The Hillsboro softball team capped a week that began with a pair of tough doubleheaders on Monday and Tuesday with a couple of relatively easy run-rule wins over Halstead on Friday.
A 13-3 victory in six innings followed by a 16-1 rout in four gave the Trojans a 5-1 record for the week and moved their season mark to 14-2 for the season
“It was nice to help the week with more relaxed games,” coach Stephanie Sinclair said.
Against Halstead, Hillsboro had built a 5-2 lead through the first three innings of Game 1, but a seven-run fourth drained any suspense that might be lingering at the Sports Complex.
The big hits of the inning were Tena Loewen’s two-run triple and a bases-loaded single by Bradli Nowak that ended up chasing all three base runners home.
Loewen’s triple was her second in as many at-bats. The first one came in the second inning with the bases loaded.
Julie Sinclair (6-0), who pitched all six innings for Hillsboro, didn’t give up a hit until she was two outs away from the win. Only one of Halstead’s three runs was earned.
Hillsboro left no doubt who was in control of Game 2, scoring four runs in its first at-bat and six more in the second frame.
Tena Loewen hit her third triple of the day in the second, and Erin Loewen added one later in the same inning. Julie Sinclair drove in three runs with a double and a single in two official at-bats.
Allison Weber (7-1) struck out four Dragons in four innings. She surrendered only two hits, both contributing to Halstead’s only run in the top of the fourth.
Haven—Less than 24 hours after splitting a doubleheader against a tough Pratt team, the Trojans escaped with a pair of victories Tuesday against another key league opponent in Haven.
While pitching and defense were the dominant themes against Pratt, offense ruled in Hillsboro’s 11-7 and 17-15 victories against the previously undefeated Wildcats.
In a wild Game 2, Hillsboro tied the game at 14 in the top of the seventh on a triple by Danae Bina and a sacrifice fly by Bradli Nowak, then dramatically escaped defeat in the bottom of the inning when Haven’s Mackenzie Rohling was thrown out at the plate trying to stretch a triple into a home run.
The game-saving relay went from Allison Weber to second baseman Madison Klein to catcher Nowak.
“The girls had perfect relay throws from deep right center,” coach Stephanie Sinclair said.
The Trojans then scored three runs in the top of the eighth. Weber delivered a key two-run single that scored Julie Sinclair and Tena Loewen, who had singled and doubled. Weber then scored on an error.
Haven managed one last rally in the bottom of the eighth, scoring one run with two outs before Loewen (1-1), pitching in relief, registered the final out.
The Trojans took charge of Game 1 with a five-run outburst in the top of the sixth inning to break a 6-6 tie. The big hit was Weber’s grand slam home run after Shannon Heiser, Kennedy Lucero and Loewen loaded the bases with consecutive singles.
“(Weber) had a great at-bat, driving the ball to right center with an 0-2 count,” coach Sinclair said. “Her quickness made it impossible for Haven to throw her out.”
Weber (6-1) went the distance for the Trojans, allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits, including two Wildcat home runs.
“It is always nice to sweep Haven,” coach Sinclair said. “They are a tough team with some really good hitters.”
Pratt—The Trojans couldn’t overcome a late tie-breaking run by the visiting Greenbacks and had to settle for a doubleheader split at home last Monday with a 6-5 second-game loss after winning the opener, 5-1.
The games had been scheduled for the previous Friday but were postponed because of weather.
Pratt took a 4-1 lead in Game 2 with a four-run burst in the third inning, but Hillsboro responded with four runs in the home half of the inning. Madison Klein and Julie Sinclair each drove in a run with a single and double, respectively, then Emily Jost chased two more home with a double.
Pratt tied the game at 5-5 with a run in the fourth, then pushed across a sixth run in the sixth inning. The Trojans managed a base runner in each of their last two at-bats, but could not advance them.
“Game 2 could have been ours,” coach Stephanie Sinclair said. “We had one mistake that came back to haunt us. Our batting dipped in innings five, six and seven—that just can’t happen.”
Tena Loewen (0-1), pitching in relief of Allison Weber, absorbed the loss.
In Game 1, Pratt tied the contest at 1-1 in the top of the fifth, but the Trojans responded with a four-run rally in the bottom of the inning, combining a pair of walks with singles by Kennedy Lucero, Loewen, Bradli Nowak and Sinclair.
“Kennedy had a great at-bat to get things going in the fifth inning,” coach Sinclair said. “That really sparked our team.”
The Trojans managed only one other hit against Pratt starter Brittnee Hill.
Weber (5-1) threw all seven innings for Hillsboro, scattering six hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Coming—The Trojans were scheduled to finish their regular season early this week with a rain-delayed doubleheader at home Monday against Smoky Valley, followed by a twinbill at Lyons on Tuesday.
Hillsboro will be hosting this year’s regional tournament, which will begin next Monday. The seedings will be published on the Free Press website later this week.
Joining the Trojans will be Cheney, Halstead, Haven, Hutchinson Trinity, Lyons and Sedgwick.