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Eastern Hancock Pounces on Lady Panthers, 15-3
April 9, 2008 - Last season as a freshman, Eastern Hancock pitcher Kristen Brooks struggled at times on the mound. That’s not the case this season, and Brooks was in control of the game from the onset in leading the Lady Royals to a 15-3 victory over Knightstown’s Lady Panthers Monday night.
Brooks can likely empathize with Knightstown freshman hurler Brittany Brown, who got in trouble in the first inning and could never recover. The Lady Royals struck for five runs in each of the first two innings, scored four more in the third and another in the fourth frame.
Brooks worked just four innings of the contest, which ended after the top of the fifth due to the 10-run rule. She struck out eight batters in those four innings, allowing six hits and walking just two.
Knightstown collected two hits off of Brooks in the top of the first but left both runners stranded. Natosha Hiner opened the game with a single to left field and advanced to second base on a sacrifice by catcher Hannah Smith. After a single and subsequent stolen base by Karsyn Mohler, the Lady Panthers had runners on second and third base with just one out.
But Brooks quickly settled down, striking out Kelsie McRoberts and Samantha Taylor to end the inning and leaving both runners stranded in scoring position. Knightstown coach Angie Jackson started four freshmen in the game, including Brown, Smith, McRoberts and Hannah Jackson. They combined to score all of the Knightstown runs.
Eastern Hancock scored five times in the opening frame to set the stage for what was to come. The first six hitters got on base and five scored. Rachael Novick opened the game with a single, stole second and advanced to third base when Brittany Dunlavy reached on an error.
Brown uncorked three straight wild pitches, scoring Novick and sending Meagan Walton to first base after she was hit with an errant delivery. Dunlavy then scored on the third wild pitch. A Lady Panther throwing error enabled Walton to score and Eastern Hancock led 3-0 despite having just one hit in the game.
Brooks then singled and Liz Reger has hit by another pitch. Brooks scored on the fifth wild pitch of the inning, and Brittany Back laced a single. Back later scored the fifth Eastern Hancock run on a Knightstown error, giving the Royals five runs on just three hits. There were two walks and two hit batters in the opening frame, as well as three Lady Panther errors.
Knightstown threatened to get back into the game in the second inning. Brown led off with a single and then promptly stole second and third base. After Brooks retired Kynten Hannon on strikes, Jackson beat out an infield single to put runners on the corners. Brown then scored on a Brooks wild pitch that made it 5-1. But Brooks closed the door by striking out Caitlyn Marsischke and Smith to end the inning and strand two runners again.
The Lady Royals had batted around in the first inning and sent all nine players to the plate in the second. Dunlavy, who reached base four times and scored four runs, led off the inning with a towering home run over the right-centerfield fence. Brooks, Reger, Back and Sydney Stanley all scored in the second frame as the Lady Royals put up five runs on just two hits. Knightstown committed three more errors in the second inning.
Down 10-1 after just two innings, the Lady Panthers tried to get something going again in the third. Mohler had her second straight hit, but was out at second base on a fielder’s choice by McRoberts.
McRoberts later scored when Samantha Taylor hit a hot shot that Ashley Carlton fielded nicely, but the throw got away from her and went into right field. Taylor ended up stranded at third base when Brooks again closed the door by striking out two more Lady Panthers.
Dunlavy followed up her solo home run by nearly cracking another in the bottom of the third. This shot fell about 10 feet short of the right field fence and she stopped at third base with a triple. Dunlavy, Walton, Brooks and Reger all scored in the fourth inning as Eastern Hancock opened up a 14-2 lead.
Dunlavy scored her fourth run of the game in the fourth inning when she reached on an error and scored on another Lady Panther miscue. Knightstown’s final run was plated by McRoberts after she singled and scored on a hot shot by Ashley Wilkerson.
Stanley pitched the final inning for the Lady Royals, retiring Jackson on a fly ball to right fielder Anna Boylen, who momentarily lost the ball in the sun but recovered to make a bobbling catch for the last out.
Hiner and Mohler both had two hits for Knightstown, while McRoberts scored two runs.
Eastern Hancock got a great all-around effort from Brooks, who was 2-for-3 with three runs scored and also picked up the victory on the mound.
Dunlavy had a home run, triple and scored four times. Seven different players crossed home plate for the Lady Royals, who out-hit the Lady Panthers just 9-8 but won the game by 12 runs.
The two teams met again Tuesday night at Knightstown in the home-and-home series.
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