Chris Timberlake, Staff Writer, [email protected]
They celebrated with fireworks and appropriately so.
Five minutes of Thunder Over Lanesville Thursday evening followed a thunderous display of offense by the host Lady Eagles, who captured their third straight Class 1A softball sectional championship.
Two nights after a 26-0 semifinal win over Shawe Memorial, the Lady Eagles cruised to a 24-0 victory over New Washington to improve to 22-6 on the season.
‘Our approach was just hit the ball,’ first-year Lanesville coach Steve Sonner said. ‘We were going to see a little bit different pitcher, but our approach was just hit the ball.
‘We practiced all week for the type of speed we were going to see,’ he said, ‘and we hit the ball.’
Lanesville plated five runs before an out was recorded and never looked back.
Meanwhile, backed by solid defense, sophomore pitcher Hannah Nunemaker shut down the Mustangs on just two hits, striking out two and walking one.
‘Our pitcher looked good,’ Sonner said. ‘Started a little bit slow with a walk to start the game, but then she cut down on that.’
Nunemaker admitted she was a little distracted at the outset after her team had to relocate to the visiting dugout when the Mustangs, who were the home team on the scoreboard, claimed the home dugout.
‘I was kind of mad at first, then I cut that out and started pitching strikes,’ she said.
Nunemaker allowed just one runner past second base. That was freshman Summer Raines, who reached on an infield single to start the third inning. She advanced to second on a wild pitch and went to third on a fielder’s choice but was thrown out at home plate trying to score on another fielder’s choice; that double play ended the inning.
The Lanesville offense, meanwhile, was in high gear, banging out 21 hits. The Lady Eagles scored at least three runs in each inning and put together an eight-run rally in the fourth after the first two batters flied out to center field.
‘We worked a lot on fundamental base running and tried to tweak some things,’ Sonner said.
Freshman Gracie Smith, batting third in the order, reached base all five times she went to bat, doubling twice and scoring five runs.
Nunemaker singled, doubled and drove in two runs while scoring three.
The team’s lone senior, Mackenzie Miller, tripled to drive in a run and scored three runs.
Junior Lily Romeo scored four times and drove in a run, while freshman Irelynn Hewitt Ball doubled, singled twice, stole a pair of bases and scored three runs.
‘We’ve had a great season,’ Sonner said. ‘I hope we’re not finished.’
Lanesville was slated to host West Washington for the regional title last night with the winner advancing to Saturday’s semi-state at North Daviess.
Lanesville 634 83 ‘ 24 21 1
New Washington 000 00 ‘ 0 2 8
W ‘ Nunemaker, L ‘ Snelling.
2B ‘ Haskins 2 (L), Smith 2 (L) Duncan (L), Hewit Ball (L), Nunemaker (L); 3B ‘ Miller (L).