Senior Kai Hanner struck out a season-best 15 batters on Tuesday, April 9, to help Hillsboro defeat Carlinville 4-0 in South Central Conference play.
Hanner, who has struck out nine or more in all eight appearances this year, struck out the side in each of the first three innings and had two strikeouts in the fifth and seventh. She would give up just three hits in the game, a single in the fourth and two more singles in the fifth.
Those two hits would be the closest Carlinville would come to scoring as they had the bases loaded with one out before Hanner struck out the next batter and got the third out on a grounder to first baseman Chloe Beck.
On offense, the Toppers were held to five hits, but did more than enough to get the job done. The first two runs came in the third inning as Riley Hemken singled, Haley Major reached on an error and Hanner singled to score both of them.
They would add another run in the fourth inning when Shelby Houchlei led off with a double, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a ground out by Zoe Honchell.
The score would remain 3-0 in Hillsboro's favor until the seventh, when the Toppers added an insurance run. Chloe Beck singled to start the inning and moved to third on an attempted sacrifice by Honchell that resulted in an error by the Carlinville third baseman that put runners on first and third.
After a strikeout, Hemken hit into a fielder's choice that allowed Beck to score the fourth run of the game.
That would be plenty for Hanner, who struck out two of the final three batters she faced to record win number 11 for the Toppers.
Shelby Houchlei would go 2-for-3 with a run scored for the Toppers, while Hanner, Beck and Hemken also had hits.
Hillsboro vs. Effingham
On Monday, April 8, the Lady Hiltoppers defeated Effingham 5-3, making the most of the four hits they could get against the Flaming Hearts.
After two scoreless innings, Hillsboro got things rolling with a two-run double by Kai Hanner that scored Haley Major and Riley Hemken. Hemken had started the inning by being hit by a pitch and Major followed that up with a walk to put two batters on. A sacrifice by Katie Schaake would move both runners into scoring position for Hanner, who delivered the RBIs.
The Toppers' lead would grow in the third inning thanks to more free passes. Alexis Wolf earned a one-out walk, while Zoe Honchell moved her up a base after being hit by a pitch.
The two runners moved up a spot on a sacrifice by Hemken and scored one batter later on a three-run homer by Major, her fifth homer of the year.
Effingham would get two runs back on three consecutive hits in the fourth inning and scored another in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn't pull any closer to the Toppers.
Effingham would outhit Hillsboro 7-4, with Major going 2-for-3, Hanner contributing a double and Wolf adding a single for the four Topper hits.
Hanner would strike out 11 batters on the day while walking one and allowing three runs on seven hits.
Hillsboro will take on Lincolnwood on Thursday, April 11, followed by another Montgomery County clash on Friday, April 12, against the Purple Panthers of Litchfield. On Saturday, the Toppers are Ramsey bound as they play Stewardson-Strasburg at 9 a.m., Arthur-Lovington at 10:30 a.m. and the host Rams at noon in this year's Ramsey Invitational Tournament.
April 8 at Effingham
Hillsboro 002 300 0 5 4 1
Effingham 000 200 1 3 7 1
Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB
W-Hanner 7 3 2 7 11 1
Effingham IP R ER H K BB
L-Davis 7 5 5 3 4 5
Multiple Hits: Hillsboro - Haley Major (2-3); Effingham - Jacy Boatman (2-3). 2B: Hillsboro - Kai Hanner 1; Effingham - Jacy Boatman 1. 3B: Effingham - Carsyn Fearday 1. HR: Hillsboro - Haley Major 1.
Records: Hillsboro (10-1); Effingham (4-5).
April 9 at Carlinville
Hillsboro 002 100 1 4 5 2
Carlinville 000 000 0 0 3 2
Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB
W-Hanner 7 0 0 3 15 0
Carlinville IP R ER H K BB
L-Westnedge 7 4 1 5 5 1
Multiple Hits: Hillsboro - Shelby Houchlei (2-3, 1R). 2B: Hillsboro - Shelby Houchlei 1.
Records: Hillsboro (11-1, 1-0); Carlinville (5-4, 0-1).