LIBERTY — Forty-eight hours after losing a conference championship game due to a meager offense, the Eastern Hancock softball team took a step toward winning a more important title Monday, thanks in part to a potent aluminum attack.
While Darby Shaw tossed a two-hit gem, the Royals did their part at the plate, collecting 12 hits in a 13-0, five-inning victory over Hagerstown in the Sectional 41 quarterfinals at Union County.
The Royals (18-7) advanced to face the host Patriots (13-9) today, following the first 41 semifinal between Centerville (NA) and Cambridge City Lincoln (22-4) at 5 p.m.
“We have been due for a long time now,” said EH first-year coach Sue Anderson, whose club went 5-5 after a 12-2 start to the year, “Our sticks have gone down quite a bit recently, but I think these girls are competitors. And coming into today, they knew the pitcher, they knew what they were going to get and they were ready.”
On May 19, in the midst of the Royals’ mini-slump, Hagerstown pitcher Brytni Dale shut down Eastern Hancock in a 5-3, nine-inning Tigers win. The Royals struck out 18 times in the game.
Eastern Hancock stayed frigid at the plate much of the final weeks of the season, including Saturday, when Indian Creek defeated EH 3-1 in a battle of Mid-Hoosier Conference unbeateans. An Eastern Hancock victory would have given the Royals (7-1) a league title. Instead, EH twice left the bases loaded Saturday and the Braves (8-0) finished as conference champs.