dominant pitchers in the state,” Golden Eagles coach Jeff Buckner said. “We rotated starts all year and never missed a beat. The team had total confidence whether it was Alicia or Izzy in the circle. The two of them are so competitive and so supportive of each other and their teammates and that rubbed off on the entire team.”
Flores finished with a 13-1 record with a 0.67 earned run average and 202 strikeouts in 83 1/3 innings. Kemp was 12-2 with a 0.53 ERA and 225 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings.
The powerful duo led the Golden Eagles to the IHSAA Class 3A state championship game before losing to Boonville 1-0 June 11 at Center Grove High School’s varsity field in Greenwood.
Boonville’s Jayce Purdy led off the seventh inning with a triple and scored on a squeeze bunt by Randi Jo Pryor.
In the first six innings, Kemp allowed only one hit and one walk. She had 13 strikeouts.
The Golden Eagles had their chances, leaving 11 players on base.
“We only trailed in three games all season and won in a variety of ways, including several close games,” Buckner said. “A lot of credit also has to go to Boonville as they made plays when they needed them the most. We came ready to play and had some pretty good at-bats each inning. We just couldn’t get that run.”
Guerin finished with a 25-3 record, with the only other two losses coming against Class 4A state champion Roncalli.
Senior center fielder Ana Macha had two of the Golden Eagles’ five hits against Boonville. Macha batted a team-high .630 this season.
“Ana has been our leadoff hitter since her freshman season and has been a consistent key to our success every year,” Buckner said. “This year she stepped it up another notch offensively, getting on base more often than not. Her stats are not by accident as she is one of the hardest workers on the team. Her speed on offense and defense make her an elite player for us.”
Macha was the one of six senior starters. Kemp hit .407 with a team-high eight home runs and shared the RBI lead with senior shortstop Aliyah Dorsey with 37. Dorsey hit .426 with six homers.
Buckner credited senior leadership for the team’s success.
“Having seven seniors, the team developed a maturity that allowed everyone to be focused every day, every game and every pitch,” he said. “We really only had to add one starter to the group returning from the 2019 season, and so the girls had a tremendous bond and were able to get out of the gate early. After our sectional loss in 2019 and losing the 2020 season (canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic), they made sure to not take anything for granted.
“Most of them have been starters since their freshman year and in many ways, as coaches, our job was to stay out of their way. (The six seniors starters) were high-level players throughout their careers and will be extremely difficult to replace, but one of their biggest contributions was getting the most (out) of their teammates, and their influence had a tremendous impact on the underclassmen as well.”
Macha and Victoria Flores (.333 batting average) will play for Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., next season while Alicia Flores (.359 average) will play for Maryland-Eastern Shore. Kemp (.407 average) has committed to play for the University of Dayton in 2023.