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There are no losers at the state finalsPosted Monday, June 15, 2009, at 5:33 PM
INDIANAPOLIS -- There is no shame in losing in the finals of any sport. Just ask Karl Malone, John Stockton, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and Reggie Miller to name a few.
That quintet all played in the NBA Finals, but have no championship rings to show for it. Were they losers, I don't think so.
Neither was the Linton-Stockton High School softball team, that went where no Lady Miner athletic team went before -- to the Class 2A state championship game or a title game of any kind.
Although the local ladies beat Wheeler 5-2 in the state semifinals Friday night at Indy North Central, they lost 1-0 in the title game to Madison-Grant at Ben Davis Saturday.
While speaking with Linton-Stockton athletic director Charlie Karazsia Sunday for a story about Izzy Carpenter winning the Mental Attitude Award (see front page), we came up with the following conclusion, "There are no losers in a championship game."
"They did a great job of representing their team, their school and their community well," said Karazsia. "They made everyone proud associated with Linton."
Karazsia said that he saw one of the four Lady Miner seniors -- Brittany Rehmel -- in church Sunday and she had come up with a conclusion of her own.
She said, 'The sun came up this morning. We were second in the state among all the teams in Class 2A. That is pretty special.'
Carpenter, who went 2-for-3 in the title game with a double, probably had to deal with the biggest roller coaster of all the Lady Miners as she had to shake off the loss and smile for the camera after winning the most coveted award any high school athlete in Indiana can win.
"We had a great season, the best ever by a girls team at Linton," said Carpenter. "I want to thank all the people that supported and encouraged us this season.
"We made history. This has definitely made us known. We made our mark. If people didn't know about our program ... now they know."
As noted in area papers over the weekend already, there were so many close plays and bounces of the ball that went against the Lady Miners.
When you get on a run in the tournament, everything has to go your way, and it did for this softball team, that finished 21-6 and have no reason to hang their heads, until the championship game.
"It was frustrating," said Carpenter. "We were so close to winning a state championship.
"We hit the ball right at them, but you have to give them credit for making the plays."
It seemed like months since this Lady Miner squad made an error and it probably has been close to a month. Although they were not charged with any against the Lady Argylls, there were times where they just missed coming up with a timely defensive play, something they had made during their tournament run, or that timely hit. Madison-Grant seemed to have Lady Luck, something you can't win a championship without, on their side Saturday afternoon.
The bigger the stage, the smaller the difference between winning and losing, especially in softball.
The Lady Miners lose Carpenter, Rehmel, Cortney Astleford and Taneal Church to graduation.
This year's fantastic, wonderful, incredible, astonishing and fabulous journey is over, but could their be another in the future? Only time will tell. Congratulations to all involved.
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (812) 847-4487, ext 12.
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