Walesky, Rothrock power Roncalli to state softball title

By Mark Ambrogi

The Roncalli Royals celebrate after winning the IHSAA Class 4A state softball championship June 12, 2021, at Russ Milligan Field at Center Grove Elementary School, Greenwood. The Royals defeated Lake Central High School 4-1. Look for more photos and story in the June 17 issue of The Southside Times.  (Photo by Jacob Musselman)

Roncalli High School catcher Ally Walesky made a little state championship history.

The Royals junior set a Class 4A record with two homers to power No. 2 Roncalli to a 4-1 victory over No. 2 Lake Central June 12 in the IHSAA 4A state softball state championship at Russ Milligan Field at Center Grove Elementary School. Both teams finished 31-2

The only other time a player hit two homers in a state championship game was Elkhart Central’s Angie Lightfoot in 1990.

“I had to come through for Keagan (Rothrock). I had to put runs on the board for her. She is one heck of a pitcher.”

Rothrock, a sophomore, struck out 16, allowed four hits and two walks.

Walesky doubled her home run output for the season in the game.

“I’ don’t normally have a lot of power, line drives is what I do,” Walesky said.

Roncalli coach David Lauck said Walesky earned the spotlight.

“She works hard at practice,” Lauck said. “She’s an awesome teammate. If anyone deserves to be MVP of the game, it’s Ally Walesky.”

Roncalli scored first in the first inning when senior Chloe Parks tripled and scored on a groundout by Rothrock. Cate Lehner doubled and scored on Walesky’s 2-run homer in the second inning to make it 3-0

After Lake Central scored on Jolie Adams’ run-scoring double in the top of the fifth, Walesky belted a solo homer in the fifth.

“We knew they would put the ball in play,” Lauck said of the Indians. “That’s a really good team. The one time they threatened, Keagan got out of the jam. That’s what Keagan does.”

Rothrock, who entered the game with a 0.14 earned run average, finished with a 24-2 record. Lauck said Rothrock, who had 364 strikeouts in 160 1/3 innings, is the most dominant pitcher he has ever coached.

“If I’m going to old West gun battle, I’m taking the best gunslinger out there and it’s Keagan Rothrock,” said Lauck, in his 13th year as Royals coach.

Rothrock, one of the nation’s top high school pitchers, committed to University of Florida as a seventh grader.

“I feel like we peaked at a really good time and I’m proud of us,” Rothrock said. “We have a great team chemistry. I’m excited for next season, but I’m sad to lose the seniors. They are a big, big part of our team chemistry.”

It was the second state championship for Lauck as coach, whose Royals won the Class 3A in 2011. Roncalli also won the Class 2A title in 1999 and 2001, making It the first school to win in three classes. The future is bright with Rothrock and other key starters returning

“This tournament run has been challenging and makes them better ballplayers and tougher ballplayers,” Lauck said.