INDIANAPOLIS — The Class 2A No. 11 Eastern Hancock Royals showed their prowess in Sectional 42 on Tuesday.
Eastern Hancock dominated on both offense and defense in a 24-0 victory to start their tournament run.
“We’re trying to have a six-game winning streak,” Eastern Hancock head softball coach Pat Medler said. “We’d like to go one step further, and this is the first one. Every game counts.”
Six would be a sectional championship. This is their first year in the newly realigned Heritage Christian Sectional, but this would be their second sectional championship in a row after they went to semistate last season.
They face Triton Central tonight at 5:30 p.m. to decide the victor.
The two teams faced off at the end of April and the Royals won 11-0, but Medler said that means nothing.
“You have to come play the game,” he said.
And they came to play Tuesday. In the first inning, the Royals had a decent offense, capitalizing off of two walks, an error and a hit batter. Paige Wickard dropped one between left field and shortstop for a two-run RBI-single as the Royals took the lead 3-0.
The second inning was a different story. Eastern Hancock churned out hit after hit, helped along by a decisively weak Howe defense.
Megan Bever sparked the inning with a well-placed slap, Faithe Webster fanned the smoke with a single to right and Brooke Walden ignited the flame with a three-run home run.
“It opened the floodgates,” Medler said.
Another hard shot was produced by Micah Black, who went 2-for-2 with a double and a triple in the game. Wickard knocked a single to right and was followed by an Eriel Truitt single.
After a few flyouts and walks, Black was back at it again with a long triple, followed, yet again by Wickard and Truitt hits.
The scoreboard kept filling up. The 14-run inning gave Eastern Hancock a 17-run advantage. They added on seven more in the third, mostly due to Howe errors. Ashby delivered the team’s second home run over the left-field fence. The team totaled 17 hits in all and 10 walks.
Once the third inning ended, the game dwindled away with Eastern Hancock winning their first sectional game 24-0.
Defensively, Elise Bittinger and Jessi Potts combined for a no-hitter. The only runner allowed was the first at-bat of a game – a walk. Bittinger totaled eight strikeouts and Potts notched four.
Medler said they are shooting to make it further than last year.
“We made it to the final four last year, so we would sure like to win a couple more games,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Eastern Hancock 24, Indianapolis Howe 0
WP: Elise Bittinger LP: Cierra Imel
HR: Brooke Walden, Bre Ashby (EH). 3B: Jordyn Cross, Micah Black (EH). 2B: Black, Eriel Truitt (EH).
Notables: Bittinger 3 IP, 0 H, BB, 8 K; Potts 2 IP, 4 K; Wickard 3-4, Ashby, 3-4, Walden 1-1, HR, Black 2-2, Cross 2-2 (EH).