Three straight sectional championship game appearances.
Two consecutive one-run defeats.
One goal: get back, and win it this time.
After capturing its initial sectional crown in 2010, Eastern Hancock posted back-to-back defeats to Union County in 2011 (2-1, nine innings) and 2012 (1-0).
After his Royals were edged by the Patriots last May, EH coach Jack Heiden said that the “best team didn’t win today, but they played better than we did today.”
Another element rooted in the Royals’ frustration was that they topped Union County twice in the regular season last year, including an 11-2 thumping on April 7.
Should it make it back to sectional finals once more and see Union County again, EH (17-13 in 2012) won’t have to step in the box vs. Maggie Tidrow, who struck out 17 Royals in that elimination game and now pitches for Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.).
Ten months have passed since that heartbreaking night, and the Royals are a refocused unit.
“(We’re) a hungry team,” commented Heiden.