The Zionsville All-Stars fell short of representing Indiana in the Little League Softball World Series, but manager Keith Deaton said the team’s run was special.
“I couldn’t be more proud of not only how they played but how they represented the communities and their families as well,” he said. “Everybody in Zionsville really had something to be proud of as they looked back and reflected on this run.”
The Zionsville Little League 12-and-under All-Stars, who advanced by winning the state title, finished third in the Little League Softball Central Region tournament, losing 4-1 July 27 in Whitestown to a team from Ohio. Ohio was the eventual champion and will head to the Little League Softball World Series. The team beat Nebraska and Illinois in the first two games before losing to Iowa and Ohio. The 12-and-under age group is the only Little League age group that goes to the World Series.
Zionsville won the state title with a 5-1 record in New Castle. The team lost to Floyds Knobs early, but then came through the consolation bracket to win the title with a 10-5 victory over a team from South Bend.
“I think the team element was really evident,” Deaton said. “They wanted to play for each other. They had each other’s back. We had adversity early when we got bounced back into the losers’ bracket, but we fought our way back through that to win state.”
Deaton said he believed the team might overcome that adversity against Ohio.
“The girls fought and scratched, and we had some scoring opportunities that didn’t materialize like I wanted to, but it was a game for all six innings,” he said.
Deaton said he has coached the majority of the girls since they were 8 years old. His daughter, Olivia, primarily plays shortstop.
Nine of the 12 girls were on Deaton’s travel team. They teamed up three girls from other Zionsville teams for the All-Stars team.
“Our pitcher Sienna Kirschner had a great tournament,” Deaton said. “In the opening game, she threw a one-hit shutout against Nebraska (in a 3-0 victory). She did really well against Illinois. We scored 12 runs in that game. It was a night game and it felt like all the community came out to support us. It feels like we put a lot of emotion into that game. Our bats cooled off after that. We scored one run in each of those losses. Sienna’s pitching really kept us in every game we played in.”
Kirschner pitched 19 innings and had 21 strikeouts in the four games. At the plate, she was 3-for-9 with one run batted it in. Chandler Schaff was 2-for-7 with three RBIs. Allie Trout was 2-for-6 with three RBIs.
Deaton said catcher Amelia McKenna had a strong showing behind the plate and at the plate.
“She was pretty stellar defensively and hit the ball really hard all week,” Deaton said.
Zionsville won the state and region championships in 2021 and advanced to the Little League Softball World Series.