ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Poor play against a good team proved to be a deadly mix for the Hillsboro softball team Friday against Marion. The Warriors beat the Trojans 6-4 and 10-5 at the Sports Complex to drop HHS to 11-3 on the season.
“When we played them last year they were tough,” coach Carolyn Long said. “So I don’t think we looked past them by any means. Megan Moore, their pitcher, threw two really good games for them.
“But it wasn’t necessarily our hitting, it was our defense,” Long said. “Four and five runs should be enough to win two softball games if you play defense. That was the bottom line-we didn’t play defense.”
With Marion leading 2-1 through three innings, the Warriors broke through for three runs on three hits and two Trojan errors. Caitlin O’Dell’s two-run triple was the big blow.
Five runs proved to be enough support for Moore, who allowed two Trojan runs in the bottom of the fourth and one more in the seventh. For the game, she allowed seven hits and struck out eight.
Dionne Jost had three of those hits, including a triple, in three official at-bats and scored twice.
In the second game, Marion again broke through in the fourth inning, scoring six runs on six hits. Once more, O’Dell came through with the big hit, driving in two runs with a double.
Hillsboro came back with a run in the bottom of the inning to make the score 6-2, but Marion scored four more times in the fifth to put the game away.
The Trojans rallied for three runs in the sixth, including a two-RBI triple by Jill Hein, but Moore regained control the rest of the way and finished with an eight-hitter.
Hein hit a home run in the second inning and finished the day with two hits in three at-bats and three RBIs.
Holly Lindsay (10-3) was the losing pitcher in both games for Hillsboro, surrendering 11 hits in each outing.
The double defeats came just prior to the Trojans’ showdown with Wichita Collegiate for the MCAA title on Tuesday.
“We can do with it what we want,” Long said about the sweep. “It’s going to make us or break us. We all like to win, and winning is great. But in the end it may be losing that teaches us how to win-if we let it.”
Hesston-Dionne Jost made good on her first opportunity to pitch this season, tossing a no-hitter and leading the Trojans to a run-rule sweep of Hesston with a 16-4 win Tuesday, April 24. Hillsboro won the first game, 16-2.
In five innings, Jost walked eight hitters, including five in the final inning, when Hesston scored three runs. Holly Lindsay pitched the final out for Hillsboro.
Jost struck out only one hitter, but her teammates backed her up with solid defense.
“The girls knew Hesston was going to hit off of her,” coach Carolyn Long said. “We just had to be ready to play defense. And we did.”
The only defensive lapses came in the first inning, when Swather leadoff hitter Sara Washburn reached on an error by third baseman Amber Hefley, then advanced to third when catcher Julie Wall’s throw was off the mark on a steal attempt.
Washburn scored on a passed ball for Hesston’s only other run.
Offensively, the Trojans slapped out 15 hits, including a three-run homer by Jill Hein in the third inning and a two-run homer by Laci Alvarez in the fifth.
In the opener, the Trojans erupted for seven runs in the fourth inning to break open the game with an 11-0 lead. Hillsboro added five more runs in the top of the fifth.
Becky Jantz, batting in the nine spot, went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs to pace the Trojan offense.
Lindsay was sailing along on a three-hit shutout until the bottom of the fifth, when the Swathers touched her for four hits and their only two runs of the game. She truck out three and walked only one.