Trojans win with bunt, big inning
The Hillsboro High School softball team won Friday at Smoky Valley.
The Trojans won the first game in a pitcher’s duel, 4-3. Hillsboro led 3-1 going into the fifth, but the Vikings scored two runs in the fifth.
The score stayed knotted through the top of the seventh when Trojan second baseman Tena Loewen hustled on base, just barely beating a throw from the Smoky Valley second baseman on an infield hit. Loewen then proceeded to steal second, outrunning a good throw from the Smoky Valley catcher.
“I’d be crazy not to use Tena’s speed,” coach Stephanie Sinclair said.
A passed ball allowed Loewen to advance standing up to third. While Loewen was running the bases, Trojan shortstop Stephanie Sanders was at the plate. With Loewen at third, Sanders executed a squeeze bunt up the first-base line. The Smoky Valley infielders were left with only one available out — Sanders at first — and Hillsboro took the lead.
“The bigger thing is that the kids executed the play,” Sinclair said. “I don’t think there’s a kid on my team who wouldn’t do what it takes to win.”
Hillsboro pitcher Courtney Weber came back to pitch the seventh inning and it would be the most clutch inning of her winning start. She struck out the first batter of the inning and then induced two consecutive ground balls — the first back to herself and the second to Loewen, who fired the ball to get the speeding Smoky Valley runner — to complete the victory.
“Courtney deserves a lot of credit because she continues to work on all the pitches that she throws,” Sinclair said.
It was also the first game where catcher Allie Faul called the entire game for Weber. Sinclair praised her pitcher and catcher for their decision making.
“They did an excellent job of picking the right pitches for the right batters,” Sinclair said.
The Trojans defeated the Vikings in the nightcap, 10-6.
Hillsboro was down, 3-1, going into the fourth inning when the Trojan offense exploded.
In the fourth inning, Faul scored Weber with a double. Taylor Nikkel reached on a fielder’s choice, catching Faul at the plate. After a walk by Tena Loewen, a base hit by Sanders knocked in Nikkel and Loewen. A triple by Hillsboro first baseman Sammy Koons scored Sanders. The game’s pitcher, Franny Gottsch scored Koons on a base hit to give the Trojans a 6-3 lead.
In the top of the fifth inning, a Nikkel infield hit scored Weber from third. Loewen reached with a base hit up the middle and Sanders drove both runners in with a base hit to expand the Hillsboro lead to 10-3.
Franny Gottsch gave up three Viking runs, but pitched until the last batter when Weber took over to finish the game.
Last modified April 21, 2010