KNIGHTSTOWN — Wednesday night’s Class 2A Sectional 41 semifinal at Knightstown between Eastern Hancock and Shenandoah was a roller coaster ride of a game.

For No. 3 ranked Eastern Hancock, at times that ride was bumpy, while at other times, and most importantly, at the end, the ride was great.

It went from a typical Eastern Hancock (24-2) win, to a devastating upset season-ending loss, to a storybook walk-off victory.

Over the course of a few innings, both teams experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

But that’s what’s expected come IHSAA postseason time.

In the 10th inning, a Chyan Evans single scored Emily Hodges for the Eastern Hancock walk-off 5-4 win over the Raiders.

“The heart that these girls showed for one another was phenomenal. It was something out of a movie,” Eastern Hancock head coach David Trackwell said. “They came together as a group and never quit. It just shows how much grit and grind these girls have.”

For six innings, it seemed as though the Royals were going to secure their spot in the championship with little to no stress.

Senior center fielder Brooklyn Willis scored twice, including a solo home run in the fifth, to put the Royals ahead 2-0 entering the seventh, and in the circle, another senior, Tatem Adams, was throwing her best game of the season.

After a single to the second hitter of the game, Aleyna Sharritts, Adams retired the next 16 batters. With the help of a double play to end the first, she sent the Raiders down in order in each of the first six innings and struck out 13.

In the seventh, things got derailed.

A leadoff single by Lydia Schwagmeier, set up the Raiders No. 3 hitter, Elise Boyd, for a one-out game-tying home run over the left field fence.

That ended the night for Adams.

Trackwell turned to Kenna Stewart, but back-to-back singles and a pair of throwing errors by freshman catcher Camryn Blue allowed the Raiders to jump in front for the first time all night 4-2.

“We got sloppy. We should’ve made some plays that we normally make. Pitching got a little sloppy as well, and I wish we would’ve made a change sooner,” Trackwell said. “There were thoughts of making the change with the top of the order coming back up, but it was one of those things where Tatem is a senior and she was doing such a great job. I wanted her to close things out. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way, but we live to fight another day and she’ll get another opportunity.”

Three outs away from the season ending, Willis, who had already made big plays in the field and with her bat, showed — in another way — why she’s so important to the team.

A quick speech to the team before the bottom of the inning started sparked the Royals come-from-behind win.

“It was just a matter of me telling them that we couldn’t get down on ourselves and had to forget about what happened and move on. We knew we were talented enough to come back from that,” Willis said. “I just wanted to light a fire under them and make sure they knew that we weren’t done and that we all have each other’s backs. We’ve preached this whole season that we’re a family and we’re close-knit, and if you’re those things, it will work out in the end, and it did. Being a senior it hit close to home that this could be it. I’m just so thankful it wasn’t.”

Following the speech, Alina Alford walked, Evans pinch-hit and walked, and Blue made up for her errors in the top of the inning with a game-tying two-run single up the middle.

“I knew that I had to make up for the mistakes I made in the top of the inning, and I just knew I had to be there for my team,” Blue said. “I was nervous, but I knew I could do it. I had confidence in myself.”

“For her to be able to eliminate that from her mind, which is not easy, and come up and redeem herself was just phenomenal,” Trackwell added about Blue’s hit. “It just shows the ceiling that kid has as a player.”

On a team full of seniors and talented upperclassmen, three innings later, it was another freshman, Evans, coming up big once again with the game-winning single.

Hodges singled and later advanced to third on a Shenandoah fielding error to set up Evans for the walk-off win. After an intentional walk to Alford to load the bases, Evans singled back up the middle for the win.

“I didn’t think going into that at-bat that I could do that. My heart was racing, and once I hit the ball I was just proud because coming into the sectional I didn’t even know if I’d play,” Evans said. “It was emotional, and I wanted to do it for the seniors because they’ve all been so awesome.”

Over 3.2 innings of relief, Stewart — after allowing the two runs in the seventh — shut the Raiders down over the next three innings. She allowed just one base runner and struck out three of the final four batters.

The Royals left runners on second and third to end the seventh, singled and left a runner on first in the eighth, and left a runner on second in the ninth before eventually winning in the 1oth.

Eastern Hancock will look to carry over the momentum into Friday’s championship game against either Northeastern or Union County. The title game is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

Eastern Hancock 5, Shenandoah 4

Shenandoah (14-9);000;000;400;0;—;4;5;4

Eastern Hancock (24-2);001;010;200;1;—5;9;3

Olivia Watson and Aleyna Sharritts; Tatem Adams, Kenna Stewart (7) and Camryn Blue; HR: S – Elise Boyd (2). EH – Brooklyn Willis (16). WP: Stewart (11-1). LP: Watson (9-6).