Caleb Riordan | Ameritime Sports Writer
The Hillsboro Hawks Varsity Softball team improved to 13-5 with key wins over Union and Washington.
The last time we caught up with the Hawks they were coming fresh off a three-game winning streak that improved their record to 9-3. They pushed that streak one more game when they captured an 11-2 win over the Lindbergh Flyers. Cassidy Herget led the way in that game with three RBIs. She was 2-3 and also scored a run.
“I try my hardest to stay relaxed and just put the ball in play,” Herget said. “Even though I’m not getting on base and scoring all the time, I’m still able to bounce runs in for my team every now and then.”
Lauren Nichols was 2-4 with two RBIs and scored three runs. Sara Stokes and Kaylee Hilton each scored two runs as well. Elly Eckrich was the starting pitcher for the Hawks and dominated the Flyers the whole way. She threw five innings, struck out nine batters and allowed only two runs.
However, the win streak was put to a stop when Hillsboro met up with the Parkway South Patriots. Each side wrestled for the lead late in the game, but ultimately the Hawks came up short and lost 5-3. Eckrich hit a home run in the game while Nichols had an RBI as well. Hilton started the game in the circle and went the distance. She struck out ten batters and allowed five runs, but none of those runs were earned. The Hawks committed three errors as a team in the loss.
Hillsboro then bounced back from the loss with a 7-0 win over Fort Zumwalt South. The Hawks scored one run in the first before they exploded for six runs in the bottom of the sixth and secured the victory. Stokes had three RBIs and scored a run. Nichols, Eckrich, Hilton and Kora King all had RBIs as well. Eckrich started the game and pitched a gem. She went the distance, struck out eight batters, and surrendered only one hit. She credits her success to her preparation.
“The main factor is the amount of work that I’ve put in in the offseason,” Eckrich said.
The next time out was a battle. They ran up against Marquette and ended up falling just short in a 1-0 low-scoring affair. Hilton started this game on the mound. She pitched seven innings, stuck out four batters, surrendered eight hits and only gave up one run. The run came on a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth inning. The Hawks only put together three hits on the day and struggled to establish any sort of offensive rhythm.
Since the Marquette loss, it has been smooth sailing. They bounced back immediately in a big way with an 11-1 win over Washington High School. Washington took the initial lead until the Hawks tied the game at one in the top of the fourth. Hillsboro then blew up for ten runs in the fifth inning to cap off the 11-1 win. Eckrich and Ashlyn Dean each picked up two RBIs in the game. Nichols, King and Hailey Genge all had RBIs as well. Eckrich started the game and of course, pitched the entire thing. She stuck out six batters, allowed five hits, and only gave up one run.
The Hawks followed that game up with another offensive explosion that helped them beat Union 14-0. Their day included a nine-run fourth inning and they picked up 13 hits as a team. Genge and Madelyn Shelby each had two RBIs in the contest. Nichols, Dean, Shelby, Olivia Peters and Chloe Hicks all scored two runs. Eckrich started the game and did her thing. She pitched all five innings, allowed only one hit, and stuck out seven batters.
The Hawks now sit at 13-5 and are steadily improving as the season moves on. They’ve got a little under half of their season left before the postseason hits. They are progressing toward being in a great spot once the district tournament comes around.