The 3-0 loss this time around gave Hillsboro an 0-8 record against Southeast in regional competition during the 10-year history of the program.
Hillsboro’s chances seemed better in 2007, as Southeast entered the tournament with a 7-9 record. Unfortunately for coach Stephanie Sinclair’s team, the sub-par mark reflected the toughness of Southeast’s season schedule rather than any exploitable weaknesses.
Southeast pitcher Cassie Schlesener gave up one run in three tournament games. The sophomore allowed only two hits against Hillsboro while her teammates touched Hillsboro starter Jenesa Klose for eight hits and six walks.
All eight of those hits, and four of the walks, occurred in the second, fourth and sixth innings, when Southeast pushed across single runs.
Hillsboro, meanwhile, got one runner as far as third base. Lora Andrews led of the second inning with one of Hillsboro’s hits. After a sacrifice bunt by Steph Abbot and a walk by Rachelle Goldsby, the runners advanced to second and third on Briana Loewen's ground out to first. But a fly out ended the threat.
Schlesener never faced more than the minimum three batters the rest of the way.
“The girls felt like they could hit off of Schlesener—they played against her in the summer,” Sinclair said. “We just did not come through. Two hits does not often win a ball game.
“Defensively, though, I felt we were a sound team,” she added.
Neither team committed an error in the game.
The loss brought Hillsboro’s season to a close with an 11-7 record. But with a junior-laden lineup that loses only one senior starter, Hillsboro should be primed to make another run at the school’s first state-tournament berth next year.
“If our girls continue to lift and play in the off-season, and they continue to give 100 percent at all times, they can achieve anything,” Sinclair said. “They are a great bunch of girls to coach.”
Semifinals vs. Marion—Hillsboro made to the title game by defeating Marion 13-3 in the semifinals earlier in the afternoon.
The outcome was all but decided early as the Trojans came out sharp while the Warriors struggled to find their rhythm.
After Jenesa Klose set down the Warriors 1-2-3 to start the game, Hillsboro erupted for four runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Five Trojan hits combined with two Marion errors set the tone. Amber King’s two-run bloop single with two outs and the bases loaded was the big hit.
The Trojans generated more of the same in the bottom of the second, this time scoring seven runs on six hits and two more Marion errors. Once again, King delivered a two-run single to fuel the assault. Jessica Klose, Steph Abbott, Briana Loewen and Amanda Bina also contributed RBI singles.
Facing an 11-0 deficit after two innings, the Warriors could have folded up the tent. But they regrouped and limited the Trojans the rest of the way to single runs in the fifth and sixth innings while erupting for three in their half of the fifth.
Kari Tajchman led off with a single, then was safe at second when the Trojans couldn’t execute a fielder’s choice on a ball hit by Lauren Helmer.
A throwing error by pitcher Jenesa Klose on a bunt by Austin Percell enabled Tajchman to score. Helmer scored on a single by Erica Geis and Percell came in on a ground out by Morgan Cady.
Hillsboro ended the game in the bottom of the sixth when Jenesa Klose walked, Bina singled and then a throwing error by pitcher Sonja Seinborn on a bunt by Suzy Lindsay enabled Klose to score.
On the mound, Klose finished with a six-hitter. She walked two Warriors and struck out three.
Hillsboro finished with 14 hits, all singles. Bina and Jessica Klose each were 3-for-4 with two runs scored. King and Andrews were both 2-for-4, with King accumulating four RBI.
Geis and Kristen Waner each had two hits for Marion, who finished the season with a 5-12 mark.