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It ain’t over ‘til it’s over and The Lady Hornets proved that when they battled deep into the night to claim the 11th District championship. Hancock County took a 9-6 victory over Meade County in nine innings to win the crown at Brandenburg Tuesday.
The two teams fought through a drizzling rain and Lady Hornets pitcher Lily Roberts was terrific. The freshman went the distance on the mound and belted a home run during the girls 21st win of the 2021 season.
“This has to be one of my top five wins of all-time,” HCHS coach Dwayne Wroe said after the game. “We’ve had to deal with Covid and other issues and this team has been resilient all year long. This was a great team win and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
The Lady Waves (27-8) took the lead in the second inning and it was a back-and-forth contest the rest of the way. Meade’s Aubrey Hardesty delivered the first blow when she knocked in a run to give the home team a 1-0 advantage. The Lady Hornets (21-14) answered in the fourth inning with a resounding reply.
Braley Roberts drew a base on balls to begin the frame and Kylie Westerfield followed with a base hit. Moments later Lily Roberts took an 0-2 pitch and parked it over the center field fence for a 3-run home run.
Hancock County’s 3-1 lead was short-lived as Meade’s Annabelle Knoop crushed a home run in the home half of the inning. The Lady Waves plated three more runs before the third out, giving them a 5-3 lead.
The score remained the same until the critical seventh inning. The Lady Hornets had three outs to work with and they needed two runs to stay alive. They got three!
Brooke Toler came to the plate as a pinch hitter and she delivered a base hit that gave the team a spark. Haley Wigginton took one for the team when she was hit by a pitch and Baylee Estes laid down a bunt to advance the runners. Estes beat it out for a base hit, but the throw was wild and got past the first baseman. Toler and Wigginton both scored on the play and suddenly the game was tied. Estes ended up on third after the over throw.
Braley Roberts then came to the plate and she delivered. The senior cracked a base hit that scored Estes and Hancock County now led 6-5.
Meade County now needed a run in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings and they got it. Knoop was at the plate with two outs when she smacked a base hit to left field and the game was tied at 6-6.
Neither team scored in the eighth inning so on to the ninth they went.
Braley Roberts and Ella Staples were on first and second after base hits then Lily Roberts knocked in the go-ahead run with a double to left field. Ella House followed with a hit that scored both Staples and Lily Roberts and the Lady Hornets led 9-6.
The Lady Waves had their backs to the wall and Mary Morgan started the final frame with a single. But, that was the last hit they would get. House fielded a ground ball and threw to second to put out the lead runner. Estes made a play on a fly ball for the second out and Lily Roberts recorded the final out when she came off the mound, grabbed the ball and tossed it to Adi Hurst at first base.
The girls had done it… and the celebration began!
“We showed a lot of guts to come back and get the job done,” the coach said. “We have some young kids in some spots and they came up big for us. This was a team effort tonight.”
Lily Roberts got the win on the mound. She allowed six runs (four earned) on 11 hits, with six Ks and four walks over nine innings.
Mary Morgan took the loss for Meade. She allowed nine runs on 13 hits, with nine Ks and one walk.
Lily Roberts was 2 for 4 at the plate with the home run, a double and four RBI. Braley Roberts was 2 for 4 with one RBI, and Estes and Hurst were both 2 for 4. Westerfield was 2 for 5, Toler was 1 for 2, House was 1 for 5 with two RBI, and Staples was 1 for 5.
Knoop was 3 for 4 at the plate to lead MCHS.
Girls beat Breck
The Lady Hornets advanced to the title game with a 3-2 win over Breck County on Monday at Meade Olin Park in Brandenburg.
The Lady Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning before Hancock County countered with a run in the bottom half. Hurst reached base on a fielder’s choice and later scored on a ground ball by Wigginton. The Lady Hornets took a 2-1 lead in the third when Lily Roberts knocked in Westerfield.
Hancock County’s lead swelled to 3-1 in the fourth inning. Wigginton connected for a 2-out base hit and she advanced on the base paths on a hit by Estes. Braley Roberts then delivered an RBI hit that was the insurance run the team needed.
Breck County pulled to within one run in the sixth, but the Lady Hornets defense stepped up and closed out the game.
Lily Roberts was the winning pitcher. She allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits, with nine Ks and three walks over seven innings.
Ashlyn White took the loss for Breck County.
Braley Roberts was 2 for 3 at the plate with one RBI, and House was 1 for 2. Staples, Hurst, Wigginton and Estes all went 1 for 3, and Lily Roberts was 1 for 4 with one RBI.
By Steve Wimmer