Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 17 April 2012 14:55
Uneven pitching plus late-inning errors in the field and on the base paths proved to be more than Hillsboro could overcome as the Trojan softball team lost its first game of the season Friday.
Aubrie VanSteenburg’s single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh gave Halstead a dramatic 7-6 victory on its home field.
After a four-run seventh inning carried the Trojans to a 9-3 win in Game 1, Hillsboro jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the second game.
But the tenor of the game changed dramatically when the Dragons touched Trojan starter Julie Sinclair for five runs in the bottom of the third.
The freshman walked three batters and gave up two hits before Courtney Weber relieved her with one out.
Both teams scored a run in the fourth inning before Hillsboro closed the gap to 6-4 in the fifth.
Danae Bina singled and Sammy Koons walked and both eventually scored on wild pitches by VanSteenburg.
In the seventh, Hillsboro tied the game on a Koons walk, singles by Bradli Nowak and Krista Reimer and a ground out by Amy Bartel.
When Weber hit a ground ball, Reimer was called safe at third on a fielder’s choice, but Weber was then thrown out trying to advance to second; Reimer was then out at home trying to score, ending the rally.
In the bottom of the seventh, Brooke Marshall opened with a single off Allison Weber, who had come in to relieve Courtney Weber with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth.
After Allison Weber struck out Halstead’s No. 9 hitter, Simone Donaldson stroked a drive to right field, which the usually sure-handed Bartel dropped.
Weber then struck out Halstead’s next batter for the second out, but VanSteenburg followed with her line-drive single to left to chase home the winning run.
“A perfect storm is the way I would describe it,” coach Stephanie Sinclair said about her team’s uncharacteristic errors as well as pitching challenges that resulted in seven walks and nine Halstead hits.
“I really felt we would hit more off of VanSteenburg,” she said. “A few errors hurt us, as far as base-running. Our pitching was not stellar and I really can’t explain this. All of them had miscues and missed some locations.”
Lyons—Hillsboro took care of the Lions in a pair of 11-1 five-inning victories April 10 at the Sports Complex.
Danae Bina’s over-the-fence grand slam home run in the bottom of the second inning of Game 2 highlighted a dominant performance by the Trojans.
“Danae’s hit was beautiful,” coach Stephanie Sinclair said. “This can show our team that anything is possible and to keep working on hitting solid.”
The four-run bomb came after Hillsboro had jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. The Trojans added two more runs after the homer to lead 9-0 after two innings.
After Bina doubled, stole third and scored Hillsboro’s 10th run after the catcher’s throw got past the third baseman, Sinclair began substituting freely during the final two innings.
Lyons scored its lone run in the fourth inning on a walk, a fielding error and two singles against freshman Allison Weber (4-0), who went the distance, scattering five hits while striking out seven Lions.
Bina ended the game in the fifth inning when her triple drove home Weber, who had led off with a single and then stole second base.
In Game 1 the Trojans didn’t end the suspense until later in the contest.
After Hillsboro took a 3-0 lead in the opening inning, Lyons pulled to within two with a run in the top of the third off starter Courtney Weber.
But in the bottom of the fourth, Hillsboro broke the game open with four runs on three hits—including an RBI triple by Stephanie Sanders—and two errors by the Lions.
The Trojans followed that in the fifth inning with four more runs on four hits, including a three-run double by Sanders after Amy Bartel and Courtney Weber singled and Madison Klein walked to load the bases.
Bina had the privilege of ending this game, too, when she singled home Sanders with nobody out for the 11-1 final.
For the day, Bina went 6-for-7 with three singles, a double, a triple and a home run resulting in eight RBIs and four runs scored.
Courtney Weber (3-0) finished with a two-hitter and four strikeouts in five innings.
Sinclair was pleased with her team’s performance, but said Lyons was playing without two starters because of illness.
“We know not to take them lightly when regionals come around in May,” she said. “I would have liked to see their real team.
“Sometimes when we know the other team is down, we might play down also, but I felt the girls jumped out early and took control to the game.”
Coming—The Trojans (9-1) were scheduled to take on defending league champions Pratt in a home doubleheader Tuesday.
Hillsboro won’t return to action until next Tuesday when the team travels to Sterling.