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Trojans softball team sweeps Dragons

Staff writer

It was a tale of two games Thursday as the Hillsboro High School Trojans softball team swept the Halstead High School Dragons in a doubleheader that was rescheduled from April 15 because of rain.

The first game was a close, back-and-forth contest. Courtney Weber pitched for the Trojans. In the first inning, with one out and runners at first and second bases, she induced a double-play ground ball by Halstead’s Ashton Bowen. Shortstop Tena Loewen fielded the grounder and threw the runner out at second base, then second baseman Stephanie Sanders threw Bowen out at first.

Loewen hit a long fly ball to center field in the bottom of the first inning. The ball slipped under the net fence for a ground-rule double, but flyouts to left field by Sanders and first baseman Sammy Koons stranded her at second.

Weber allowed two singles to begin the second inning, but catcher Allie Faul erased the baserunners. She threw Aubrie VanSteenburg out attempting to steal second and picked off Ashley Drake at first base when she didn’t get back to the base quick enough after a pitch.

The Dragons took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning, but Hillsboro tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Weber drove in Krista Reimer and Amy Bartel.

The Trojans took their first lead in the bottom of the fifth. Loewen led off the inning with a single to center field and stole second base. Sanders hit a sacrifice fly to help Loewen advance to third base. Koons hit a bunt single, but the defense held Loewen at third base. Reimer hit a sacrifice bunt to score Loewen, giving Hillsboro a 3-2 lead.

Halstead tied the game in the top of the sixth inning, and the game remained tied going into the bottom of the seventh inning, when the Trojans had a close call. Sanders singled with two outs. Sanders attempted to score on a double by Koons, but was thrown out at home plate, sending the game to extra innings.

With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the eighth inning, the Trojans defense clamped down. Halstead’s Victoria Roberts hit a ground ball back to Weber, who threw the ball to home plate for the force out. In the next at bat, Simone Donaldson grounded to Sanders, who tagged out Roberts running to second.

Halstead loaded the bases in the top of the ninth. Halstead’s Bowen scored when a pitch got past Faul. Faul threw the ball to Weber, who was covering home, but the throw was high. Weber had to stretch for the catch and was taken out at the legs, but she made the catch.

“Had she missed that throw from Allie, they would have scored another run,” coach Stephanie Sinclair said after the game.

Weber was shaken up by the collision, but after catching her breath she finished the inning with a groundout. Halstead led, 4-3.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, center fielder Taylor Nikkel hit a double down the third base line. She tied the game at 4 when Loewen hit a double to center field. Sanders hit a flyout to center field, but Loewen advanced to third base.

After Koons walked, Reimer hit a single above the first baseman’s outstretched glove, sending Loewen home for the game-winning run. The Trojans won the game, 5-4.

Game two had considerably less drama, as the Trojans won by 15-run rule in three innings, 16-1.

The defense didn’t get complacent, even after getting out to the big lead, Sinclair said.

“We got runs, but we did not let up on defense,” she said.

The victories made the Trojans’ record on the season 10-2.

The team also played Tuesday at home against Sterling. The next game will be Tuesday at Haven.

Last modified April 28, 2011

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