Trojans roll past Hesston, Halstead

Julie Sinclair pulls safely into second base for a double during the fourth inning of Hillsboro?s 20-3 victory over the Hesston Swathers May 12. Sinclair was the winning pitcher, improving to 11-1 for the year. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press

Hillsboro hitters vented their frustration over a subpar performance against Lyons by pounding out 33 hits over eight innings to end the regular season with run-rule softball wins over Hesston and Halstead May 12 at Hesston.

The Trojans defeated the Swathers, 20-3, and the Dragons, 17-0, in a pair of four-inning games. By improving to 19-1, the Trojans matched the best regular-season record in program history, set in 2010.

Against Lyons eight days earlier, the Trojans had lost their only game of the season as the top six hitters in the lineup combined for a 5-for-40 performance at the plate, with two runs batted in and two runs scored during the doubleheader split.

On this day?and against lesser opponents?the same six hitters combined for a mind-boggling 26 hits in 37 at-bats, scored 30 runs and drove in 27.

Madison Klein led the blitzkrieg, going 7-for-8 at the plate, including two home runs. She drove in 11 runs and crossed the plate six times. Slap hitter Allison Weber went 7-for-9, including a triple, with three RBIs and seven runs scored.

Bradli Nowak and Shan?non Heiser each contributed an over-the-fence home run.

?I wanted to see the girls hit well and look sharp on defense,? coach Stephanie Sinclair said about her expectations prior to the games. ?Our hitting was excellent, including some nicely placed bunts. Our defense was shaky at times. I felt there were a few plays that we did not make and should have.?

Playing single games against two different opponents at the same site was a regular-season first. With 12 teams in the Central Kansas League, a full round of 11 doubleheaders would have required a 22-game schedule?two over the 20-game maximum allowed by the state.

The format didn?t faze the Trojans, who took charge from the start with an eight-run burst to begin the Hess?ton game. The Swathers came back with two runs against pitcher Julie Sin?clair in their first at-bat, but the Trojans scored six more times in the second inning to put the game out of reach.

After a scoreless third inning, Hillsboro finished with a flurry in the fourth, scoring six more runs, including Nowak?s three-run homer with Emily Jost and Klein aboard.

Sinclair finished with a six-hitter. She surrendered two earned runs, struck out six Swathers and walked none to improve to 11-1.

Hillsboro?s bats continued to burn against Hal?stead. Weber, Jost, Klein and Nowak led off with consecutive singles in the first inning before Sin?clair cleared the bases with a triple for a quick 4-0 lead.

Heiser followed with her blast over the fence for a 6-0 start.

With Hillsboro leading 10-0 heading into the bottom of the third, Klein hit the first of her two home runs?a three-run shot to left field.

Klein then ended the game in the bottom of the fourth with a three-run blast that pushed the lead beyond 15 runs after three complete innings.

Weber (8-0) nailed down the abbreviated shutout despite occasional control issues. The senior standout allowed only one hit, struck out nine batters but also walked four.

Hillsboro?s four over-the-fence home runs in a single day is believed to be a program record.

?We love the big hits, and it is contagious,? coach Sinclair said.

Coming?Hillsboro is the No. 1 seed coming into this week?s seven-team Class 3A regional tournament hosted by Marion.

The Trojans received a bye in Monday?s first round, and were scheduled to play the winner of No. 4 Sedgwick (7-11) and No. 5 Halstead (5-15) Tuesday.

The championship game also is scheduled for Tues?day. For results, visit hillsborofreepress.com.

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