INDIANAPOLIS (BVM) – Roncalli softball had another dominant season in 2022. Ranked No. 1 in the nation by MaxPreps, the Royals put together a special spring that culminated in a trip to the IHSAA Class 4A state championship game for the second consecutive year.
After going 31-2 and beating Lake Central High School to win state last season, the Royals were even better this spring, finishing a perfect 33-0 after dominating Harrison in Saturday’s state championship game with a 16-0 win.
Back to back state champs!! I couldn’t be more proud of everything that this team has accomplished and all of the records we’ve broke. This team will go down in all history books and will be remembered! #RtD #back2back @RoncalliSball @RHS_Athletics pic.twitter.com/nkpVvTuILx
— Keagan Rothrock (@_kea01) June 12, 2022
They are the fifth team to go undefeated in Indiana all-time, and the first since South Putnam in 2012.
A strong 7-1 win at semistate over Shelbyville got Roncalli back to Purdue’s Bittinger Stadium in West Lafayette, and they took full advantage. The state championship game started out close with Roncalli taking an early 1-0 lead. However, an eight-run third inning blew the game wide open with junior outfielder Lyla Blackwell leading the charge, setting state finals records with three steals and four runs scored.
Meanwhile, Roncalli did not stop there, putting up a state championship game record with 16 runs scored in total. They also set state records for RBIs (16) and hits (18). As good as Roncalli was at the plate, they were also led in the circle as they have been all season by the nation’s No. 1 softball player, Keagan Rothrock.
The junior pitcher was dominant as usual on Saturday night, coming out hot by striking out five of the first seven batters she faced. She would strikeout 15 Harrison hitters in total, throwing a two-hit shutout – and contributing an RBI triple at the plate – to cap a tremendous junior season.
As talented as Roncalli is up and down its roster, there is no denying what Rothrock’s elite play has meant to this squad over the past two seasons. After having her freshman season canceled, Rothrock’s first taste of high school softball came as a sophomore in 2021 where she went 24-2 with a 0.13 ERA and 364 strikeouts, throwing seven no-hitters and five perfect games.
Rothrock also hit .421 at the plate with 21 RBIs, earning Indiana’s Gatorade Softball Player of the Year award while also being named Extra Inning Softball National High School Player of the Year.
Coming into the season ranked as the No. 1 player in the Class of 2023 by Extra Inning Softball and MaxPreps, Rothrock was as dominant as ever this spring, finishing the season 28-0 with 381 strikeouts while throwing eight no-hitters. She also shined as a hitter with a .529 batting average and 14 home runs.
Already holding program marks for strikeouts, shutouts and perfect games, Rothrock now has 52 wins and 745 strikeouts for her Roncalli career to go along with an ERA around 0.40. She also holds an impressive .489 batting average at the plate.
Committed to Florida since she was in seventh grade, Rothrock also earned Indiana Gatorade Softball Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season as a junior.
I’m so grateful to be named Gatorade State Player of the Year again in Indiana! I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of my trainers, coaches, and especially my parents and friends. Let’s keep rolling, Royals! @gatorade #GatoradePOY #RtD @RoncalliSball pic.twitter.com/R2ID6wdsR8
— Keagan Rothrock (@_kea01) June 9, 2022
However, this time, she was also named Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year, receiving a special shout out from a previous winner, former UCLA star and USA Softball Olympian Rachel Garcia, in the process.
Congratulations @_kea01 !! It takes everything you have and more to become a National Gatorade Player of the Year. All that effort got you here, enjoy it for now, then it’s back to the grind.@Gatorade pic.twitter.com/Xznqsakdpe
— Rachel Garcia OLY (@raaaccchhheeell) June 10, 2022
A hit on a @_kea01 pitch comes few, far and in between. This future @gatorSB pitch has a bright future ahead. Congrats Keagan for winning the 2021-2022 Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year 🏆 pic.twitter.com/3xzgi6y75R
— Gatorade (@Gatorade) June 10, 2022
Of course, Rothrock’s elite play has not gone unnoticed amongst her opponents either.
“Keagan Rothrock is possibly the best pitcher ever in Indiana,” New Palestine head coach Ed Marcum said in a Gatorade press release. “There’s a reason she’s ranked as the No. 1 pitcher nationally. She is the real deal.”
The junior pitcher follows Oklahoma freshman Jordy Bahl – who had a tremendous first season for the national champion Sooners – in winning Gatorade’s national award.
While winning its fifth softball state championship overall and second consecutive, Roncalli has put up some impressive numbers including outscoring opponents 95-7 in its last 14 postseason contests. The Royals have also won 46 consecutive games overall, one shy of tying the state mark set by Lake Central from 2004-2005.
With most of the team’s core returning in 2023 including Rothrock, Roncalli should set that winning-streak mark and be a favorite to claim its third-straight state title as one of the best teams in the nation once again.
For Rothrock, she will likely maintain her status as the nation’s No. 1 player as she looks to top what has been an extremely impressive run for the Royals thus far. The USA Softball U18 National Team member’s future with the Florida Gators and beyond is as bright as any, but capping one of the best softball careers the state of Indiana has ever seen next spring will be the top priority.