Penn softball looks to spoil Roncalli’s bid for three-peat

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 7:10 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - The Penn Kingsmen will play in the last IHSAA softball game of 2023 — the Class 4A state championship game to wrap up the weekend in West Lafayette.

2016 was the last time anyone from Penn softball played in a state championship. Their opponent from the south, Indianapolis Roncalli, was there last year and the year before that. Both trips resulted in a championship.

So, the pressure falls on them. Penn can walk in carefree.

“We have nothing to lose, we have no fear,” says head coach Beth Zachary. “We’re just super excited for the opportunity to play competition like that. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. . . You have to go in there, and you have to go into battle. And we just have to trust our training and our preparation and play with our hearts.”

Zachary’s players agree.

“We’re just going to play our heart out and leave it all on the field,” says shortstop Kiley Hinton. “We’re definitely a team that can compete and we can win. We’ve just got to play together — one out at a time, one pitch at a time — and just don’t let the moment get too big and be grateful that we’re there.”

Penn’s only state championship in softball came back in 1999. The players say winning a state title for the first time in 24 years would mean a lot for them and the Penn community.

“I think it would be great,” says pitcher Aubrey Zachary. “As a community, I think we’re just continuing a legacy, no matter what. I’ve grown up watching this team since I was little, so I think it’s something super special that I get to be a part of.”

“I’ve been dreaming for this moment since I was a little kid, and we’re prepared,” Hinton says. “This was one of our goals for the longest times ever, and to be there is an accomplishment. But to win it is even bigger, and that’s what we want to do. We’re going in to win this game.”

Penn (27-4-1) and Roncalli (31-3-1) will face each other on Saturday, June 10, at Purdue’s Bittinger Stadium. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.

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