The Hancock Lady hornets made it to the District 11 Championship game after defeating the Breckenridge County Lady Tigers earlier in the week, where they would face off against number one seeded Meade County Ladywaves. The game was held at Meade Olin Park on June 1 under rainy conditions that made it tough on both teams to keep a handle on the ball.
Meade was the first to strike in the bottom of the second with sophomore Annabelle Knoop hitting a ball off the left field fence for a stand-up double. Meade would score on a pair of singles from junior Aubrey Hardesty, and freshmen Autumn Rodger, but would strand two runners on base with a pop-up for the third out.
Hancock came back in the top half of the fourth after senior pitcher Mary Morgan walked their leadoff batter, then put runners on first and second with a bunt that turned into an infield error. After watching two of Morgan’s pitches come right down the pipe for strikes, Hancock’s Layni Roberts did not let the third one get by as she connected to send the ball to dead away center. The ball cleared the fence for a three-run homer that put Hancock up and in the lead by two runs. Meade was able to buckle down to get the two remaining outs and get out of the inning.
Knoop would once again give Meade the boost they needed in the bottom of the fourth with a shot to left that cleared the fence for a solo homerun to get Meade back to within one of Hancock. Knoop’s homer prompted a single from Hardesty, and Rodgers drew a walk to get runners on base with the top of the order coming up. Sophomore Rylee Webb tied the game up with a single, followed by singles from seniors Makayla Bloomfield and Morgan to give Meade the two-run lead. Hancock would get out of the inning catching a pop up in foul territory, but the damage had been done and now Meade was in the driver’s seat.
Both teams’ pitchers settled in making batters hit to their defense and getting runners out before they could reach base. In the top of the sixth, Hancock led off with a single to left, then Morgan walked the next batter to get runners in scoring position. Meade allowed Hancock to score two runs on an error with no outs to tie the game, with runners till in scoring position. Meade committed their third error of the inning on a single to right field that allowed Hancock to grab a one run lead. Morgan would get Meade out of the inning by striking out the two remaining batters, but were now facing an uphill battle, rather than celebrating a Championship.
With their backs against the wall, and one out in the bottom of the seventh, junior R.J. Lancaster stood strong in the box to draw the walk and get on base. Two batters later, Meade’s big hitter on the night stepped in the batter’s box and delivered again for her Ladywaves. Annabelle Knoop would again crush a ball to left that bounced off the fence for her second standup double of the game. Lancaster never looked back as she rounded second and third scoring the tying run to keep Meade’s hopes alive. Unfortunately, that would be all Meade could do as the game went into extras innings.
Meade again would shoot themselves in the foot as they allowed Hancock runners to get on base due to errors. In the top on the ninth Hancock put runners in scoring position with a single and a Meade error after getting the first two outs of the inning. Hancock capitalized on Meade’s mistake by hitting back-to-back doubles that pushed three runs across the plate to take a three-run lead before Meade could finally get the third out.
Meade found themselves backed into a corner once more, but this time, Hancock was able to get the Meade batters to hit right into their defense for the easy outs and take home the District 11 Championship which they had not won since 2017.