Warriors rally for two softball wins against Hillsboro, 2-1 and 3-2

by Don Ratzlaff

Marion took advantage of Hillsboro mistakes at critical moments to sweep both games of their season-opening doubleheader Thursday at Marion.

The Warriors came from behind to win the first game, 2-1, when the Trojans committed three errors in the bottom of the seventh to allow both runs.

In the nightcap, the Warriors registered a 3-2 victory when Trojan pitcher Holly Lindsay fired a rare wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth, allowing the go-ahead run to score from third.

Both games quickly turned into pitching duels between Lindsay and Megan Moore for Marion.

Moore walked Trojan leadoff-hitter Robyn Penner to start the game. Penner stole second, advanced to third on Lindsay’s single then scored on an error by catcher Krista Zogelman.

But that’s as productive as the Trojans could get against the junior hurler, who struck out 11 Trojans and allowed only four hits.

Hillsboro’s only other scoring threat came in the sixth inning, when Emily Ratzlaff advanced all the way to third with only one out on a throw that got past first baseman Jayme Steele. But Moore struck out Amy Duerksen and Julie Wall to end the threat.

Meanwhile, Lindsay was having equal success against the Warriors, striking out six and giving up only one hit-a single by Emmy Bowers in the fourth.

Still leading 1-0 heading into the final inning, Lindsay struck out lead-off hitter Moore. But Bowers made it to first on a fielding error by second baseman Shelby Estelle, then stole second.

Lindsay struck out Maggie Powers for the second out, but Trojan third baseman Danielle Goossen misfired on a ground ball off the bat of Heidi Zogelman, enabling Bowers to score the tying run.

Marion’s Nikki Moody then hit a grounder to short, but Duerksen’s throw glanced off the outstretched glove of first baseman Emily Donahue, enabling Zogelman to circle the bases and score the winning run.

The second game started much like the first, with Moore and Lindsay shutting down their opponents.

In the top of the third, though, the Warriors broke through with two runs. Whitney Wear and Krista Zogelman singled and advanced to third and second, respectively, when Ratzlaff bobbled Zogelman’s hit in shallow left. Both Warriors then scored on a single by Moore.

Hillsboro came right back with a pair of runs in their next at bat. With one out, Ratzlaff tripled to left. After Emily Donahue struck out, Ratzlaff scored when Wall reached on an error by Moody in left field. Wall then scored when Powers mishandled a ball hit by Duerksen.

The game remained tied until the bottom of the sixth, when Moore led off with a double, advanced to third on a ground out and then scored with two outs on the only wild pitch Lindsay threw all evening.

The Trojans managed only three hits off Moore while going down on strikes 10 times. The Warriors touched Lindsay for six hits and struck out eight times.

Hillsboro coach Carolyn Long was pleased with Lindsay’s performance, but was disappointed in her team’s offensive support.

“We struggled pretty badly at the plate,” Long said. “I knew that would be the weakness in our first game just because we haven’t had a lot of time to work on it.”

“It was a great defensive game,” said Charlotte Waner, Marion coach. “I thought we hit the ball well, and I was very proud of the girls.

“They were very focused,” Waner added. “I was really impressed with how we kept our composure. We came back in both games, and that says a lot about our team.”

Despite the disappointing way in which the Trojans lost both games, Long said the experience could be good for her team in the long run.

“We knew going in that Marion would be a good first game for us to see where we were and the things we need to work on,” she said. “They’re a pretty solid softball team.

“In years past, we come out from the start and we win, win, win-often by run-ruling. Then, when we get into close games in regionals, we don’t know how to hang on and finish. So, it’s good for us to have some of those games right now.

“No, we didn’t win, but we’re going to see more of those (close) games this year,” she added. “Hopefully, by the time it comes around to regionals, and we’ve been in some of those games, we will have learned how to hold on.”

Coming-Hillsboro was scheduled to play a doubleheader yesterday at Lyons.

The Trojans will travel to Canton-Galva for two games on Friday, then open at home against Haven next Tuesday.

Marion, meanwhile hosts Wichita Independent on Friday and Council Grove next Tuesday.

All games are to begin at 4:30 p.m.

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