It took a seven-run inning in the seventh inning of Game 2 to give the Hillsboro softball team its first breathing room of the day, as the Trojans left Hesston with a split of their doubleheader Friday.
That late outburst enabled Hillsboro to put away the home team for an 18-8 victory after losing the first game, 7-5.
Swather pitcher Audrey Denno recorded 14 strikeouts in Hillsboro’s Game 1 loss. With Allison Weber pitching effectively for Hillsboro, the game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third, when the Swathers scored two error-aided runs.
Hillsboro rallied for three runs in the fifth when Bradli Nowak’s single drove in Weber and Tena Loewen. Nowak then scored on Madison Klein’s single.
Multiple infield errors in the bottom of the fifth enabled Hesston to regain the lead at 5-3.
With Hesston leading 7-4 after six innings, Nowak led off the seventh with a solo home run. Hillsboro then loaded the bases against Denno with one out. But the Swather ace retired Kennedy Lucero and Danae Bina to end the threat.
“I would put Danae up against Denno again with bases loaded—she battled well and loves being in the position to get the hit when we need it,” coach Stephanie Sinclair said. “Losses like this will make us tougher. I really think the girls know they can come back if we are down.
“Denno was a great pitcher with movement on the ball,” she added. “I really like to see us play against pitchers like this, to make us better. We did end up with quite a few hits, just not at the right time.”
Weber (2-1) went the distance for Hillsboro.
Both teams started different pitchers in Game 2. Hillsboro jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and led by as much as 9-4 after 31⁄2 innings behind the pitching of Julie Sinclair (1-0).
When Hesston scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth, Weber took over on the mound. She gave up a single that enabled one more run to score, but limited Hesston to a final run in the sixth to earn a save.
In Hillsboro’s seven-run seventh, an error on a hard grounder at third by Sinclair brought in two runs; a bases-loaded single by Tena Loewen resulted in three runs.
Nickerson—Big innings in both games made short work of Hillsboro’s season debut against Nickerson April 2 at the Sports Complex.
A 15-run third inning vaulted the Trojans to a 17-2 four-inning victory in Game 1 while an eight-run first inning in Game 2 ended in a four-inning 15-0 route.
In the opener, Nickerson had actually taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the third. But Danae Bina’s three-run home run following a walk and a Nickerson error opened the flood gates for 12 more runs fueled with nine hits and three walks.
Hillsboro actually scored four more runs in the fourth inning, but only two counted toward the official score, based on the 15-run rule.
Madison Klein led Hillsboro’s 15-hit attack, going 4-for-4 with five runs batted in and two runs scored. Bina went 2-for-2 officially, scoring three times and driving in four runs.
Allison Weber picked up the win. She allowed four hits and two earned runs while striking out three batters and walking one.
Weber was nearly perfect in Game 2, allowing one hit in the first inning. The runner was eliminated in a double play, and Weber ended up pitching to the minimum 12 batters in the four-inning game. She struck out four and walked none.
Tena Loewen went 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBIs and two runs scored to pace the Trojans’ 11-hit effort.
“I am glad we started strong and put the games away,” coach Stephanie Sinclair said. “If we would have played them close, I feel like the girls would not feel as good about the wins. Blowouts are OK if you can follow up with the tough wins.”
Coming—The Trojans were scheduled to host Smoky Valley Tuesday, then will travel to Kingman Friday.