Caleb Riordan | Ameritime Sports Writer
The Hillsboro Hawks Varsity Softball season is underway and they already have a tournament under their belt. The Hawks went 4-1 in the Sullivan tournament this past weekend with notable wins over Eldon, Windsor, Northwest and Bolivar.
Their first contest of the year came Thursday against Eldon. They asserted themselves early and scored often. Kora King led the team with four hits. She was 4-4 with four RBIs and scored three runs. Elly Eckrich was 3-4 with three singles and three RBIs. Eckrich was also the starting pitcher. She threw five innings, allowed four hits, one run and struck out five batters. Ashlyn Dean racked up two doubles, one RBI and scored two runs. Hillsboro won 9-1.
Their next game was an even more dominant performance from the Hawks. They did all their damage in two innings; five runs in the first and eight in the third. They secured a 13-0 shutout victory over Bolivar.
Eckrich started this one in the circle again. This time, she didn’t allow a single hit. She pitched four innings, stuck out seven and walked just one batter. She also drew a walk and knocked in two RBIs at the plate. Lauren Nichols was 2-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Cassidy Herget was 2-3 with a home run and three RBIs. Dean was 2-2 with two doubles and two RBIs. Sara Stokes, Bailey Scallet and Hailey Genge all had an RBI as well.
The third game was the only bump in the road for the Hawks in the tournament. They lost to Eureka 9-2 in their final of the three games they played on Thursday. Errors were the story of the game for the Hawks. They committed seven in the game. Kaylee Hilton was the starting pitcher in the game. She threw all four innings, allowed five hits, struck out five batters, and allowed nine runs. Only one of those runs was earned.
Nichols led the way at the plate. She was 2-3 with two singles. Eckrich smoked a two-run homerun and King also picked up one hit as well.
Hillsboro went into the final day of the tournament on Saturday 2-1 with two games left to play. The first of the two was against Northwest.
This was their closest game of the weekend. The Hawks scored two runs in the first to take the initial lead. They added one run in the third, fourth and fifth innings as well. They held off a late surge from Northwest and secured a 5-3 victory.
Stokes and Genge tied for the team lead with two hits each. Stokes had two doubles and an RBI. Genge smashed a home run, picked up two RBIs and scored two runs. Scallet picked up a hit as well. Eckrich started the game and pitched all six innings. She allowed five hits, three runs and struck out five batters.
Their fifth and final game came against Windsor for fifth place in the tournament. Hilton started her second game of the tournament and was dominant this time around. So dominant in fact that she spun a no-hitter. She pitched seven innings, struck out ten batters and (obviously) did not allow a single hit. That is pure brilliance on the mound.
Nichols again led the team in hits with two and she scored one run. Eckrich was 1-4 with an RBI. Herget was 1-3 with an RBI. Genge also had an RBI and scored a run as well.
“I think we started out well this weekend,” Nichols said. “I can’t wait to see how far we can go this season.”
It’s safe to say the team is very confident in their hot start. Aside from the hiccup against Eureka, this team had a ton of positives to take away from their first tournament of the year.
“The underclassmen really stepped up and did a great job which is going to be a big part of this team this year,” Eckrich said. “The returners were solid as expected. I think overall it was a really good sign of what we can do this year.”
They want to be in a position to win at the end of the year, so this is only the beginning for this Hawks squad.