Daviess County came away with a 12-2 Third Region Championship win after dominating Hancock County thanks to an offensive outburst in the fourth.
It was the Lady Panthers who got on the board first, as Hattie Newman singled with one out to get things rolling.
Jessie Daniels followed that up with a line shot to left-center for an RBI double to take an early 1-0 lead.
The Hornets got one back to tie things at 1-1 in the bottom of the first with a solo shot from Ella Staples.
They carried this momentum into the bottom of the third, as Baylee Estes got things rolling with a beautiful bunt single down the third base line.
Braley Roberts followed that up with a single, followed by an RBI double from Lily Roberts to give Hancock County a 2-1 lead going into the fourth.
Despite shifting momentum, Daviess County responded in a big way in the top of the fourth, with Katie Mewes starting the rally by working the count for a one-out double.
A groundout moved Mewes to third to represent the tying run with two outs and excellent hustle from Sophie Simone led to an infield single and a 2-2 ballgame.
Head Coach John Biggs Sr. said that he thought Mewes’ at-bat was what turned the tides for the Lady Panthers.
“The key moment I thought for us was Katie Mewes’ at-bat,” Biggs Sr. said. “She came up when we were down 2-1 and she battled up there for probably about a 10-pitch at-bat and ended up getting that double. Then she ended up scoring the tying run. That was a big momentum swing for us to answer there.”
From there on, the Lady Panthers broke things open with a two-out rally. Abby Newman was walked to put runners on second and third with two outs, but they wouldn’t be there long after Hattie Newman sent a laser deep to center to give Daviess County a 5-2 lead.
Shortly after a Hancock County error, Daniels extended their lead with a two-run homer of her own to make it a 7-2 ballgame going into the bottom of the fourth.
The Lady Panthers continued to pour it on in the bottom of the sixth, snagging a run thanks to a pair of hits from Abby and Hattie Newman, followed up by a run on a passed ball later in the inning to take an 8-2 lead.
After Mewes and Simone singled to start the top of the seventh, Abby Newman tripled to right bringing in two more runs.
Miller Roberts capped off the offensive showcase by doubling after Hattie Newman was walked, making it a 12-2 ballgame.
This was more than enough for Raylee Roby, who’d bounced back to finish the game with 11 strikeout after giving up two runs early.
The rain early on in the game made it difficult to rely on some of her typical pitches, but as the game went on and her team began to put up more runs, she turned the corner.
“Once I dialed in and my team put runs up I knew I was ok,” Roby said. “I had a lot more confidence in myself and I knew my team would back me up.”
Along with her sister Hattie Newman, Abby Newman had a dominant game offensively, setting the tone at the top of the lineup.
“It’s just something you expect,” Biggs Sr. said. “When Abby Newman comes up there, you expect her to get on base every time. She struck out the first time up and I think that’s only her seventh strikeout all year. That doesn’t happen too often. She made an adjustment and stored some information of where they were trying to pitch her.”
Biggs Sr. said that he was proud of the way the program has evolved over the years and how his team has developed over the course of this season.
“They really stepped up,” Biggs Sr said. “Because instead of trying to fight up that hill and be the one trying to hunt people, now everyone’s hunting you. I thought we really met that challenge and we’ve really come together the last three weeks as a group.”
With the Third Region Championship under their belt, Daviess County now looks to semi-state after a few days of preparation.
“We’re going to keep things pretty simple and pretty routine,” Biggs Sr. said. “It’s a fairly short turnaround. We do have a little bit of time here, so we’re going to try and keep our same routines… Normally we never practice tomorrow, but with the short turnaround we’re going to practice because we really haven’t had a practice lately… We’re going to practice tomorrow, practice Thursday, I’m going to go up on Friday and see if I can get some information on our opponent and we’re going to give it our best shot.”