ANDERSON, Ind. —
For the better part of two months this summer, a group of 11- and 12-year-olds captured Madison County’s hearts.
The Riverfield Little League Softball All-Stars went on a tournament run for the ages, first capturing the state championship and then claiming the Central Region crown in Indianapolis.
That punched the team’s ticket to Portland, Ore., for the Little League Softball World Series.
There Riverfield went 3-1 in pool play — beating Oregon, the Netherlands and Mexico — to advance to the semifinal round.
The girls lost to New Mexico in the semifinals in a game televised nationally on ESPN2. The next night Hawaii also dropped Riverfield in the consolation game, leaving the local all-stars with a solid fourth-place finish.
In 21 games during the all-star season, Riverfield was never shut out. And its amazing postseason run ranks as the top sports story covered by The Herald Bulletin sports staff in 2012.
“It was a great experience,” Riverfield head coach Tim Landes told THB after the final loss in Portland. “I’m not sad at all. These girls gave me every ounce of energy they had. Fourth in the world is pretty doggone good. Way I see it, it took the top three teams in the world to beat us.”
No. 2 — The saga of the Indianapolis Colts
INDIANAPOLIS — Bill Polian and Jim Caldwell were fired in January following a 2-14 season. Peyton Manning was released in March. Andrew Luck was selected with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft in April, and a young team came together quickly during training camp at Anderson University in August. In October, the Colts were rocked by the news of head coach Chuck Pagano’s diagnosis with leukemia. The team then won nine of 12 games under interim head coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and clinched an unlikely playoff berth with a win against the Kansas City Chiefs last week. Pagano returns to the sideline today at Lucas Oil Stadium, and Indianapolis unbelievably will start 2013 with a postseason game.