WHEATFIELD | They’re probably still dancing in the streets of Cedar Lake.
Hanover Central (17-9) dethroned Class 3A defending state champion Andrean 1-0 in dramatic fashion Friday night to win the Kankakee Valley Sectional championship.
“Oh my God,” said Ashley Yoways, who pitched and hit the Wildcats to victory.
“It was a great game,” Hanover coach Larry McMillen said.
It was Hanover’s seventh sectional title overall, the first in 3A, and it snapped Andrean’s run of six straight championships.
“It’s unreal,” said Alyssa Howard, who singled and scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh. “It’s my senior year so it feels real good.”
Howard advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jaime Frost before Johnna Rozek coaxed a walk to bring Yoways to the plate.
Yoways delivered the game-winning hit on the first offering from Andrean’s Brenna Boyle to plate Howard.
“We had to get that run, it was clutch,” Howard said.
Hanover will host the regional at 7 p.m. Tuesday against the winner from Clark.
It was fitting that Yoways was one of the heroes, having shut down Andrean for seven innings, striking out 13 and pitching out of two jams.
“They’re a great team, they have great players,” she said.
In the sixth inning, Andrean (19-9) had its best chance to score when it loaded the bases with one out. Yoways struck out the next two batters, the second after falling behind 3-0 in the count.
“When the bases were loaded, I was freaking out,” Yoways said. “And when I got back in, I was first up after that, I was shaking holding the bat.”
McMillen had faith in Yoways and said she’s “cool as a cucumber.”
“He thinks that, but he always thinks that,” Yoways said.
Andrean coach Brooke Baker-Runyon said her batters weren’t able to make adjustments at the plate.
“Yoways had a very good game, kept us off balance and moved the ball around,” she said.
Baker-Runyon added the Valparaiso-bound Boyle put them in position to win.
“You can’t ask much more out of that,” she said. “She’s going to play D-I college ball as a shortstop.”