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Trojan softball advances to state

Staff writer

Hillsboro High School softball team went from one extreme to the other Tuesday night in regional play at Lyons.

In the first game, the Trojans shut out Marion, 10-0. But the second game against Southeast of Saline was not easily won.

It came down to a single by Taylor Nikkel in the bottom of the seventh to bring in Courtney Weber for the win, 1-0, earning the Trojans advancement to the state tournament.

“It felt good to get the game-winning hit and to help my team win,” Nikkel said. “We knew we could do it.”

Weber was stellar on the pitcher’s mound, only giving up one hit and striking out four batters in the seven innings. She only allowed two baserunners the entire game.

“Courtney was hitting her spots,” coach Stephanie Sinclair said. “She didn’t get behind in the count. She was hitting nice drop balls and she was hitting the corners well.”

Southeast of Saline pitcher Kristen Conley pitcher also had a near-perfect game but gradually Hillsboro began to hit against her.

In the fourth inning, Hillsboro had two hits by Tina Loewen and Stephanie Sanders but Conley was able to get out of the inning with two strikeouts and a pop-up.

“I was about sick,” Sinclair said after the fourth inning and leaving runners on bases.

Weber hit a single in the fifth inning but the Trojans were unable to bring her home. Sanders hit a single in the sixth with the same results of being left on the bag.

“It was a great effort when we started getting some runners on,” Sinclair said.

Trojans broke out in the seventh inning with a single up the middle by Weber, followed by another single by Amy Bartel, and then the winning hit by Nikkel.

“I think Courtney Weber deserved to score the winning run,” Sinclair said. “One of my seniors deserved to get one of the biggest hits (referring to Nikkel).”

“I have never been the game-winning run before,” Weber said.

For the third consecutive year, the Trojans will travel to Manhattan Friday and Saturday to play in the state tournament.

“I expect us to go further in state than we did last year,” Nikkel said. “We got the first-time jitters out. We at least would like to be in the championship game.”

Marion

Annie Whitaker recorded the Warriors’ only hit in the first inning. Trojan pitcher Tena Loewen escaped the inning without giving up a run. Only one other Marion baserunner would reach base all game; JayDee Schafers was safe at first after a throwing error by Hillsboro shortstop Sanders. Loewen struck out one hitter in five innings of work.

Marion pitcher Raelene Allen did not have as much success on the pitching rubber. Hillsboro recorded 12 hits in the contest. Before she was relieved by Chelsea Voth, Allen surrendered all 10 Hillsboro runs. Loewen went 3-for-3 at the plate with 3 runs scored. Danae Bina went 1-for-1 with 2 runs and an RBI. Krista Reimer went 2-for-3 with a run and 2 RBIs. Sanders went 1-for-2 with 2 runs and two RBIs.

stats vs. marion

Tena Loewen – 5 IP, 0 Rs, 1 H, 1 K

Taylor Nikkel – 1-3

Loewen – 3-3; 3 runs

Stephanie Sanders – 1-2; 2 runs; 1 RBI

Sammy Koons – 1-3; 2 RBI

Danae Bina – 1-1; 2 runs, 1 RBI

Krista Reimer – 2-3; 1 R, 2 RBI

Allie Faul – 1-2; 1 R; 2 RBI

Amy Bartel – 0-2

Courtney Weber – 2-2, 1 R; 1 RBI

Last modified May 19, 2011

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