Trojan softball splits with Pratt

Julie Sinclair fires a pitch toward home during Hillsboro?s 5-2 victory over Pratt Friday. The junior left-hander struck out a career-high nine batters in a seven-inning complete game.
Julie Sinclair fires a pitch toward home during Hillsboro?s 5-2 victory over Pratt Friday. The junior left-hander struck out a career-high nine batters in a seven-inning complete game.
Hillsboro and Pratt came into Friday?s showdown tied for first place with undefeated records in the Central Kansas League. When the dust settled, they parted ways still tied for first but with one league loss each.

The visiting Trojans overcame their first defeat of the season, a 3-0 shutout in Game 1, to knock off the home team in the second game, 5-2.

The split gave Hillsboro an 11-1 record in league play and a 13-1 mark while Pratt is 11-1 and 11-3. The Green?backs? other two losses were 1-0 defeats against Class 5A Hays.

In Game 2, the Trojans bounced back well from the loss, scoring their first run of the day in the second inning on a leadoff double by Bradli Nowak followed by a bunt by Emily Jost compounded by a Pratt throwing error.

A three-run fourth inning put the Trojans in charge. After Jost singled with one out, Julie Sinclair hit a ground-rule double to left. Shannon Heiser?s single drove in Jost and a two-out single by Kennedy Lucero brough home Sinclair and Heiser for a 4-1 lead.

Danae Bina hit a towering home run to right center to lead off the fifth inning, giving the Trojans a four-run lead.

That was more than enough run support for Sinclair (7-0), who surrendered an error-aided run in the bottom of the second, but kept Pratt hitters off balance until the Greenbacks scored a single run in the sixth.

The junior left-hander scattered four hits in seven innings while striking out a career-high 10 batters.

?Movement on the ball was huge, curveballs and a few change-ups kept her fueled,? Coach Sinclair said. ?Striking out the side after our big scoring inning was great and kept the momentum with us. Bradli called a great game, too.?

In Game 1, Pratt?s ace, Brittnee Hill, cooled Hills?boro?s hot bats, finishing with a three-hit shutout.

?I think we made Hill out to be better, and we let her control us,? Sinclair said. ?In hindsight, we should not have talked her up so much.?

The game seemed to turn in the fourth inning. With Pratt leading 1-0, Allison Weber led off with a single, a sacrifice bunt by Bina pushed her to second, but an alert throw down to second caught Weber off the base.

Meanwhile, Weber pitched a strong game herself, surrendering six hits but only one earned run through six innings for her first loss in seven decisions.

?We talked about staying aggressive and hitting earlier on the count,? Sinclair said of her team?s response. ?We wanted to keep confidence in what we do. Bunting was something we did not execute as well, but Game 2 was better.?

Coming?Hillsboro will try to boost its league record this week. The Trojans were scheduled to host Haven Tuesday, then will travel to Halstead Friday.