Hillsboro softball sweeps Halstead, improves to 16-2

Hillsboro?s Allison Weber scores on a wild pitch during Game 1 while Halstead pitcher Candace Drake waits in vain for a throw from the catcher. Julie Sinclair (6) was at the plate when Weber scored. Hillsboro won the game 5-0.Dominant pitching carried the Hillsboro softball team to a doubleheader sweep Friday at Halstead, 5-0 and 14-0.

With the two wins, the Trojans improved to 16-2 for the season.

In the opener, the Trojans struggled to score runs against Dragon starter Candace Drake. They managed one in the second inning, two in the third and single runs in the sixth and seventh.

Allison Weber led the Trojan offense with a double and triple in four at bats with two runs scored. But it was her performance on the mound that secured the victory. The junior right-hander threw a one-hit, 11 strikeout shutout over seven innings to improve her record to 7-2.

Left-hander Julie Sinclair (9-0) picked up where Weber left off in Game 2, throwing an identical one-hit, 11-strike?out shutout that ended in five innings because Hillsboro finally found their hitting stroke against Drake.

An eight-run third inning sealed the victory. Danae Bina led off the inning with a single, and came back later to hit a solo home run over the left field fence.

Bina and Klein each had three hits in the game, two of Klein?s were doubles. Bina, Bradli Nowak and Sinclair each hit one double.

?Halstead was solid defensively, but were inexperienced batters,? coach Stephanie Sinclair said. ?We really focused on being error free and pitching consistently. I felt our pitching was outstanding.?

Haven?After a frustrating loss in the opener, the Trojans pulled out the big bats for Game 2 and knocked out a 13-2 victory over the Wildcats in five innings.

Haven, which came in with a 14-0 record, won the first game 6-2, thanks to a 6-0 start in the opening inning.

The split put Hillsboro?s record at 14-2.

The first inning proved to be the game-changer in Game 1. Potent Wildcat bats, combined with some sluggish defense, put the Trojans in a big hole.

Haven jumped on starter Allison Weber for six hits, including a three-run home run by Katie Schram. Julie Sinclair took the mound after eight batters with Hillsboro trailing 5-0. The Wildcats managed two more hits and one run before the Trojan lefthander got the final two outs of the inning.

?The first inning was just not our inning,? coach Stephanie Sinclair said. ?Allie gave up some hits and Haven had some lucky hits. But I feel like we played with?out a lot of effort on defense. We could have played a couple of balls better and that would have been the difference.?

While Julie Sinclair shut down Haven?s attack the rest of the way, the Trojans struggled offensively against Wild?cat starter Kylee Davis, who limited hard-hitting Hillsboro to six hits.

?We just did not respond by getting hits back to back,? Coach Sinclair said. ?They shifted their defense some, and that may have gotten in our heads a little.?

Another key factor was the play of Haven?s Saman?tha Stall?baumer, who ran down several of Hills?boro?s hard-hit balls in the outfield.

?Give her credit for not letting us have a comeback,? Coach Sinclair said.

The second game started like the last one ended?with Sinclair on the mound and minimal run production by either team.

After Haven scored twice in the top of third inning to take a 2-1 lead, the Trojan bats finally caught fire in the fourth, unleashing 14 hits in a 12-run explosion.

Nowak led off the inning with a home run, then added a two-run blast later in the inning. In between, Danae Bina hit one over the fence with a runner on board.

?I believe the girls were just determined to get the job done?knowing we lost and probably should not have,? Coach Sinclair said.

She also cited the defensive effort of her two catchers, Nowak in Game 1 and Madison Klein in Game 2.

?Both Madison and Bradli threw out Stall?baumer stealing at third in each game,? Coach Sinclair said. ?This was big?she had never been thrown out this season. In Game 2, Madison really took the fire out of Haven with this play.?

Meanwhile, pitcher Sinclair (8-0) successfully completed her longest stint of the season, throwing 111?3 innings, including a five-inning four-hitter in the second game.

Coming?The Trojans were scheduled to host Lyons in the regular-season finale at Memorial Field.

Next week, the Trojans enter Class 2-1A regional play hosted by Moundridge. The seedings will be posted at hillsborofreepres.com as soon as they become available.

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