Hillsboro softball traveled to Hoisington Friday not only to face the Cardinals by powerful winds and cold temperatures as well.
The result was a softball split. Hoisington roughed up Trojan ace Taylor Helmer for a 10-0 win in Game 1, but the Trojans were rewarded for their gutty endurance with an 11-9 victory with Cheyenne Bernhardt pitching in Game 2.
“It was extremely cold and windy—45 degrees, 25 mph wind,” coach Stephanie Sinclair said. “I guess we roughed it out, and I will take that win.”
Sinclair said both Hillsboro pitchers struggled.
“Our pitching was not good,” she said. “We gave up too many walks in both games—we just hit better in Game 2.”
Game 1 was a struggle on all fronts. Not only were the Trojans shut out, but they managed only one hit before the game was called at the end of six innings because of the 10-run rule.
On the other side, the Cardinals scored in every inning except the third. Leading 2-0 after three innings, Hoisington broke through with a four-run fourth despite managing only two base hits—a single and an RBI triple.
Helmer (2-2) did surrender three walks during the uprising and all three runners scored.
The tide turned quickly in Game 2 as the Trojans broke loose with seven first-inning runs. Ava Weisbeck and Helmer each contributed RBI hits and the Trojans benefitted from a Hoisington error at third base.
The Cardinals pulled to within 8-6 in the third inning, but Hillsboro scored a run in sixth inning and added two more in the top of the seventh for an 11-7 lead heading into the home half.
“Sam Moss had the big hit in Game 2—a double in the seventh,” Sinclair said. “She hit a shot into the north wind. I don’t know how she got that over the center fielder.”
But Hoisington didn’t back down, knocking back-to-back singles at the start of the inning and a one-out, two-run double to reduce the deficit to 11-9.
Bernhardt (2-2) walked the next batter and gave up a single to put the outcome in doubt. But the Trojans came through with the final out and the victory.
Sinclair said the playing environment was difficult for both teams.
“The wind was so bad, several balls blew back into the infield for catches,” she said. “It was quite the challenge for everyone.”
Haven—Hillsboro hit the road April 10 for a doubleheader against an athletic and talented Haven team, and came home with a pair of league losses.
The Trojans were on the short side of a 9-3 score in Game 1 and a 14-7 score in Game 2. The two losses evened Hillsboro’s season record at 3-3 and its Central Kansas League mark to 1-3.
Both teams started their ace pitchers in the first game, Maquire Estill for Haven and Taylor Helmer for the Trojans. Haven caught the early edge with one run in the first inning and then four more in the second.
Estill, meanwhile, didn’t allow a run until the sixth inning, when her teammates committed two errors that allowed Elli Weisbeck to reach base and eventually score on a sacrifice by Dani Klein for a 5-1 score.
Haven secured the victory with a four-run surge in the home half of the inning. The Wildcats touched Helmer for five hits leading to four runs and a 9-1 lead.
Hillsboro did rally in the top of the seventh, scoring two runs with a Samantha Moss single, Helmer walk, a rare Haven error, and an RBI sacrifice by Ava Weisbeck.
Both teams bumped up the offense in Game 2 with Brooke Brawner starting for Haven and Cheyenne Bernhardt for Hillsboro.
Unfortunately, after limiting Haven to one run in the opening inning, the Wildcats roughed up Bernhardt for six runs in the second.
Heading into the fifth inning trailing 10-2, the Trojans enjoyed their most productive inning of the day, breaking through with five runs. Bernhardt started the rally with a single, Moss and Helmer reached on errors and Ava Weisbeck and Sarah Jost delivered RBI hits.
The Wildcats responded with four runs in their half of the fifth for a 14-7 lead that held up to the end of the game as Estill took over pitching duties late in the fifth inning.
Bernhardt (1-2) took the pitching loss, surrendering 14 runs on 12 hits over six innings. Jost and Ava Weisbeck led the Trojan attack with two hits in four at-bats and an RBI for each.
Coming—The Trojans (4-4) are scheduled to play at Pratt in Friday.