HHS 16-0 after sweep of Haven

Allison Weber fires to first base for the third out of the sixth inning in Game 1 of Hillsboro?s doubleheader with Haven. Backing up the play is shortstop Shannon Heiser. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press

The Hillsboro softball team improved to 16-0 for the season with a couple of hard-fought wins at Haven Friday.

The Trojans came from behind twice in the final three innings to nail down a 7-6 win over a talented Wild?cat squad in Game 2 after posting a 4-2 victory in the opener.

Haven began the day with a 13-1 record.

?I really tried to emphasize with the girls that I knew if we played our best we could get a win or two from Haven,? coach Stephanie Sinclair said. ?I am one happy coach.?

In Game 2, the Trojans led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs, Annika Miller hit a Sinclair pitch over the Trojan left fielder for a two-run inside-the-park home run and a 3-2 lead.

Hillsboro responded in it?s next at-bat with a one-out double by Madison Klein, a sacrifice bunt by Bradli Nowak, a run-scoring single by Sinclair and an inside-the-park round-tripper by Shannon Heiser to put the Trojans back on top, 5-3.

Haven refused to fold. With Allison Weber coming in to pitch the fifth, the Wild?cats scored three runs of their own, including a two-run inside-the-park home run by Katelynn Stucky.

?We made the switch thinking that Julie may give up more hits and that they had not seen Allie,? coach Sinclair said.

With Haven fans and players sensing a victory with a 6-5 lead, the Trojans orchestrated one last rally.

Savannah Unruh reached base with one out on a fielder?s choice. With two outs, Emily Jost blooped a single to right field. Klein then drove both runners home with a double to right-center.

Sinclair, back on the mound for the sixth and seventh innings, retired all six batters she faced to nail down the victory and improve her record to 9-0.

?It is always a tough decision to know the timing of switching pitchers,? coach Sinclair said. ?Both girls were prepared to pitch at anytime. I went back with Julie in the sixth and seventh because it just seemed right.?

The Trojan left-hander was the stopper in Game 1 as well, shutting out the Wild?cats for five innings as Hillsboro built a 4-0 lead.

The Trojans scored their first run in the second inning on consecutive singles by Nowak, Sinclair and Heiser.

The other three runs came in the fifth. Jost led off with a triple, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Klein. Nowak followed with an inside-the-park home run. With two outs, Heiser singled, advanced on an error, then scored on a single by Mesa Merrell.

Trailing 4-0, Haven scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth on a single and an outfield error. Sinclair kept her cool, retiring the next three hitters to end the inning.

In the seventh, Haven loaded the bases with a walk, a bunt single and a hit batter. But Sinclair ended the threat by retiring Stucky on a pop fly for the final out.

Heiser, batting in the six hole, had a career day at the plate, going 6-for-8 with three runs scored, six runs driven in and her first home run.

?Shannon stood out hitting, and the bottom of the order really pulled it through,? coach Sinclair said.

Nickerson?Hillsboro never let up against an overmatched Panther squad last Tuesday, sweeping the Panthers in a pair of 15-0, three-inning run-rule games at the Sports Complex.

Struggling at the pitching spot in Game 1, Nickerson handed the Trojans 19 free bases by issuing nine walks and hitting 10 batters. The Trojans added four base hits to the abbreviated blowout.

Typical of the game, Madison Klein drove in three runs with one official at-bat. She delivered a run-scoring single in the second inning, but her other two RBIs came on bases-loaded walks.

Pitcher Julie Sinclair retired the six batters she faced, four by strikeout, to improve to 7-0 for the season. Savan?nah Unruh, making her pitching debut in the third inning, surrendered Nicker?son?s only hit.

With a new pitcher on the mound in Game 2, the Tro?jans enjoyed more opportunities to hit the ball, knocking out 13 hits. Allison Weber, Emily Jost and Mesa Merrell each delivered two hits. Merrell drove in three runs with hers.

Weber faced seven batters in her two innings on the mound, striking out five and surrendering one hit to improve to 7-0. Unruh pitched a one-two-three third inning.

?The girls wanted better games, for sure,? coach Stephanie Sinclair said.

Coming?Hillsboro was scheduled to face Lyons, another strong league contender, Monday. A report of that doubleheader will appear in next week?s issue.

The Trojans will complete the regular season May 12 with a triangular format at Hal?stead with Hesston. The Trojans will play one game against both schools.

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