A five-run sixth inning not only turned the tables in Game 1, but set the tone for the rest of the day as the Hillsboro softball team opened its season Friday with two victories at Nickerson, 7-5 and 10-1.
In the opener, the Trojans had fallen behind 5-2 heading into the top of the sixth inning.
Krista Reimer lit the fuse for HHS with a leadoff double. Sammy Koons, Amy Bartel and Bradli Nowak followed with singles?two of them of the infield variety and the third a bloop to right.
With the bases loaded and one run in, Courtney Weber got Koons home with a ground out. Madison Klein followed with a looping single to right field that scored Bartel and Weber. Klein then scored on a double by Danae Bina for the fifth and final run of the inning.
?We hit some hard hits and forced Nickerson into playing tougher defense,? coach Steph?anie Sinclair said. ?Our bats finally came around. We did not lose any base runners either.?
Freshman Allison Weber, pitching in relief of her senior sister, Courtney, retired the last six Panthers in a row to end the game.
In Game 2, freshman Julie Sinclair made her varsity debut on the mound, and shutout 51?3 innings before giving up her only run of the game.
The Trojans, meanwhile, built their lead slowly but steadily with two runs in the first, two more in the second, one in the fourth and one in the sixth before breaking the game open with a four-run seventh. Reimer?s two-run bases-loaded single was the big blow in that five-hit inning.
?The girls relaxed in Game 2 and played much better,? coach Sinclair said. ?(The Panthers?) pitcher wore down and seemed to let up quite a bit. She did not throw many changeups in Game 2. We started reading her wind?up quite well.?
The season opener also marked the debut for several contributing freshmen: Allison Weber, Klein, Nowak, Julie Sinclair, Emily Jost, Kennedy Lucero and Lexie Kruse.
?I felt the freshmen helped us out a lot,? coach Sinclair said. ?They have been practicing for the entire month of March and played better than I expected.
?Bradli was strong in the catcher position, throwing out several runners. Madison and Allison batted well for us. Julie started Game 2, which was not the original plan, and did well.
?The seniors really support the younger players and give them a boost as needed.?
Coming?The Trojans were scheduled to play at Hesston Tuesday, then will host Kingman Thursday for their home opener. Hillsboro will be at home the following Tuesday for a doubleheader with Lyons.
Games begin at 4:30 p.m.