HILLSBORO CLAIMS FIRST STATE SOFTBALL TITLE

The Hillsboro softball team claimed its first state softball title in the 15-year history of the program when the Trojans defeated Rock Creek 3-2 in a 13-inning championship marathon Saturday at the Class 3A tournament in Manhattan.

An error enabled the Trojans to break a 2-2 deadlock after the Mustangs had tied the game in the top of the seventh — just one out away from defeat.

Stephanie Sanders started the 13th-inning with a one-out single to left. The next batter, Allison Weber, laid down a bunt to move Sanders to second.On the throw to first to get Weber, Sanders to dash for third base, which was left uncovered on the play. The Mustangs fired to the left-fielder running to cover third in an effort to nail Sanders, but the ball skipped away from the fielder, enabling Sanders to score the winning run and ignite a well-deserved team celebration.

Hillsboro had taken a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Amy Bartel doubled with one out, advanced to third on Courtney Weber?s ground-ball single to center, then scored on Sanders? single — a hard hit ball that the Rock Creek shortstop knock down, but couldn?t field.

Hillsboro pushed the lead to 2-0 in the fourth on a two-out double by Bradli Nowak down the left-field line followed by ground-ball single by Krista Reimer.

Rock Creek got on the board in the top of the fifth with a lead-off double off pitcher Allison Weber, followed by a sacrifice bunt and a single to center.

In the top of the seventh, with Hillsboro only three outs away from the championship, The Mustangs pieced together a walk, a sacrifice bunt and a two-out single to tie the game at 2-2.

During the extra innings, Rock Creek got base runners as far as third base on three occasions — once in the 10th inning and again in the 12th and 13th. But in each case, Weber and her teammates got the critical outs they needed to keep the game tied.

The victory gave the Trojans a 23-3 record to complete their championship season, and sent the core of five four-year senior starters — Amy Bartel, Sammy Koons, Krista Reimer, Stephanie Sanders and Courtney Weber — out in grand fashion.

Freshman Allison Weber pitched both games for Hillsboro on Saturday, plus all seven innings in Friday?s opener, for 27 quality innings within a 24-hour period against some of the best teams in the state. The three victories raised her season record to 14-2.

SEMIFINALS — To get to the championship game, the Trojans found their big bats just in time for a come-from-behind 9-3 win over Chaparral in the morning.

After Hillsboro took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, Road?runner pitcher Lauren Hatfield crushed a two-run home run in the top of the third, then followed that with another out-of-the park home run in the fifth to give Chaparral a 3-1 lead.

But in the bottom of the fifth, the Trojans bats suddenly awoke. After Amy Bartel led off with a single and Courtney Weber struck out, Stephanie Sanders singled and Allie Weber knocked a bloop single into left to load the bases. Danae Bina followed with a triple to vault the Trojans into the lead, 4-3. Sammy Koons then whacked an over-the-fence home run to make the score 6-3.

Hillsboro added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth. After Sanders singled with one out and Weber bunted for a base hit, Bina forced Sanders at third base on a ground ball for the second out. Koons then walked to load the bases, and Nowak followed with a single that drove in Weber and Bina. Krista Reimer then singled to bring Koons home for the 9-3 lead.

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