It was a tale of two games for the Hillsboro High School softball team Friday in Halstead.
The Trojans played a characteristic Hillsboro softball game in the first contest. The Trojans jumped on Halstead pitcher Breeze Duvall to score two runs in the first inning. Although Duvall locked the Trojans up for two innings, the Hillsboro offense eventually struck again to lead 5-2 in the sixth.
The relentless Trojan attack can be summarized by the seventh inning. Hitters three through eight in the Hillsboro lineup collected consecutive hits. Danae Bina, Sammy Koons, Bradli Nowak, and Krista Reimer all scored while Koons, Nowak, Amy Bartel, and Courtney Weber recorded RBIs. Allison Weber closed the door on Halstead in the bottom of the inning for a 9-3 victory, sealing the win for sister Courtney.
With the exception of Madison Klein in the nine spot, every Hillsboro hitter recorded a hit in the first game. Bartel went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs and a run. Danae Bina went 2-for-4 with 2 runs.
The second game was uncharacteristic for Hillsboro. It seemed like the Trojans might run away with the game in similar fashion to the first, after Stephanie Sanders and Bina scored in the first inning.
For two innings, pitcher Julie Sinclair was getting ahead of hitters and forcing outs. The wheels came off her outing in the third. A walk, single, and walk loaded the bases for Aubrey Vansteenburg who delivered the first of five hits in the game to score two runs. Four runs scored in the inning and Hillsboro would play catch up for the rest of the contest.
The following inning, Bartel was thrown out at third base when a bunt by Klein was fielded cleanly by Halstead catcher Jerry Black. Two runners were stranded when Sanders grounded out to third.
Halstead tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning. With Vansteenburg on the mound, Hillsboro needed to manufacture runs to come back. On cue, Bina singled to lead off the fifth, and she scored with two stolen bases and an error. Koons walked and later scored on a wild pitch.
In the seventh, Koons reached on hit-by-pitch and scored on a Krista Reimer single. Bradli Nowak reached on a single and Hillsboro had runners on first and second with no outs. Amy Bartel grounded out to shortstop but the runners advanced to third and second.
On a ball batted in the infield by second, Nowak reached the plate on a headfirst slide with the throw just a little late to the plate. Head coach Stephanie Sinclair seized the opportunity to advance Courtney Weber at first and Black threw to second; Courtney Weber was tagged out. Reimer hesitated momentarily in the third base path, waiting for the throw home. The throw sailed over Black’s head and Reimer sprinted home. However, the errant throw ricocheted off the backstop into Black’s outstretched mitt and Reimer was tagged out at the plate. The score was tied at 6.
“We made great efforts in the comeback,” Sinclair said. “I’m pleased with the hitting.”
Peyton Wingert led off the seventh inning with a single on Hillsboro pitcher Allison Weber. The inning was prolonged when Bartel dropped a fly ball in right field. The batter previous had struck out and the batter behind Coby Jarrel also struck out. The error also allowed Wingert to advance to scoring position at second base. Vansteenburg stepped to the plate and smacked the game winning hit, the last of her five, to give Halstead the 7-6 victory.
“Errors in the second game really hurt us,” Sinclair said.
The loss to Halstead was Hillsboro’s first of the season. They are 9-1 on the season. Bartel said one positive is that the pressure of going undefeated has been alleviated.
“It’s nice to have a loss under our belt,” she said. “Now we know what it feels like and we won’t have to have another one.”