STEVE HANLON: It's Ladies Night at Indy Ben Davis

2013-06-07T18:30:00Z 2013-09-16T18:57:19Z STEVE HANLON: It's Ladies Night at Indy Ben DavisSteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
June 07, 2013 6:30 pm  • 

PORTAGE | In looking at the 2013 state softball media package, there is something different, trending among the eight programs that will fight for state championships today.

Half of the coaches at Indianapolis Ben Davis today are women. And all four of them are in the two biggest classes, Class 3A's Tri-West Hendricks' Stacey Rogers and Yorktown's Chrissie Saunders.

And in 4A we have Portage's Lisa Hayes vs. Franklin Central's Kathy Stricker.

Stricker is in her 34th season. She started coaching when most programs were coached by men. The other three female state finalists have eight years combined as head coaches.

"Our girls have really come together this year," Stricker said. "We had a late start because of the spring snow, No one predicted us to even win our sectional. But these kids came together and found a way. I am so proud of them."

Any wonder why Stricker has won 518 games in her career?

Hayes, on the other hand, has 43 wins in two years coaching The Tribe. But there are some similarities between the two, beyond having dugouts filled with talent.

Portage was batting .333 after the sectionals in my eye. The Indians played one good game out of three. The two bad ones did not give me any inclination that this was a team that was going to be playing for a state championship.

Honestly, one regional win was all I was seeing. If that.

But it was Hayes who brought in a broken-down sign that said, "B-E-L-I-E-V-E" and the "v" was broken off. Simple and silly, this $10 icon purchased at a gift shop has become a burning image of this team.

Do male coaches look for inspiration in a Hallmark store?

"I am so proud of these girls," Hayes said on Wednesday. "They could've quit many times this year but they did not. They refused to lose. They have found a way."

Now a good coach is a good coach no matter if they go left or right to use the washroom. The region has had many male coaches through the years who have been outstanding and we still do.

This area has had bad female and male coaches, too.

But there is a different aura about these Indians. They seem absolutely connected with their coach and her ideas. And this Girl Club has taken this program to the biggest stage in the state.

"Coach has been awesome," sophomore pitcher Kiley Jones said. "She's done a great job bringing us all together. We want to win this for her."

"We are a family," junior Alexis Johnson said.

We'll see how this continues. More women will likely get into coaching prep softball. I think this is good.

Well, if they are good, like Hayes.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best girls tennis team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Featured Businesses