Union County’s Lady Patriots stepped into the next level with a 4-2 win over Eastern Hancock.

“That’s a really, really, really good softball team that we just beat,” UC coach Scott Gray said. “They lost their first and last games.”

Eastern Hancock had not lost a game since the 4-3 loss to New Palestine in the first game of the season. The 4-2 regional championship loss to Union County this week ended the Lady Royals’ season at 27-2.

“Can’t say enough about our girls’ effort,” Gray said. “We had a couple defensive lapses but they figured it out and picked up after that.”

A walk (Tori Russell) and a triple (Annalea Adams) put the Lady Patriots up 1-0 in the first inning. An error put Sophia Knock on base and back-to-back walks filled the bases before EH pitcher Maddie Turner fanned the final two batters.

UC sophomore pitcher Chloe Greene retired the Lady Royals 1, 2, 3 in the top of the second inning. The Lady Pats came back with a run in the bottom of the second on Knock’s double with two runners on base.
The EH senior pitcher found her groove in the third and fourth innings with 5-of-6 UC batters retired on strike outs.

The Lady Royals opened the fifth inning with right fielder Brooklyn Willis hitting a triple into center field. Kaylee Kline reached first on an error that scored Willis. Then with the bases loaded, Greene threw a strikeout to end the inning and kept UC in front, 2-1.

Union County stepped up to the plate early in the bottom of the fifth inning with back-to-back home runs.

Adams swung on the first pitch to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning and watched the home run ball disappear over the left field fence.
Ditto Sophia Knock, who made contact on a 1-and-1 pitch that cleared the fence in center field that gave UC a 4-1 edge.

The Lady Royals struck again in the top of the sixth inning with a run on two hits. Kaylee Stewart singled to right field and Willis came back with her second triple to score Stewart. Greene struck out the next two batters to end the threat and the Lady Pats held EH scoreless in their final appearance at the plate.

Greene pitched the 4-2 seven inning winner with 9 strikeouts, one walk and allowed five hits.

EH pitchers combined had 11 strikeouts, four walks and gave up four hits.
Knock and Adams led UC at the plate. Knock was 3-for-3 with two doubles and a home run. Adams hit a triple and home run for a 2-for-3 evening.
Willis led Eastern Hancock with two hits in three appearances at the plate.

“Super excited to be going this Saturday down to Ferdinand to play at the next level.” Gray said during the ongoing celebration.

Union County (29-4) will play South Vermillion (22-1) at the IHSAA Semi-State at Forest Park (Ferdinand) at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 5.
South Ripley (15-6) and Sullivan (26-4) play in the second game at 1 p.m.
The winners play for the championship at 7 p.m.

Regional @ Union County
Eastern Hancock 000 011 0 - 2
Union County 110 020 x - 4
2B: UC 1(Knock).
3B: EH 2 (Willis). UC 1 (Adams).
HR: UC 2 (Adams, Knock).
LOB: EH 4. UC 6.
Batteries: EH - Turner, Stephens and Kline. UC - Greene and Hill.
Officials: Dave Chandler, Greg Reece, Mike Morrell.