With a little help from near gale-force wins, the Hillsboro softball team used a home run to fuel a doubleheader sweep of Wichita Collegiate in the season opener at the Sports Complex, 18-8 in five innings and 14-4 in six.
In the opener, the Trojans were trailing the Spartans 2-1 in the top of the second when Krista Reimer lined a shot over the left-field fence with Sammy Koons on board to vault HHS into the lead.
That seemed to be the jolt the Trojans needed as they exploded for nine runs on nine hits to put the game away.
?After Collegiate caught us in a double play early on, I was glad to see Krista get the big hit to get us going,? said coach Steph Sinclair. ?That was a turning point for us. Everyone relaxed and had some fun.?
Taylor Nikkel, who went 6-for-8 for the day and scored five runs, lofted a home run over the left-field fence to lead off the fifth inning for HHS.
Allie Faul ended Game 1 in the bottom of the sixth with a three-run, inside-the-park home run over the centerfielder?s head that pushed the lead to 10 runs at 18-8.
Franny Gottsch (1-0) pitched all six innings for HHS, giving up 10 hits while walking one batter and striking out seven.
In Game 2, a five-run second inning turned the momentum Hillsboro?s way and a four-run sixth inning closed the door on the 14-4 run-rule victory.
Courtney Weber (1-0) allowed only three hits in six innings of work, while walking three and striking out seven.
?Courtney threw with confidence also and really only gave up one big hit,? Sinclair said. ?This was a super beginning for her.?
Sinclair said she was most pleased with the way her team swung the bat, rolling up 32 runs on 33 hits, including 12 for extra bases.
But the Trojan coach also saw room for improvement.
?Our girls have to improve on little things,? she said. ?We were rattled at times defensively, and I know we learned from those mistakes. As the night went on, everyone became more sure of themselves.
?I am eager to see how we do this week and the improvements we will make.?
Coming?The Trojans were scheduled to play Sterling at home Tuesday, then will host Hoisington April 13.