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Students outside in tie-dye t-shirts during Homecoming activity
Seashells and Seashores Inspire Art for MG Lilly Fellowship Recipient

Allison Saathoff loves seashells, which provided the jumping off point for her application to the 2024 Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program through the Lilly Endowment. A 27-year veteran of art education, Saathoff is a long time Fairmount resident who has been a part of the Madison-Grant Art program for just two years and is now a recipient of the Teacher Creativity Fellowship awarded by the Lilly Endowment. Please view our news release for complete details.

Allison Saathoff, creative teacher at Madison-Grant Students at a table enjoying an art project
Rainey's Drive in Closing Seconds Lifts Argylls Past Jets

Rainey's Drive in Closing Seconds Lifts Argylls Past Jets by Rob Hunt at The Herald Bulletin

Basketball players taking shot while being guarded

With five seconds left in the game Madison-Grant's Jasmyn Rainey drives the lane to put up a final shot over Anderson Prep's Kaylynn Orr at Madison-Grant on Thursday. Rainey hit the shot to give the Argylls a 49-48 win.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

Fairmount - It was not as if Madison-Grant (M-G) did not have multiple opportunities to win the game. In fact, with five seconds remaining, the Argylls were about to inbound the ball with their seventh possession since Clara Fulton put Anderson Prep ahead 48-47 in the fourth quarter.

The previous six tries included five missed three-point shots and a pair of turnovers, so coach Jace Martin looked for a different approach for his team's final try.

"We really didn't have anything drawn up except for Maddy (Moore) to go to the basket," he said. "If she's not open, somebody else go to the basket."

The goal of getting the ball into Moore's hands made sense. She led the Argylls with 21 points. But junior Jasmyn Rainey received the inbounds pass and, with Moore and the rest of the M-G three-point shooters covered, made a split-second decision.

"When we were in the huddle, we were trying to draw up a play for Maddy, and she had been on fire the whole game," she said. "They knew we were looking for our shooters, so they were playing the over heavy and left the lane open. I saw the opportunity and took it."

The move worked.

Rainey's drive into the lane resulted in the game-winning basket and the third straight M-G victory, 49-48 over the Jets.

Basketball player shooting for 3 points

Katie Stowers attempts a three for Madison-Grant during the second half against Anderson Prep on Thurday.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

"I decided in the huddle already in my head there was a possibility that I might have to take it myself," Rainey said. "I already made up my mind that I could do it."

It was just her second basket of the game, and she finished with four points and led M-G defensively with six steals.

The loss spoiled a strong performance from Jets junior Alivia Peoples. The six-foot-one junior led the Jets with 18 points and six steals while leading all players with 23 rebounds, including 14 on the offensive end.

The loss also served as a learning opportunity for APA (6-4) after it failed to extend the one-point lead in the closing moments in six tries.

"The biggest thing - I don't think we could have played a worse game," Jets coach Joshua Fathauer said. "The way things were going so badly to be up five points at halftime and up one with five seconds left, that shows that we don't quit. That's one thing I'm taking away from this.

"But it's heartbreaking to lose like that."

Basketball player takes fast break

Anderson Prep’s Arianna Flowers leads a fast break during the first half against host Madison-Grant on Thursday.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

The game was close throughout. The biggest lead for M-G (5-6) came at 44-35 after Maddy Holloway sank a three-point basket to open the fourth quarter. After outscoring M-G 18-8 in the second period, APA had its biggest lead of five points at 29-24 at halftime after a Fulton three-pointer.

The Jets began cutting into that nine-point lead and utilized their size advantage to do so.

Peoples hit an elbow jumper, Kaylynn Orr scored on a rebound basket, Peoples scored again in the lane and - with the Argyll defense looking inside - Tameah Eldridge drilled a three-point shot from the top of the key, and the game was tied at 44-44.

Moore answered with a three-ball of her own before Julia Smith and Fulton scored on baseline jumpers to give the Jets the lead, setting up Rainey - eventually - with the game winner.

Basketball player lines up a three

Madison-Grant's Maddy Moore lines up a three in the third quarter against visiting Anderson Prep on Thursday. Moore scored 21 points in the Argylls 49-48 win.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

"That might be my most exciting moment now, so far," Rainey said. "I'm hoping to make a new one in the Mississinewa game this weekend."

The Jets outrebounded the Argylls 54-30 but offset that with 32 turnovers compared to 24 by M-G.

In addition to her 21 points, Moore had nine rebounds, six assists and five steals while Katie Stowers scored 17 points on five-of-10 three-point shooting.

Peoples did not record the only double-double for APA as Julia Smith finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Argylls travel to Mississinewa on Saturday afternoon for a Central Indiana conference matchup while the Jets will head to the Jungle on Tuesday for a date with the Alexandria Tigers before hosting Indiana Math & Science on Wednesday.

The Jets stormed back and defeated the Argylls 20-19 in the junior varsity game with La'Deja Chambers scoring the game winner. Fulton led APA with six points while Marlie Nieman scored eight points for Madison-Grant to lead all players.

Argylls Claim First County Tennis Title

Argylls Claim First County Tennis Title by Rob Hunt at The Herald Bulletin

Boys team celebrating

Madison-Grant celebrates its first Madison County boys tennis championship after a 4-1 win over Pendleton Heights Friday night.

Rob Hunt | For The Herald Bulletin

FAIRMOUNT — It was fitting Madison-Grant’s three singles players, so instrumental in the Argylls’ 2022 sectional championship, were the first three off the courts with wins Friday night in the Madison County title matches against Pendleton Heights.

The trio of Luke Gilman, Christopher Fox, and Clayton Hull were able to withstand some early pressure, dominated their matchups, and made more M-G history with a 4-1 victory — the first Madison County title in program history.

For long-time Argylls coach Tony Pitt, there were plenty of smiles after the matches were concluded but not much surprise. After what his team accomplished a year ago, he expected it to take care of business this week and claim a trophy that had been in the possession of Lapel for nine straight years.

“It’s only been 18 years, but who’s counting?” Pitt said. “I was pretty calm going into it. This wasn’t their first rodeo as far as big matches. Last year with conference and sectional, I had complete faith in them.”

Gilman put the first point of the evening on the board with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Austin Perny, and Fox followed shortly thereafter with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Cove Ritchey.

Gilman has been dominant this week, dropping just 11 games in sweeping his Elwood, Frankton, and PH opponents during the tournament. His coach said the junior has been on a mission this season.

“I believe that’s 14 games he’s given up in eight matches this year,” Pitt said. “He’s coming out for business from the beginning.”

Meanwhile, Hull — after trailing 3-2 in the first set against Owen Kean — roared back to win 12 of the next 13 games for a 6-3, 6-1 victory, closing out the PH sophomore on his third match point.

Clayton Hull hitting a tennis ball

Madison-Grant’s Luke Gilman volleys the ball to his opponent at the Madison County Boys’ Tennis Tournament Championship on Friday at Madison-Grant.

David Humphrey | For The Herald Bulletin

Gilman and Fox were watching Hull and knew they had notched another milestone for their team and their coach.

“We’ve been close, but we came up short,” Fox said. “It feels great for that to not happen and finally pull this win across.”

Pitt was happy to see the school’s first county tennis title clinched by the three singles players — Fox and Hull are seniors, Gilman a junior — who have led the recent resurgence of Argylls tennis.

“They lift each other up on courts next to each other, too,” Pitt said. “They’ve been doing this for a few years now, so it was a great way for them to finish as the first three.”

Gilman pointed to last year’s Central Indiana Conference and first sectional championship as valuable experience heading into Friday’s final. Winning those high-pressure matches helped prepare the Argylls for the early push from the Arabians, who took early leads in several matches.

Pitt advised his players to weather the early storm.

“We were embracing the energy,” Gilman said. “They brought the energy, and we just kind of took it from them, and they didn’t have an answer.”

The M-G No. 2 doubles tandem of Jacob Moore and Brogan Brunt defeated Jaxton Bush and Isaac Haugh 6-4, 7-5 shortly after Hull’s match wrapped up for a 4-0 Argylls lead.

The Arabians salvaged one point as Ivan Chen and Garrett Morgan stormed back to defeat Ben Pax and Ty Evans in three sets, 3-6, 7-5, 10-8. The Arabians also trailed in the second set before forcing the third set, which was played as a 10-point tiebreaker as the outcome of the overall match had been decided.

The Argylls won their first championship in their third title match appearance — they fell to the Bulldogs in 2019 and 2020 — while the Arabians were runners-up for the third straight year and for the seventh time overall.

“There are more obstacles and great teams down the road, but there’s not another team I’d want than this group right here,” Pitt said.

Argylls Oust Eagles for County Final Berth

Argylls Oust Eagles for County Final Berth by Rob Hunt of The Herald Bulletin

BOYS Tennis score board-Madison Grant: 4, Frankton:1

ELWOOD — As the last point fell in his favor, Clayton Hull had made Madison-Grant boys tennis history with his 6-3, 6-2 win over Frankton’s Aaron Hartley in the No. 3 singles match. With the win, he became the program’s all-time leader in wins with 61, snapping a tie he held with 2012 graduate Conner Hunt.

“Ever since my freshman year when I had 16 wins, everyone said if I keep winning, I’m on pace to break the record,” Hull said. “I’ve been chasing that, and to finally actually have it, it feels great.”

Now he has his sights set on making some team history as well.

His victory completed a 4-1 Argylls win over the Eagles in the Madison County boys tennis tournament semifinals, and Madison-Grant will seek its first-ever championship Friday evening when they host Pendleton Heights.

“We’re just going to come out and give it our all,” Hull said. “It’ll be nice to add to the collection.”

Clayton Hull hitting a tennis ball

Clayton Hull won his program-record 61st match Thursday as Madison-Grant advanced in the Madison County tournament.

Bob Hickey | For The Herald Bulletin

The Arabians ended Lapel’s nine-year reign as county champions with a 4-1 win Thursday and will be playing in the finals for the third straight year and chasing their first championship since 2013.

Hull’s match was the last to be completed, giving his teammates an opportunity to celebrate his individual accomplishment on the court.

“I’ve been playing with most of these guys for three or four years, and I’ve known them since we were really young,” Hull said. “To have them there to celebrate was really great.”

“It’s been great to see (Hull) progress from (middle school) to now,” M-G coach Tony Pitt said. “We’ve had a nice program for the last number of years, and it really started with Conner, who probably could have been our No. 1 when he was in sixth grade.

Frankton’s Sam Barr competes in the No. 1 singles match

Frankton’s Sam Barr competes in the No. 1 singles match Thursday against Madison-Grant’s Luke Gilman.

Bob Hickey | For The Herald Bulletin

His win completed a singles sweep by the Argylls as Luke Gilman defeated Sam Barr at No. 1 singles 6-2, 6-3, and Christopher Fox knocked off Max Barr 6-2, 6-2 in the No. 2 singles matches.

Both matches were closer than the scores indicated.

“They’re no strangers to us, we played them 3 times last year and at different tournaments this summer,” Pitt said. “We knew we’d get their best, and they have everyone back from last year as well. I’m very pleased at the way we played today.”

The first point of the night went to the Argylls as Dalton Gibson and Brogan Brunt breezed to a 6-0, 6-2 win over Eli Birch and Braxton Mort at No. 2 doubles for an early 1-0 lead.

Frankton’s lone point came at No. 1 doubles as Jackson Alexander and Jon Hobbs prevailed through the heat and a tight three-set match with a 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 10-5 win over Ben Pax and Ty Evans.

The Arabians will visit Madison-Grant (7-0) — the first home match of the season for the Argylls — on Friday at 5:00 p.m.

Madison-Grant Defeats Lapel to Win Second Straight Softball Regional Championship

Madison-Grant Defeats Lapel to Win Second Straight Softball Regional Championship by Kyle Smedley of The Herald Bulletin

Softball players hugging to celebrate

Upon getting the last out against Lapel, Madison-Grant players celebrate winning the Regional 20 championship at Madison-Grant on Tuesday.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

“Hit the ball,” Demie Havens thought to herself.

The bases were loaded with two outs in the bottom of the third inning as Madison-Grant trailed Lapel 1-0 in a regional championship contest. In the two innings previous, the Argylls had chances to score but ultimately stranded runners.

The Argylls were hoping to win back-to-back regional titles for the first time in program history, and although it was early in the contest, this at-bat proved to be critical. Havens delivered, driving a two-RBI single up the middle to put Madison-Grant in the lead for good.

Softball player hitting the ball

Madison-Grant’s Demie Havens gets a hit in the third inning and drives in Madeline Clouse against Lapel on Tuesday.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

“If anything, (I was thinking), ‘Hit it on the ground and make it work for what we needed,’ ” Havens said. “Whatever I could to score something.”

Argylls coach Travis Havens jumped in the air and yelled across the diamond in support of his daughter’s clutch hit. He knows it’s difficult for Demie at times to be the coach’s daughter due to his high standards for her, so he wanted to express his appreciation in the best way he could.

“As any dad would tell you, it’s really special,” Coach Havens said. “She’s a tough kid. She understands. She has a plan, and she’s willing to be coached.”

Madison-Grant (26-4) rode two four-run innings to an 8-2 victory over the Bulldogs (18-10), capturing its fifth regional championship.

Softball player pitching the ball

Madison-Grant senior Elizabeth Lee pitches relief for the Argylls in regional 20 against Lapel on Tuesday.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

“It’s something that you have to be there to know (what it feels like),” Demie Havens said. “It’s a great experience to be able to do it two times in a row. It’s something some people never get to experience.”

In April, the Bulldogs defeated the Argylls 11-6 in Madison-Grant’s third loss of the season. The Argylls then went on a 19-game win streak, including a 7-3 victory over Lapel on May 3.

The Bulldogs were riding a five-game win streak that started May 17 with a win over Alexandria. After that contest, coach Ellie Balbach said the Bulldogs wanted Madison-Grant in the regional championship.

“We knew it was going to be a fight,” Balbach said. “I think the difference tonight was they were a little more mentally tough than us, and they were able to execute when it mattered.”

Softball players congratulating each other

A smiling Maegan Wilson is congratulated by on deck batter Demie Havens as Wilson scored at run for the Argylls in the sixth inning giving Madison-Grant a 6-2 lead in the regional final on Tuesday at Madison-Grant.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

Although senior pitcher Katie Duncan retired the first two Bulldogs in the top of the first, sophomore right fielder Ava Everman ripped a single to right field to spark some hope for Lapel. Senior catcher Hannah Laughlin followed with a hard-hit double to left-center field before senior third baseman Alexa Owens was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

However, the Argylls forced a groundout to get out of the jam unscathed.

Similarly, junior third baseman Maegan Wilson drew a walk and sophomore catcher Johnna Hiatt laced a single to right field with one out to get things going for Madison-Grant in the bottom of the inning. Junior starting pitcher Krystin Davis was able to sit down the next two Argylls to strand both runners and leave the score at 0-0.

The top of the second looked poised to repeat the results of each frame of the first when sophomore first baseman Karlie Jannings led things off with a double to center field before the next two batters got out. This time, Davis hit a two-out single down the right field line to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.

Sophomore shortstop Tatum Harper dropped a single into shallow right field in the next at-bat, but was thrown out when she tried to stretch it into a double.

Player catching the ball

Madison-Grant outfielder Demie Havens makes the catch during the sixth inning against Lapel during the regional final at Madison-Grant on Tuesday.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

Madison-Grant’s woes continued in the bottom of the second when senior second baseman MaKennah Clouse hit a single up the middle but failed to score. But in the top of the third, Lapel’s momentum was squandered.

Laughlin walked with one away, and after Duncan sat down the next batter, things got interesting.

Sophomore second baseman Laylah Gore smoked a double into the outfield, and although senior courtesy runner Kooper Grinstead rounded third and headed home, she turned around when she saw the Argylls’ throw would make for a close play at the plate. Hiatt fired to third base, throwing out Grinstead to end the inning and keep the score at 1-0.

The Argylls answered in the bottom of the third with a massive two-out rally. Hiatt singled up the middle, Duncan reached via error and Holliday walked to load the bases. Havens hit the aforementioned two-RBI single, and senior designated hitter Elizabeth Lee followed up with an RBI single of her own to put the home team up 3-1.

Player standing the mound

Reese Box started on the mound for Madison-Grant against Lapel in regional #20 at Madison-Grant on Tuesday.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

“I think we have tough kids. I think we have resilient kids,” Coach Havens said. “We try to preach to them that we don’t have to be perfect to win. We can win even after making a couple of mistakes.”

Balbach emerged from the Bulldogs’ dugout to end Davis’ day on the mound, calling on Jannings instead. Davis pitched two and two third innings, allowing four runs, five hits, and two walks with a strikeout.

While freshman designated hitter Paige Stires crushed a double into the left-center field wall with two outs in the top of the fourth, Duncan struck out Davis to keep the Argylls ahead three runs. Wilson reached via walk in the bottom of the inning, but was ultimately stranded at first.

Player reaching first base

Madison-Grant sophomore Carley Holiday reaches first and drives in Maegan Wilson in the 6th inning of the regional final against visiting Lapel on Tuesday.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

Everman hit her second single with one out in the top of the fifth, and Laughlin followed with her second walk. Madison-Grant recorded the second out of the inning next before Gore walked to load the bases for reliever Jannings, who helped herself with an RBI single into center field.

However, Duncan forced a pop fly to left field to strand three Bulldogs and keep the score at 4-2. Lee reached first on an error with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, but Jannings held tight to keep the Bulldogs within two runs.

Duncan’s day came to an end in the top of the sixth when Lee took over for Madison-Grant. In five innings of work, Duncan allowed two runs on nine hits, three walks and two strikeouts.

Davis’ two-out bunt single made for some trouble in the top of the sixth, but Lee bounced back to retire the Bulldogs’ two-hole hitter and keep the Argylls ahead 4-2.

Greene matched Davis with a bunt single of her own in the bottom of the inning, however this one came with one down. In the next at-bat, Wilson laid down a bunt of her own and reached base on an errant throw.

Hiatt followed with a laser down the third-base line to drive in Greene before Duncan reached base with an infield single to load the bases. Holliday kept things going with an RBI single off the center-field wall to put the Argylls up 6-2.

Player running to first base

Madison-Grant's Maegan Wilson is safe at first as she runs out a bunt in the sixth inning against Lapel on Tuesday.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

Although the Bulldogs recorded an out to break things up, Lee drove a ball to the left-center field fence for a two-RBI double to give Madison-Grant even more insurance.

Gore hit a two-out single as a last gasp for the Bulldogs, but Lee secured the Argylls’ victory, forcing a popup to end the game. Lapel was coming off the third sectional championship in program history and failed to capture its first regional crown.

Despite that, Balbach was proud of the Bulldogs’ growth over the course of the season, saying they learned lessons in trust and how to come together to play as a united force. While four seniors played their last game in a Lapel uniform, Balbach is confident in the foundation they left on the program.

Player sliding to third base getting tagged out

Lapel's Kooper Grinstead is tagged out sliding back to third by Madison-Grant's Maegen Wilson during the third inning in the regional final at Madison-Grant on Tuesday.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

“We got some big shoes to fill for our seniors,” Balbach said. “We not only have a lot of seniors who are leaders through their play but through how they lead by example and how they’re able to rally people behind them. That’s a really hard thing to teach and to learn, but we definitely have some players coming back next year who have those qualities.”

The Argylls have amassed four straight victories and have won 23 of their last 24 games. Madison-Grant looks to make it to the state championship for the first time since 2009 when the Argylls won their sole title.

They’ll have Eastside (29-2) at approximately 1:00 p.m. on Saturday at Warsaw in a rematch of the first round of semi-state last season where the eventual state-champion Blazers won 4-3 on a hidden ball trick. Coach Havens emphasized while that one play ended the game, that’s not the only reason the Argylls lost.

Player bunts the ball

Madison-Grant's Daya Greene bunts during the sixth inning of regional final action against visiting Lapel on Tuesday.

Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

However, he said he’s using last season’s heartbreak as motivation going into the contest.

“I hope it does for our kids, too,” Coach Havens said. “Our kids and our coaches are going to show up with the understanding that we can compete with Eastside, and we’re gonna go up there with the expectation that we can absolutely win.”

Demie Havens expressed the same motivation to defeat the Blazers as her father hoped and said Madison-Grant will be willing to do whatever it takes to come out on top.

“We’re more ready this year than we were last,” she said. “We know more. We’re stronger mentally and physically.”

Madison-Grant Softball Defeats Eastbrook to Win Third Straight Sectional Crown

Madison-Grant softball Defeats Eastbrook to Win Third Straight Sectional Crown by Kyle Smedley of The Herald Bulletin

Madison-Grant girls softball team posing for a photo on the field with their trophy

Madison-Grant celebrates its third straight softball sectional championship Thursday at Jay Dunlap Field.

The Herald Bulletin

When the final out was called, a sea of black, white, and gold swarmed Jay Dunlap Field.

“It’s unreal, I can’t even describe it,” senior pitcher Elizabeth Lee said. “It just feels like weight off your chest. It’s the best feeling ever.”

That feeling? A sectional championship.

“It’s kind of a release of pressure. It just feels amazing,” senior designated hitter Katie Duncan said.

Although it’s now a feeling Duncan, Lee, and Madison-Grant softball has experienced three seasons in a row, it’s one that creates a lasting impact each time.

“This will never get old,” coach Travis Havens said.

Madison-Grant (25-4) captured the 11th sectional title in program history with a 12-3 win over Eastbrook (19-9). The Argylls’ third consecutive win snapped Eastbrook’s three-game win streak and marked the third time Madison-Grant beat the Panthers this season. The Panthers fell just short in their quest to win their eighth sectional championship and first in a decade.

Lee, Duncan, shortstop Daya Greene, and second baseman MaKennah Clouse have each won a sectional title every year in the program, as they are all seniors and missed a season due to COVID-19. Since their first-round sectional matchup against Elwood, each game they’ve played could have been their final time donning the white, black, and gold.

It hasn’t even set in yet because I feel like we’re so good that I haven’t even thought, ‘Oh, this might be the last game that we’re gonna play,’” Duncan said.

Havens said the four seniors have created a bond that has translated into leadership roles for their younger teammates. Looking back on the time he’s spent with them, Havens realized his perspective on coaching may have changed over the years.

“When I was a younger coach, the most important thing for me was winning and losing, and now I know completely different,” Havens said. “The relationships that you build with players, your coaches, and even parents sometimes, that’s what it’s about.”

After the first two Argylls were sat down in the top of the first, sophomore catcher Johnna Hiatt singled to shallow right field before freshman Cayleigh Stitt entered as a courtesy runner. In the next at bat, Duncan continued her clutch hitting in sectional play with an RBI double to shallow left field.

The Panthers went down in order to end the inning, ensuring Madison-Grant held a 1-0 advantage heading into the second.

The top of the second inning almost mirrored the top of the first for the Argylls, as Eastbrook earned two quick outs before Clouse reached base on a walk. Junior left fielder Madelyn Moore cranked an RBI double to deep right-center field, but this time Madison-Grant didn’t stop at one when Greene drove Moore in with a slicing double to shallow left-center field.

Once again, Lee put away the Panthers in order in the bottom of the inning to keep the Argylls ahead 3-0.

Madison-Grant finally flipped the script in the top of the third when Hiatt and Duncan hit back-to-back singles to start things off. After Eastbrook recorded an out, sophomore center fielder Demie Havens laid down a perfect bunt that ended up getting away from the first baseman, leading to Stitt scoring from second base.

Next, Lee helped herself with a rocket right up the middle for an RBI single. Although the Argylls stranded two, their lead grew to 5-0.

After going without a baserunner in the first two tries, Eastbrook senior second baseman Morgan Dixon drew a walk to lead-off the bottom of the third, and sophomore pitcher Randi Casto followed with a single to left field. Lee bounced back with a strikeout in the next at-bat before senior center fielder Kayleigh Gross gave the Panthers their first run on an RBI double to left-center field.

Senior catcher Addison Coates drew a walk, loading the bases for senior shortstop Chloe Poe, who drove a high fly ball to deep left field that resulted in a sacrifice fly. Lee worked out of a bases-loaded jam to end the inning, but not before Eastbrook cut the score to 5-2.

Although Madison-Grant’s one and two-hole hitters went down quickly in the top of the fourth, Hiatt ripped a single into left-center field for her third hit of the contest. Following her lead, Duncan hit a laser up the middle for a single.

When Stitt tried to score from second on a botched groundball to the shortstop, she was thrown out at the plate, and the Argylls failed to score in an inning for the first time in the contest. However, M-G made up for it, putting down the Panthers in order to end the fourth inning.

Madison-Grant once again started off an inning with back-to-back singles, as Havens and Lee came through in the top of the fifth. Clouse laid down a bunt in the next at-bat, and when the bang-bang play at first base saw Clouse and freshman first baseman Gracie Elliott collide to knock the ball loose, Havens scored from second base.

Another mishap from Eastbrook, this time a wild pitch, led to Lee coming around to score to put the Argylls ahead 7-2 with no outs. Shortly thereafter, Madison-Grant loaded the bases, and another wild pitch led to another run for the Argylls.

After an intentional walk loaded the bases once again, Duncan delivered a two-RBI single to right field. The Panthers turned a double play to end the top of the fifth, but were staring down a 10-2 deficit.

Lee continued her all-around performance in the top of the sixth with a no-doubt home run over the left-field wall that ended Casto’s day in the circle. Casto allowed 11 runs, 13 hits, one walk, and struck out one in five and a third innings pitched before freshman DeLanie Elliott entered in relief.

Elliot sat down Madison-Grant relatively quietly to end the top of the sixth before Eastbrook once again went down in order in the bottom of the inning. With an inning to go, the Argylls held a nine-run advantage.

In her fifth at bat, Duncan sent a ball over the left-field fence for her first home run of sectional play. The Anderson University commit finished the contest five-for-five with three singles, a double, a long ball, and four RBI.

The bottom of the seventh saw high drama, as the Panthers wouldn’t go down without a fight with two outs, reaching base via error and a Gross single before Coates shot a single into the center-field grass. Though the runner scored, Coates was thrown out at second base to secure a 12-3 victory for Madison-Grant.

Lee finished with three runs, four hits and three walks allowed, as well as five strikeouts. At the plate, she collected two singles, a home run, and two RBI.

“If I’m hitting good, I’ll be more confident on the mound. If I’m doing good on the mound, I have more confidence at the plate,” Lee said.

The Argylls now shift their focus to Lapel (18-9), as they host their regional championship matchup Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. The Bulldogs handed Madison-Grant one of its four losses, 11-4, in April. However, the Argylls bounced back with a 7-3 win a month later.

Havens said this experience against Lapel may give Madison-Grant an advantage in the regional title game but knows the Argylls have to approach it as they have every playoff game so far.

M-G Wins Top-10 Match Up to Advance to Sectional Final

Article by Kyle Smedley of The Herald Bulletin

Student batting with audience behind her during a game

Madison-Grant’s Carley Holliday watches a pitch cross the plate Tuesday against Eastern.

Bob Hickey | For The Herald Bulletin

When Madison-Grant sophomore first baseman Carley Holliday stepped up to the plate for the first time in the Argylls’ second-round sectional matchup against Eastern, she stared down senior Macy Coan — the Comets’ starting pitcher who was 15-1 with 247 strikeouts heading into the contest.

Holliday connected with a high fastball for her 10th home run of the season, a two-run blast to straightaway center field that put Madison-Grant ahead 3-0. If there was ever a display of the Argylls’ motto ‘Quiet Confidence,’ Holliday showed it.

“We all have a sister bond, and we all have confidence in each other that we’re going to pull through and do what we need to do,” Holliday said.

Madison-Grant coach Travis Havens’ plan against the Comets was the same as it was in the Argylls’ first round-victory over Elwood the night before: get an early lead and hold on for a win. Once again, they delivered, defeating No. 8 Eastern 5-1 to advance to their seventh straight sectional championship game.

Havens said half the reason No. 5 Madison-Grant (24-4) has been able to find so much success is because of the culture Holliday spoke on.

“They have bought into the coaching, they trust us, and they listen to the plan,” Havens said. “I think they know enough about the game that they believe in us.”

The other half, he said, is out of his hands. “We’ve got talented kids, we’ve got competitive kids, we’ve got kids that care about winning, and we’ve got kids that are tough,” Havens said.

Though the Argylls followed their plan on offense, Havens said senior Katie Duncan getting the nod in the circle was not the original plan. Originally, senior Elizabeth Lee was pegged to start for Madison-Grant before Havens decided to go with Duncan due to her dominance in the first round.

Duncan set down the first three Eastern batters in the top of the first, two via strikeout. Senior shortstop Daya Greene reached first base after a throwing error to start things off for Madison-Grant, but Macy bounced back with two straight strikeouts to put the Argylls in danger.

Like she did three times in Round 1, Duncan responded with an RBI single to give Madison-Grant an early lead. Holliday followed with the aforementioned home run to put the Argylls up 3-0 heading into the second.

“I think we work so hard in practice that it comes easy to us in games,” Duncan said. “We’re a hitting team, so it’s kind of easy for us to get an early lead because we’re really aggressive.”

The Comets (21-5) went down in order again in the top of the second, before Madison-Grant caused chaos a second time. Senior second baseman MaKennah Clouse made it all the way to second base on an error before junior left fielder Madelyn Moore hit an infield single to put runners on the corners with one away.

Catcher tagging a player sliding into the home plate as the Umpire audience and other team members watch.

Madison-Grant’s Madelynn Moore slides into home plate but is called out.

Bob Hickey | For The Herald Bulletin

Green proceeded to drive in Clouse on a groundout as Moore advanced to second. Junior third baseman Maegan Wilson followed with a single into shallow right field, but Moore was unsuccessful in her attempt to score as she was thrown out at home.

As the Argylls held a 4-0 lead in the top of the third, Eastern finally got things going when junior first baseman Kenzie DeGraaff reached first via error. However, Duncan once again showed her poise under pressure, striking out the next two batters to keep the shutout intact.

Another error led to a batter reaching base in the top of the fourth, this time in the Comets’ favor when Macy reached third base after a botched fly ball to right field. However, this time Eastern brought the runner home when senior catcher Cassidy Keene hit an RBI single past Greene at shortstop.

The Argylls went down in order in the bottom of the fourth, and after freshman right fielder Elle Winger’s leadoff single, Eastern was held at bay in the top of the fifth. In the bottom of the inning, Madison-Grant extended its lead to four when Hiatt drove in a run on a groundout.

The Comets loaded the bases in the top of the sixth after an error, walk, and dropped third strike, but Duncan once again evaded disaster as she forced a fly out to right field to keep the Argylls at a 5-1 advantage. For the second time in 24 hours, Duncan pitched a complete game, allowing one run on two hits, one walk, and five strikeouts.

“I don’t think my arm is attached, but it’s OK,” Duncan said. “In eighth period today I told my art teacher, ‘I’m in softball mode now.’"

    Show Stopper: Argylls Outlast Eagles for CIC Softball Crown
    Madison-Grant’s Makennah Clouse flips the ball to first base for the out.

    Madison-Grant’s Makennah Clouse flips the ball to first base for the out.

    Show Stopper: Argylls Outlast Eagles for CIC Softball Crown
    by Daniel Kehn for the Herald Bulletin

    FAIRMOUNT — If you asked Johnna Hiatt about her batting performance before the sixth inning against Frankton on Thursday, she would tell you it wasn’t her best.

    The sophomore hit a ground ball into a double play in the bottom of the first before bouncing back with a leadoff double in the bottom of the third but followed it with two strikeouts in her third and fourth at-bats (one looking and one swinging).

    “Before (the sixth) I had a pretty bad at-bat,” Hiatt said. “I told myself, ‘I need to just clear my head.’ I know that I can hit the ball, and that’s what I did. I went up there, and I looked for a pitch that I could drive, and I hit it.”

    Read the Show Stopper article for the complete details.

    M-G Coasts Into Muller Semifinals With Win at Elwood
    Senior Andrew Richards pitching the ball

    Senior Andrew Richards threw four shutout innings, surrendering just one hit and recording four strikeouts, as the visiting Argylls blasted the Panthers 20-1 to return to the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament semifinals.

    Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

    M-G Coasts Into Muller Semifinals With Win at Elwood by George Bremer of The Herald Bulletin

    For all Madison-Grant’s offensive exploits during Wednesday’s victory at Elwood, the most important feat might have come on the mound.

    Senior Andrew Richards threw four shutout innings, surrendering just one hit and recording four strikeouts, as the visiting Argylls blasted the Panthers 20–1 to return to the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament semifinals.

    Richards’ effort was critical with Madison-Grant (3–3) in the midst of a stretch that will see it play four tournament games in five days.

    “Being that you’ve got to play consecutive days here — we’re not super deep,” Argylls coach Curt Haisley said. “I feel like we’re OK. I did like our draw, and I liked the way that our rotation — with days of rest and everything — was stacking back up."

    “But, at the same time, if somebody goes out and we just have a bad day, and then all of the sudden it just messes up all your plans and now you’re fetching and catching. And, obviously, you’ve gotta win the games and you’ve gotta get there. We do have a plan. I like the way our plan is laid out, but Drew being able to do what he did today is obviously a huge relief.”

    Madison-Grant’s Andrew Richards leaps to catch a throw from Braiden Ross

    Madison-Grant’s Andrew Richards leaps to catch a throw from Braiden Ross to get the force out at second as Xavier Yeagy looks on during the fourth inning against host Elwood in Muller Tournament baseball on Wednesday.

    Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

    There were few nervous moments for Madison-Grant from the moment Xavier Yeagy drove a lead-off double into right-center field. Teagen Yeagy followed with an RBI single, stole second and scored on a single by Braiden Ross.

    When Ross scored two batters later after an error in right field, the Argylls were ahead 3–0 and had all the offense they needed.

    Elwood’s lone run came in the bottom of the second inning on a double by Bracken Jetty, but Madison-Grant stole any lingering suspense with a 12-run third inning.

    All 14 Argylls who took at least one at-bat either scored a run or drove one in, and the top of the order was particularly effective.

    Xavier Yeagy went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and scored four runs, and Teagan Yeagy was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI before giving way to pinch-hitter Richards in the fourth.

    Ross was 3-for-5 with three RBI and three runs, and clean-up hitter Lucas Humphries finished 2-for-3 with a double, three RBI and a run.

    Teagan Yeagy’s presence as the DH for the first three innings might have been the most welcome aspect. One of the Argylls’ preseason leaders, he suffered a UCL injury in his elbow and could be looking at Tommy John surgery in the near future.

    Madison-Grant's Teagan Yeagy hits the ball

    Madison-Grant's Teagan Yeagy hits the ball during the third inning against Elwood on Wednesday.

    Richard Sitler

    It was unclear in the immediate aftermath of the diagnosis whether Teagan Yeagy would still be able to contribute. But he provided an emotional lift against the Panthers (1–5).

    “When you’ve got a guy that’s a .500 hitter and just the leader of your squad, when you lose that — and at the same time, he should be one of our dudes on the mound and the leader,” Haisley said. “He should be playing shortstop. He should be the leader of our infield. So essentially, when you lose that, it’s a pretty good gut punch. And it was a big step back, and everyone’s asking you when you show up at practice, they’re messaging you, ‘What are we gonna do now? What’s the next step?’

    “So you’ve just gotta look at the younger guys, and you’ve just gotta tell them it has to be the next-man-up mentality. The couple games that Teagan was out, he was still very much a leader, and he might as well have been another coach for us here. But you can see a big peace of mind with those guys seeing him back on the field and knowing that he’s a part of it, and also you can see it in him, too. It’s a joy.

    “You can see the joy back in him being able to be on the field, and then he also feels connected and being a part of the team.”

    The Argylls had no shortage of contributors against Elwood. The five players who entered the game as pinch hitters alone accounted for four hits, five runs and three RBI.

    Madison-Grant finished with 19 hits overall, including six doubles, while taking advantage of seven Panthers’ errors.

    Elwood's Jackson Blackford hits the ball

    Elwood's Jackson Blackford hits the ball during the second inning and was later batted in by Bracken Jetty during Muller tournament action against Madison-Grant on Wednesday.

    Lead-off hitter Jayden Mullins accounted for Elwood’s only other hit, singling with two outs in the fifth. The Panthers will host Frankton in the consolation round Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

    The Argylls’ victory sets up an interesting set of semifinals, also Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Pendleton Heights will meet Lapel on one side of the bracket, with Madison-Grant traveling to Anderson’s new diamond on the other side.

    Those two pairings represent the two most recent Muller championship games. The Argylls won the title with an 11–8 decision against the Indians in 2021, and the Bulldogs beat the Arabians 9–5 in last year’s final.

    “We played them last year towards the end of the year,” Haisley said of Anderson. “Very competitive game, kind of got away from us there at the end. So the way that our rotation is set up, I do like the arms that we’ve got available going into it (Beckley and Ross).

    “The last two games we have hit the ball really, really well. So I like where we’re at offensively, and then — like I said — where we are going with our options on the bump there, I think we have a really good chance, really good shot.”

    Argyll Softball Focusing on Repeating 2022 Post-Season Run
    Makennah Clouse throwing the ball during a game

    Madison-Grant’s Makennah Clouse throws the ball to first base after fielding a ground ball.

    Bob Hickey | The Herald Bulletin

    Argyll Softball Focusing on Repeating 2022 Post-Season Run by Rich Torres of The Herald Bulletin

    Last year is exactly that for Madison-Grant softball coach Travis Havens.

    While Havens does look back fondly on last season’s final four post-season run, historic 24 wins, and the program’s 10th overall - and second straight - sectional title, and fourth regional championship, it’s time to turn the page.

    “It’s a different team. It’s a different year. We have high expectations every year. We’re not crazy enough to think it’s just going to happen again,” Havens said. “We have very similar goals every year. A lot of that involves winning our conference, winning some tournaments whether that being our Argyll Invitational or the Grant County Tournament or the Madison County Tournament and then, obviously, state tournament games.”

    The Argylls won four straight state tournament contests in 2022, but unfortunately victory number five eluded them with a narrow 4-3 loss to Eastside in the class 2A semi-state.

    Now, it’s time to reload and try again - to aim for a potential second state title. A feat the Argylls haven’t achieved since 2009.

    The key to success in 2023, Havens said, begins and ends in increments, starting with finding answers leftover by the graduation of 105 combined RBI and 101 runs from the standout trio of Anzlee Thomas, Chelsea Parker, and Chelsea Bowland.

    “Honestly, I don’t know how it will all turn out, but I believe potentially, we can win any game we take the field on. As a competitor, I wouldn’t want to take the field if I didn’t think we could win,” Havens said. “We have a lot of kids that need to step up and fill in some spots of graduation losses, but we feel we have kids that can do that.

    “I always tell the kids, if they don’t believe they can win, then let’s not get on the bus.”

    The program’s fuel budget won’t have a surplus by season’s end.

    “It’s a collective group, and collectively we just need to fill those roles and see what happens,” Havens said. “We have four seniors that all started last year. Three of them were all-conference kids as juniors.”

    Daya Green claps as she prepares to lead off from second

    Madison-Grant’s Daya Greene claps as she prepares to lead off from second during the first inning against Western at Jay Dunlap field Wednesday.

    Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

    Senior Daya Greene (.436 batting average, 25 RBI) will return at shortstop and hit leadoff. Senior Makennah Clouse (.381) will start at second base and is building toward an all-central Indiana conference season.

    The Argylls return two All-CIC pitchers in seniors Elizabeth Lee and lefty Katie Duncan.

    Duncan posted a 2.43 ERA as a junior with a 9-3 record and 55 strikeouts in 92 1/3 innings. Lee had a 2.74 ERA with an 8-2 record and 51 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings.

    “It’s an interesting dynamic having two kids that have both pitched those kinds of innings. They’ve both pitched in regional championship games. Two years ago, Elizabeth Lee kind of carried us throughout the postseason, and then last year, it was the other way around, and Katie Duncan did more of the postseason pitching,” Havens said. “They’re both very capable, and we’ve had a sophomore pitch fairly well in McKenna Craig.

    “They’re all three a little bit different, and we’ll probably try to use them a little bit differently.”

    Run support will be a group effort, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see further growth from sophomore Carley Holliday who had a breakout freshman campaign with a .390 average, 25 RBI and a team-best six home runs.

    “We started three freshmen last year. Two of them played defensively and one of them led us in home runs,” Havens said. “You never know what you’re going to get necessarily each year as far as contributions from your freshmen, but it’s not uncommon, at least at Madison-Grant, to play freshmen, and all three of them held their own, and we feel they’ll do the same as sophomores this year.”

    Katie Duncan pitches during the fourth inning

    Katie Duncan pitches for Madison-Grant during the fourth inning Wednesday at Jay Dunlap Field against Western.

    Richard Sitler | The Herald Bulletin

    Along with Holliday at first base, sophomore returners Johnna Hiatt (.292) and Demie Havens will start at catcher and center field, respectively.

    At this point, junior Maegan Wilson (.308) will take over at third base, and junior Maddy Moore (.357) is projected to fill out the outfield.

    “Those two kids have been two of our better players overall in our preseason workouts and first couple weeks of the season in practice,” Havens said. “Maddy is a three-sport athlete and plays volleyball and basketball, so she’s going to be fine in the outfield. She has good speed and a strong arm. Maegan plays volleyball, so she’s an athletic kid, and hopefully she can fill the role that Chelsea Bowland had last year at third base.”

    Lee has proven to be a dual threat on the diamond after hitting .429 as a junior with 31 RBI and 13 doubles. Duncan (.400, 27 RBI, nine doubles) is also more than capable offensively.

    “Duncan through post-season games, and even in the semistate, was a very tough out,” Havens said. “Lee was at one time leading the area in doubles. So far, in our preseason, sophomore Johnna Hiatt has been as good as anybody at the plate, so we’re looking to fill a pretty strong lineup from top to bottom and see how it turns out.”

    Last season, the Argylls tasted postseason success, but they had to settle for second in the CIC with a 6-1 record behind defending champion Frankton (7-0), which beat Madison-Grant 3-2 in extra innings during the regular season.

    However, no team on their schedule will be highlighted more than the other despite the past.

    “As soon as you focus on one team and one team only, then someone else is going to sneak up and beat you because our conference is pretty deep throughout,” Havens said. “A lot of teams this year will be better than they were last year, but as always Frankton and Coach (Jeremy) Parker are going to be a handful. We’re not going to overlook anybody.”

    M-G's Brooks Now a Senior Leader, and a Fast One

    M-G's Brooks Now a Senior Leader, and a Fast One, by Rob Hunt of The Herald Bulletin

    Tanner Brooks

    Madison-Grant’s Tanner Brooks speaks prior to the high school track and field meet at Anderson University

    David Humphrey | For The Herald Bulletin

    When Tanner Brooks steps into the starter block at a Madison-Grant (M-G) track meet, fans should refrain from blinking.

    They might miss something spectacular.

    The Argylls senior is picking up this spring where he left off a year ago when he made it to the state finals in the 200 meters.

    On Saturday, Brooks moved up the rankings in the state for indoor small-school qualifying in the 60-meter dash at Anderson University in 7.05 seconds, a full tenth of a second faster than the previous week at Indiana Wesleyan.

    "Oh, he's going to be ecstatic with that," M-G coach T.J. Herniak said of the time.

    He is currently seeded third in the state for small schools in the event and will run this weekend in Bloomington at the Hoosier State Relays.

    An absolute blur on the track, Brooks has his sites set on another deep postseason run. Not only is he eyeing a return to the state finals in the 200, he is closing in on the school record in the 100-yard dash and is part of a pair of relay teams - 1,600 and 800 - that have high hopes as well.

    The five-time Madison County track champion - a sixth title was lost due to a disqualification - feels he is right where he needs to be at this time of the season, which is far ahead of last year.

    "I feel accomplished, but I've got to keep digging for more," he said. "It's not enough. I'm never satisfied."

    "I think he's improved. He's definitely much stronger," Herniak said. "He's carrying about 20 more pounds for track season than he was last year, so I told him to lay off the curls in the weight room. He's gotten bigger. He's gotten stronger, but he hasn't lost a step."

    In a uniquely individual sport as track and field can be and as deserving of the spotlight as Brooks is, he shies away from it in a sense.

    He would prefer to share his athletics glory with his teammates, hoping for their success as much as for his own. This is not to say Brooks does not relish his own achievements. He certainly does and celebrates them as vigorously as ever. But with maturation that has come over the last four years, he also wants his teammates to succeed, especially fellow football players Andy Stanley and Cole Stitt who join Brooks on the 800-meter relay team.

    "If we all have success in our individual events, then we'll have success as a team, and that's something I preach a lot," Herniak said. "For Tanner, that shows an evolution for him as an athlete. As a freshman, he was very cocky and focused on his own success and didn't really care what anyone else did. But now, he really celebrates his teammates' success and wants to see his teammates do well and be right up there with him. He's excited about where we can go as a team."

    If Brooks is competing - even from the sideline - he's a happy camper.

    "I just love competing, even watching others compete," he said. "I just have that drive in me. I need to compete and do something. Even during basketball season, I have to cheer them on. That's my team."

    "He loves competition. That's for sure," Herniak said. "Any time he has an opportunity to beat somebody, he's all about it. Tanner is a special kid from that aspect. A lot of kids you can't teach competitiveness. They either have it or they don't. For Tanner to have both the talent and the competitiveness, it makes him that much more special."

    Brooks was dominant on the football field for the Argylls rushing for over 2,000 yards and 36 touchdowns last season. Despite the fact many of his attempts on the field ended with him standing up - largely untouched - in the end zone, he still needed some time to recoup from the physical demands of the sport which he will continue playing at Wabash College next year.

    With daily reminders from M-G strength and conditioning coach Brock Massey to ice and rest his muscles, Brooks largely took it easy over the winter in preparation for this spring. He said he feels stronger and better now than he ever has and is ready to do to his sprinting competitors what he largely did to would-be tacklers.

    Leave them in his wake.

    "I feel like a new man," Brooks said. "I'm mostly excited to see how we can do because we have more drive than we've had in recent years. We need eyes on Madison-Grant this year."