The Hillsboro varsity softball team split a pair of games recently to run its record to 16-8 on the season. On Wednesday, the Hawks took care of Seckman, 7-0. They then lost a tough one to Parkway South, 4-3.
Wednesday’s win at home over Seckman was a satisfying one for Hawks head coach Kevin Lucas. “This was a really good win against a very good team,” he said. “We came out hitting and put up some runs early so that made things a lot easier on everyone.”
Hillsboro had six runs cross the plate in the first inning to give pitcher Elly Eckrich all she needed for the day. In the first, Bailey Shuman led off and reached on an error by the third baseman. Julz Johnson followed with a double, and then Ellie Bartlett drove home a run with a base hit. Amber Cage walked, and after an out, Alanah Dunphy singled in Johnson to make it 2-0. Nichole Evans came through with another base hit to make it 3-0, and Alex Wick followed that with another single that scored two runs. The sixth run came across on an RBI double by Shuman.
“I wouldn’t say we put it on cruise control the rest of the game, because we did continue to hit and get runners in scoring position, but we couldn’t get that timely hit we needed,” Lucas explained. A Cage single plated the seventh run of the game in the fourth inning, but Eckrich wasn’t going to be touched in the circle on this day. She would go on and pitch a complete game shutout, allowing just four hits and striking out 13. Possibly the best stat was that she didn’t walk one batter. “Elly Eckrich was on her game from the get-go and didn’t let up,” Lucas pointed out. “She ended up with 13 strikeouts in her seven innings of work, and that was against a lineup that has beaten some good teams around here.”
She was backed by 12 hits, as Shuman, Johnson, and Bartlett had two each.
On Friday, the Hawks fought back from an early 2-0 deficit after two innings against Parkway South. They got a run in the third on a Bartlett RBI single, but then they took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth when Eckrich doubled, and Dunphy hit her second home run of the season. After 24 games, she now leads the team with 24 RBI.
Unfortunately, Hillsboro just couldn’t hold the lead. The Patriots tied it in the fifth on a two-out single, and then went ahead on a Hawks error in the sixth. Hillsboro got two runners on in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t push across the tying run.
Shuman had three hits in the game, but then the Hawks could only manage four more. Along with Dunphy’s home run and Eckrich’s double, Wick also had a double, and Bartlett had a single. Wick started pitching for Hillsboro and went one and two third innings. Eckrich finished the game.
This was the third time Hillsboro had played Parkway South this season, going 1-2 against the Patriots.
On the JV side, the younger Hawks lost to Seckman, 11-1 on Wednesday, but rebounded to win two games soundly on Saturday, a 19-2 victory over Windsor, and a 13-1 decision over DeSoto.
Against the Jaguars, Hillsboro managed just one hit by Mackenzie Churchill in the top of the second. Cassidy Herget pitched for the Hawks and actually only one of the 11 runs she gave up was earned. The loss stopped a five game Hillsboro winning streak.
So on Saturday, the Hawks started a new streak in fine fashion. Against Windsor, an 11-run second inning assured a victory against the Owls. Kora King and Sara Stokes had the hot bats in this game, both collecting three hits. King had five RBI, while Stokes had two. Ashlynn Dean had two hits and knocked in two runs, while Kaitlyn Hindle (2 RBI), and Avery Vaughn (3 RBI) had one hit each. King took the victory pitching, allowing no earned runs and six hits, while striking out three and walking just one.
In the second game on Saturday, the Hawks had an easy time with the Dragons. Vaughn was the winning pitcher allowing no earned runs on just three hits. She struck out two and walked one. Hillsboro collected six hits. Hailey Genge hit a three run home run and had five RBI. Leya Pogue had a double and two RBI. Isa Hoban, Stokes, Dean, and King each had the other safeties for the Hawks.
Herget felt good about how the team rebounded from the Seckman loss. “I feel like we really came together as a team and fed off each other’s energy,” she said. “As a team, I don’t think any of us really got down, and it really kept the momentum going throughout the two games. Hopefully it continues throughout the rest of the season.”
Hoban was excited about the team’s attitude. “I think we played great,” she said. “There was not one moment in the game that I wasn’t happy about…we played our hearts out and got two big wins out of it. The defense was solid, and I am very proud to be a part of the team.” Hillsboro is now 11-3 on the season.
Both the varsity and JV are in action today at Windsor. The varsity game begins at 4:30, while the JV game will follow.