Fall behind early. Surge ahead midway through. Hold off a home-team rally in the last inning.
The formula was hard on hearts, but it turned out well for the Hillsboro softball team, which came away with a pair of one-run road victories Friday against a quality Lyons team, 8-7 and 6-5.
The sweep improved the Trojans? record to 12-0, the best season start in program history.
In Game 1, Hillsboro trailed 4-3 through four innings before erupting for three runs on four hits against hard-throwing pitcher B. Kelly. Taylor Nikkel, Steph Sanders, Franny Gottsch and Krista Reimer all delivered singles in the rally.
The Trojans then pushed the lead to 8-4 with single runs in the sixth and seventh.
Lyons? final at-bat against pitcher Courtney Weber started with two Trojan fielding errors, followed by a double and a single that narrowed the lead to 8-7 with nobody out.
Catcher Allie Faul then threw out a Lyons hitter at first and a relay throw from Sammy Koons to third-baseman Gottsch nailed a runner trying to advance on the play.
One more Lyons single put runners at second and third, but Weber got the last hitter to ground out to second baseman Tena Loewen for the third out.
In Game 2, Lyons jumped on top 3-0 in the first inning against Gottsch, who started on the mound for HHS. Nobody scored again until the fourth, when the Trojans got to Kelly for three runs on five singles, including consecutive bases-loaded, RBI hits by Weber, Amy Bartel and Tara Heinrichs.
Hillsboro then took a 5-3 lead in the top of the fifth on a two-run double by Gottsch that scored Loewen and Sanders, who had singled to start the inning.
Lyons picked up a run in the bottom of the fifth before HHS scored once more in the sixth on an RBI double by Sanders.
With a 6-4 lead, Hillsboro surrendered a run in the bottom of the sixth, then went down without scoring in the seventh.
With Lyons trailing 6-5 in its final at-bat, Kelly led off with a single. Her pinch runner appeared to steal second, but was called out when she let go of the base, and Sanders tagged her for a huge out.
?Steph?s tag-out at second is just experience on her part,? coach Steph Sinclair said. ?She knew to hold that tag on the runner, and the runner was inexperienced.?
The next Lyons hitter singled and reached second before Gottsch got the last two outs on a ground out to third and a fly ball to left.
?A lot of things happened to go our way, including a string of hits in the fourth inning,? Sinclair said. ?I really felt that was the turning point for us. We got back into the game, and every?thing picked up from that point on.
?Lyons was a tough team and they will be good in the future with several young players.?
Reimer was the hitting star for Hillsboro, going 6-for-8 with four RBIs for the day.
Hesston?Taylor Nikkel?s grand-slam home run in last Tuesday?s opening game with Hesston changed not only the game but the entire evening as Hillsboro rolled to a sweep of the Swathers at the Sports Complex, 10-5 and 14-4.
Hesston was leading 3-0 through 31?2 innings, thanks to some Trojan mistakes, a close officiating call that went against them and effective pitching by Swather starter Danika Good.
Hillsboro?s fourth inning started when leadoff hitter Tena Loewen reached base on a dropped fly ball. Steph Sanders followed with a ground-ball single to left, and both runners scored on a double to left-center by Sammy Koons, who got second life at the plate after the first baseman dropped her pop foul ball earlier in the at-bat.
With the score 3-2, Hesston coach Tina Haga switched pitchers, bringing in catcher Taylor Lowery to throw. Lowery promptly struck out Franny Gottsch, but the third strike got past the new catcher off the bench, enabling Gottsch to reach first safely.
Krista Reimer followed with a bloop single to right, but Gottsch was called out at second base on the force play. With runners on first and third, Amy Bartel struck out, but the ball got past the catcher again, enabling Bartel to load the bases.
Koons scored on a swinging bunt by Courtney Weber when the catcher dropped the throw to the plate. After Allie Faul?s roller to the pitcher forced Reimer out at home, Nikkel unloaded with a blast to left center that cleared the fence, driving in Bartel, Weber and Faul.
?I really was just hoping that she would hit the ball hard somewhere because things were starting to go our way,? coach Steph Sinclair said. ?It never crossed my mind that she would put one out of the park?but I would take that kind of hit any day.?
The Trojans were not seriously threatened after that point, with Weber limiting Hesston to one earned run and one unearned run the rest of the way, improving her record to 5-0.
The Trojans wasted no time getting the jump on Hesston in Game 2, scoring eight times on only three hits?including doubles by Weber and Reimer?in their first at-bat. Hesston fueled the outburst with five errors.
With the Swathers appearing demoralized at that point, the outcome of the game was all but a formality, ending by run rule after five innings.
Sanders led Hillsboro?s attack with three hits in four at-bats with three runs batted in. Reimer went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles.
Coming?Hillsboro was scheduled to play at Nickerson Tuesday and to host Ellin?wood at home Friday.