Eastside’s McClain and Westview’s Antal play in SCAI All-Star Games | Evening Star
BLOOMINGTON — The 2022 softball season wrapped up Saturday with the Indiana Softball Coaches Association’s North/South All-Star Classic doubleheader at Indiana University’s Andy Mohr Field.
This year’s games were the most watched in the organization’s history, with more than 400 people in attendance and more than 800 online, according to SCAI.
The games did not disappoint on a warm, sunny day, with 42 softball players from across the state representing their schools, districts and regions.
Eastside’s Faith McClain and Westview’s Alexys Antal competed to represent District 2 for the North, while Blazers first-year head coach Brennen Kitchen was on the coaching staff.
The 2022 SCAI Coach of the Year, for which Brennen was a runner-up, was won by David Lauck of Indianapolis Roncalli, while the Miss Softball award went to Karissa Hamilton of Shelbyville, a signee from the University of Kentucky.
Hamilton was a member of the Southern team, which swept the North on Saturday, winning the first game 4-2 and the second 7-2.
Antal, a University signee from Findlay (Ohio), pitched the fifth and sixth innings of Game 1, giving up two solo home runs (one of which was to Debbie Hill, a Whiteland graduate and committed to Trine University ), and retired three batters.
“I was really nervous going up against some really good hitters, but it was fun,” Antal said. “I just thought about taking one pitch at a time like I always have and it was a good experience. To play today on an amazing pitch with amazing teammates is like a dream come true.
Antal also saw action in right field. She also beat 1-3 with a single in game two.
Antal added that the competition she faced was unlike anything she had played against at Westview.
“You have the top 42 players in the state playing on the same court, which is amazing,” Antal said. “I feel so honored to be on the pitch with the other girls and just want to say a big thank you to my parents (Mike and Heather). Without them I can’t be here.
“I also want to thank my teammates and coaches while traveling and in high school, my community who have supported me all these years, and then God of course for making it all possible.”
Antal said his favorite moment of the weekend was the camaraderie with the rest of the players.
“We didn’t know each other until this weekend two days ago,” Antal said. “And now we all come together and cheer each other on. It’s really revealing and fun to watch.
McClain, a Rock Valley, Ill., College signee, went 0 for 3 for the day and saw plenty of action on defense, starting the opener at shortstop and seeing time in left field and the second base.
McClain said it was great to have his coach in Kitchen also there and it was great that they both got to represent the Blazers.
“I would just like to thank my parents and all the coaches and teammates I’ve had over the years for helping me and getting me to where I am,” McClain said.
McClain’s favorite part of the weekend was the Friday banquet and being able to talk and bond with all the girls.
“It was really cool to be there with a bunch of other girls who also love the game and to be able to play the game that I love,” McClain said. “It’s great to see where everyone is going to compete at the college level. It definitely sets us all up for what we’re going to see in the future.
It was a very special weekend for Kitchen, who coached McClain in the final games of his high school career on Saturday.
“I’ve known Faith since she was in kindergarten when she was five and I was the principal of Riverdale Elementary,” Kitchen said. “It was really cool to be able to train her this year at the high school prom and then one last time this weekend.”
Kitchen also accomplished a very rare feat this weekend, not only as the coach of an All-Star team, but also having done so in his freshman year after winning a state title with the Blazers. .
“Those kind of honors,” Kitchen said, “…they’re more like team awards. You can do those things and be recognized because your team is successful. So it was more really about About girls than me.
Kitchen added that his favorite memory from that weekend was the banquet and reading about the accomplishments of players throughout high school, not only on the softball field, but also in the classroom.
“It was really cool to hear about the academic side of things from the girls and all the accolades and clubs they belong to,” Kitchen said. “Just being able to come up and recognize these talented girls was a really good time for me.”