Northeastern was locked in, determined and ready to end Union County’s softball sectional championship reign.
Seven of Northeastern’s nine starters had at least one hit and eight reached base, while Hannah Adams did her best Curt Schilling impersonation, pitching through a quad injury in a 6-0, complete-game victory over the Patriots.
The Knights advance to the first sectional championship in Northeastern High School history and will face Eastern Hancock in today’s championship game of the IHSAA Class 2A Sectional 41.
“We said last week before we lost to Monroe Central and we lost at the South Adams Invite that it was a new season for us and that we could just change it back,” Northeastern coach Jennifer Hill said.
“And we got Hannah back, so that’s huge.”
The Knights avenged a 2-0 loss to Union County in which the Knights struck out 13 times.
On Wednesday, it was Adams who tossed 10 K’s, allowing just eight hits and escaping a pair of big Patriot threats.
“We have completely changed this season,” Adams said.
“Our defense, our hitting — it was a great time for them to have my back.”
Sarah Scotten put the Knights on the board with an RBI triple in the first inning and ended the night 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
She also caught a little floating pop-up off the bat of Madison Walters to end the game.
“I just got, like, butterflies in my stomach,” Scotten said of the game’s final play.
“I was like, ‘It’s flying,’ I was just so excited, I couldn’t hold it in.”
Madison O’Neill had an RBI single in the second and tripled and scored in the sixth. Emily Loden hit a two-run double in the third, Marce Forrest had an infield single, Ashley Russell reached on a fielder’s choice and scored and Katie Jackson had two hits and an RBI.
“We’ve just been hitting the ball well,” Hill said.
Union County loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth.
Adams escaped with a fielder’s choice out at the plate, struck out Allison Franklin and got Brooke Reiboldt to pop up to second base.
One inning later, Alisha Burkhead and Krista Hofer had back-to-back, one-out singles, but Adams escaped with a strikeout and a groundout.
The Knights end a string of seven straight sectional wins for the Patriots and two sectional titles.
After graduating nine, the Patriots won the Tri-Eastern Conference at 6-1.
Walters and Maria Duckworth each had two hits for Union County, while Tanner Henry, Burkhead, Hofer and Shelby Sharpe each had one.
“I think that’s a testament to our kids,” Union County coach Scott Gray said.
“There’s a winning tradition and the kids understand and see that. They know what’s expected when they come in. But give them all the credit. Northeastern’s a good team. They got big hit after big hit.”