Hillsboro High School softball team’s semifinal game against Riverton was a defensive struggle.
Riverton’s leadoff hitter reached base on an error, stole second, and advanced to third on a groundout, but the Trojans’ defense clamped down to get out of the inning without giving up a run.
Taylor Nikkel led off with a single to center field and two stolen bases, but she was tagged out going to home plate on a bunt by Tena Loewen. Loewen scored when Franny Gottsch hit a single past the shortstop.
Neither defense allowed any more base runners until the fourth inning, when Riverton hit a single with one out, but HHS escaped the inning without allowing a run.
Riverton scored in the top of the fifth inning with a sacrifice fly ball. The Rams took the lead in the sixth inning on a bad throw to first base by Hillsboro.
With one out in the sixth inning, Sammy Koons hit a double to right field, but the Trojans were unable to drive her to home plate.
Down 2-1 in the seventh inning, Hillsboro ended the game with a groundout to shortstop, a swinging strikeout, and a groundout to second base.
Medicine Lodge pitcher Taylor Catlin hit four Hillsboro batters in the game and was called for several balks in the third-place game, but the Trojans were unable to capitalize, as they lost by the 10-run rule, 12-2.
Nikkel, Amy Bartel, and Stephanie Sanders twice were the victims of Catlin’s wild pitching.
Nikkel was hit to lead off the game. She was called out at third base on a single by Loewen. Loewen would reach third base on a groundout by Sanders, but the Trojans couldn’t score her.
Courtney Weber pitched one-third of an inning before being replaced by Gottsch. Weber pitched a complete game against Riverton.
The Indians scored four runs in the first inning.
In the second inning, HHS loaded the bases with one out when Bartel was hit by a pitch, but a strikeout and a groundout ended the scoring opportunity.
Medicine Lodge increased their lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the second.
Loewen led off the top of the third inning with a walk and Sanders was hit by a pitch. The runners advanced on a balk by Catlin, but Koons hit a line drive into a double play. Loewen ran for home plate on a passed ball, but was called out to end the inning.
Medicine Lodge scored seven runs in the bottom of the third inning, all with two outs. Catcher Allie Faul became lightheaded during the inning, but continued to play. Weber resumed pitching duties after six runs scored in the inning.
Gottsch led off the top of the fourth inning with a walk and scored following a walk by Weber and back-to-back passed balls. Bartel walked, but was caught stealing second base, followed by Weber being tagged out going for home.
Down 12-1, the Trojans’ defense quickly ended the fourth inning with two groundouts to the pitcher and a called strikeout.
Loewen hit a double off the center field wall with one out in the fifth inning, but was out on a fielder’s choice at home. Sanders was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game and scored on a passed ball, but the Trojans’ rally fell short, 12-2.
It was the last game in a HHS uniform for recent graduates Tara Heinrichs and Dianne Sanders. The Trojans finished the season with a 23-3 record and a fourth-place performance at state.