Hillsboro High softball coach Stephanie Sinclair could look at the end of last week and see a half-empty glass. The Trojans were scoreless in Thursday doubleheader losses to Pratt, and Friday the team’s lone senior, Mesa Merrill, went down with an injury that will sideline her for an undetermined amount of time.
But steady improvement by her young squad has Sinclair looking ahead to a glass that’s half-full and more.
Pratt’s at the top of the league, armed with an “exceptional pitcher,” Sinclair said, but the Trojans played tough in the field behind pitcher Taylor Helmer.
“I thought Taylor pitched well,” Sinclair said.
A question mark coming into the season, junior hurler Helmer’s hard work is paying off.
“Taylor has come a long way in pitching,” Sinclair said. “She’s staying in the locations she needs to be with some of the batters. She’s working on a curve ball that she’s starting to throw. That comes from having that trust in herself and working hard at it.”
While the Trojans didn’t push any runs across the plate against Pratt, Sinclair has settled into a fairly predictable batting order that’s hitting around .350 as a team. It’s when the Trojans get on base that their youth shows.
“Baserunning, we work a lot on that in practice,” Sinclair said. “We still have our youngness about us.”
Defensively, the Trojans have picked up some speed in the outfield, and sophomore catcher Cheyenne Bernhardt has been firing good throws to keep runners honest.
“Overall, everybody’s improving; they have a really good attitude,” Sinclair said.
The Trojans were off to Lyons on Tuesday, with Kingman, Hesston, and Halstead coming up. Sinclair has confidence her team will continue to make positive strides in that run.
“I think we’re going to compete from here on out,” she said. “I think we’ve already seen the toughest.”
Golfers take 3rd
With three Trojans placing in the top 10, Hillsboro golfers shot 361 strokes April 18 to place third of seven teams in Sterling.
Elliot Ollenburger shot an 87 to place sixth of 41 golfers. Carson Herbel and Elias Werth each scored a 90; however, Herbel placed ninth and Werth placed 10th respectively.
Caroline Roth came in 18th with a 94, Colin Settle was 21st with a 95, and Joe Knoll placed 27th with a 100.
Varsity golfers play Tuesday in Halstead and again May 5 at home.
Tennis take 3rd
Trojans doubles tennis team of Dakota Klein and Jacob Isaac went 2-1 to place third of eight teams competing April 18 at Hillsboro’s home meet.
“They defeated a pretty good team,” coach Bob Woelk said. “I was pleased with their effort.”
Hillsboro singles player Dylan Wiens placed eighth at the home.