By Mark Morrow — HSE Royals Sports Media
It was a night to remember for the Royals Nation.
It was a walk down Memory Lane for the 2007 Hamilton Southeastern IHSAA Class 4A state championship softball team.
The team and coaches were recognized and honored during halftime of the HSE-Noblesville football game on Friday night.
Talk about fanfare!
What a fun gathering. It was a nice atmosphere for everyone there to savor, rejoice, and reminisce about the past and the overall HSE program, led by Indiana Softball Hall of Fame coach David Cook.
“It was amazing, but I think this reunion was as much about the parents as it was the team,’’ said Brett Williams, who started working for the Indiana Sports Corporation last November. “A lot of the parents hadn’t seen each other in a long time. They were always there for us. They were with us at home and away games, and the parents bonded. It was a special, close-knit group. We’re happy so many of them could share this with us.’’
The Lady Royals, of course, defeated Castle 2-1 in 10 innings to finish the year at 31-0. It was the school’s first of 2 state championships under Coach David Cook. The other came in 2010. The Lady Royals also brought home a state runner-up plaque to the high school in 2014, and they came within 1 win of playing for a state title last season.
And the 2007 team remains the only softball team to go undefeated in 4A, the state’s biggest class. The Lady Royals were ranked 22nd in the nation, and batted .327 with a .978 fielding percentage in 2007.
Not only can you make an argument that the HSE team in 2007 ranks as one of the state’s greatest teams, if not the best; you can also say that pitcher Morgan Melloh, a native of Fishers, Ind., remains arguably the best pitcher in state history.
Melloh, who spent a lot of time signing autographs after the reunion ceremony referred to “chemistry’’ as being a major ingredient in the success of the 2007 team.
“Yes, I believe it was there. We knew each other pretty well. The chemistry was very contagious. We rooted for each other; we were always there for each other. We had a lot of confidence in each other,’’ said Melloh, who is now an assistant softball coach at Wingate University in Wingate, N.C.
Indiana’s Miss Softball in 2007 certainly has a winning resume that’s unmatched.
Melloh pitched 187 of her team’s 216 innings in 2007. She allowed only only 2.5 hits per game, 5 earned runs and finished with an incredible 0.19 ERA with 19 shutouts. She also struck out 426 while posting a 27-0 record. The other 4 wins were notched by Taylor Rager, whose younger sister Jordan Rager, a junior, has played on the HSE softball team since her freshman year.
Brett Williams and Kathleen Maloof hit .419 and 407, respectively, to lead the Lady Royals in 2007.
Williams scored both runs in the 2007 game.
“I still remember the championship game like it was yesterday and all of the games leading to it,’’ Williams said. “From day 1 our goal was to win the state championship. Everyone did whatever it took to win. We knew deep down that we could do it.
“When Morgan hit the ball to the wall, I just kept telling myself not to trip as I rounded the bases,’’ she added with a chuckle and a smile. “When I scored the winning run, and everyone was so excited, it was probably the greatest day of my life.’’
Melloh, a .378 hitter who led the team with 6 home runs and also had a .952 fielding percentage in 2007, played 3 seasons at Fresno State and then transferred to Indiana University in 2010. She was the Big 10 Pitcher of the Year in 2011. She also was a first-team All-America pitcher.
Melloh also struck out 26 in that state championship game, which remains a state record.
Yeah, Morgan was quite the talent. The ‘Southpaw Queen of Softball’ was the defensive cornerstone on a team with a great deal of ability and desire and a get-it-done attitude!
“I mean, Morgan was a great pitcher; she was one of a kind,’’ Williams said. “It was great for me to be able to catch her for 3 years. It was great to know she was on the mound and that she was so confident in what she could do.’’
Sounds like all of the players had that can-do attitude.
So, welcome home, ladies. And enjoy your stay in both the Hamilton Southeastern High School and Indiana high school state softball archives, You are right where you belong.
No one can argue that!
2007 HSE State Champion Team members
(Players who went on to play college softball in parentheses)
Jenna Abraham (IU)
Mollie Brown (Bluffton)
Devin Dearing (Butler)
Chelsie Hale (IUPUI)
Kathleen Maloof (Dayton)
Morgan Melloh (Fresno State/IU)
Taylor Rager (Ball State)
Sara Twinning (St Joe’s)
Brett Williams (Michigan State)
*—Mark Morrow, who has resided in Fishers since 1989, formerly owned Hamilton County Sports Daily. He was inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters-Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 2015. He has blogged exclusively for hseroyalsathletics.com since 2016.