The Hillsboro softball let a second consecutive doubleheader sweep slip their fingers by surrendering six runs in the top of the seventh inning in a 12-8 loss Thursday at the Sports Complex.
Leading 8-6 heading into the seventh of Game 1, the Trojans retired the first two batters. With only one out to go, pitcher Cheyenne Bernhardt (1-1) walked four batters—one intentionally—hit one with a pitch and surrendered a single before Larned’s Baylea Perez doubled with the bases loaded to chase home the final three runs of the Indians’ six-run rally.
Coach Stephanie Sinclair said lack of mental toughness led to the loss.
“I think we will have it now,” Sinclair said. “And I would still do the intentional walk to load the bases—it worked for out two outs, just not the third out. Hitters six through nine hadn’t done a thing. We should have won.”
The Trojans did have last bats, but went down in order in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.
Taylor Helmer led the Trojan attack with three hits in four at-bats, scoring twice and driving in a run. Sarah Jost, Dani Klein and Ava Weisbeck each contributed two hits.
Game 2 turned into a 16-1 laugher. Larned scored the first run of the game, but in the bottom of the first inning, the Trojans combined five walks, one hit batter and only two base hits for a 7-1 lead.
The second inning was similar to the first with another seven-run burst with the help of five base hits, including an RBI double by Klein and a 3-run triple by Kylee Martin for a 14-1 lead.
“We faced three pitchers, none were effective—including the starter,” Sinclair said. “Our mindset was better.”
Hillsboro ended the game by run-rule with two more runs in the bottom of the third inning.
Taylor Helmer (2-0) scattered three hits, walked one batter and struck out three for the abbreviated win.
“We have improved in all areas of our game—hitting is obvious and their pitching was decent,” Sinclair said. “I see us taking off from here. Confidence is growing.”
Coming—The Trojans were scheduled to play at Haven on Tuesday and then at Hoisington on Friday. The Hoisington game was originally scheduled for April 6, but was moved back a week because of weather.