INDIANAPOLIS, IN—As the rain clouds started to roll over Ben Davis High School on Tuesday afternoon, the Giants public address announcer let out a little humor.
"Has anyone ever seen the movie Groundhog's Day? For the third time, welcome to Ben Davis High School a for the Class 4A State championship!"
But if softball's biggest prize, which picked up from postponements after being delayed by storms on Saturday and Monday, was the sports equivalent of the 1993 hit movie, then consider Monday night as the final day where Phil finally lands Rita.
"It was amazing," said Senior Jenna Abraham. "I got out on the field, looked around, and I thought 'there is no rain today', so I knew we were going to come out here, we were going to finish this game, have fun, play well, and that we were going to win State."
The Royals confirmed Abraham's beliefs, pulling ahead 3-1 just a half-inning after the game resumed in the bottom of the fifth, and held on to ultimately defeat Terre Haute North for the championship.
"We told them day, after day, after day, to have no regrets coming off that field," said Royals Head Coach David Cook on how he kept his team focused despite the lay-off in time.
"Give us everything you have got, and don't think wow, if I would have went one step harder after that ball, we would have made that play. Give us everything you have got, get dirty, skin your knees, skin your elbows up, and you will have great success."
Nobody had greater success than Royals Senior Taylor Rager, who ultimately put Hamilton Southeastern on her back, pitching and hitting the team to victory.
After allowing a base hit to open up the game, advancing runners to second and third base, Rager struck out Amber Maffioli, and calmed down any nerves that she may have felt out on the mound.
"It just felt so much better to have those two outs," said Rager. "Just to get back on track and to get in a groove."
"Taylor pitched amazing," said Freshman Catcher Roni Patterson. "That was one of her best games from the whole season. And it was nerve-wracking for me, because I'm just the little catcher back there."
Patterson saved Rager on a potential wild pitch, who then closed out the inning, and the Royals headed into the fifth with a 1-1 lead. But for Hamilton Southeastern, it was more of Rager time.
With Jenna Abraham on second base, Rager knocked an opposite field double back to the fence, putting Hamilton Southeastern on top 2-1. For Coach Cook, it was the same clutch ability that he had seen over her entire four-year career.
"To break the 1-1 tie with a double, you are going to get that out of Taylor Rager," said Cook. "We got that out of her for four years, she started here in '07 when we won it, and she did it again this year."
"I think Taylor Rager is not only one of the top players in the state, but in the midwest. They went ahead and pitcher to her, and she just got the big hit."
But if a Senior was going to put Hamilton Southeastern up on top, then it was time for an underclassman to pad the lead. Enter a nervous freshman in Alyssa Buchanan.
"I was definitely shaking," said Buchanan with a smile. "But I have techniques I do, as I'm known as the flutie-finger girl on our team, and I do that to help me relax, and that definitely helped me a lot."
Buchanan smacked a line-drive up the middle to score Sophomore Kelsey Cornila, and the Royals took a 3-1 lead, and Buchanan could finally take a deep breath.
"We had to get on them," said Bucnhanan. "And just hitting that, I knew she was going to throw me a high, I had a feeling she was going too, and I just had to keep my hands up and drive with it."