The Hillsboro High School softball team picked up their seventh and eighth shutout wins of the season to start the week and remain undefeated in the South Central Conference with victories over Vandalia and Pana on April 15 and April 16.
Monday's game against the Vandals was originally scheduled to be at the Hillsboro Sports Complex, but rains on Sunday moved the game to Fayette County.
The change of venue made no difference for the Toppers, who scored early and held on for a 7-0 victory over the Vandals.
Katie Schaake drew the assignment on the mound for Hillsboro and struck out ten batters in her seven innings of work. Schaake scattered four hits and the Vandals had a runner on third three times in the game, but never could get a run across home plate.
On the other side, Hillsboro would make the most of Vandalia's mistakes, scoring three runs in the opening frame. Haley Major reached base on a dropped third strike to start the inning, then stole second.
Schaake would double to move Major to third and Kai Hanner lofted a fly ball to center to drive in the first run. Schaake would make it 2-0 after a triple by Sheridan Lyerla, who scored in the next at-bat on a grounder by Shelby Houchlei.
After a scoreless second inning, Hillsboro started the third inning off with a bang as Hanner hit a solo homer to make it 4-0.
The Lady Hiltoppers would add three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning as Riley Hemken singled, Major reached on an error, Hanner scored Hemken on a hit and Lyerla plated both Major and Hanner with a single.
Hillsboro would get a hit from Major in the bottom of the sixth, but no runs as the 7-0 margin would stand up.
Lyerla would go 2-for-3 with a run scored and three driven in, while Hanner would also have two hits and three RBIs.
Hillsboro vs. Pana
On Tuesday, it was the best of both worlds for the Toppers as Hillsboro pounded out ten hits and Kai Hanner was dominant on the mound in a 4-0 victory in Pana.
Hanner would strike out seven of the first nine batters she faced as the senior hurler set the Panthers down in order in the first, second and third. Pana would get their first hit of the game in the fourth on a bunt single by Kylie Hocq, but Hanner got the next batter on a fly ball to center and Alexis Wolf got Hocq straying off first, with Chloe Beck throwing to Shelby Houchlei for the out.
Pana would only get two more batters on the rest of the game, reaching on an error in the fifth and a walk in the sixth, and neither made it past second base. Hillsboro's ace would finish with 15 strikeouts and just one walk as she earned her tenth victory of the season.
Offensively, Hillsboro had two hits in each of the first two innings, but Pana starter Danielle Bieber was able to get out of those jams and had set down eight straight going into the fifth inning.
But Hillsboro would come alive in the fifth, with Alexis Wolf singling to start things off. After Meagan Jorn reached on an unsuccessful fielder's choice, Riley Hemken loaded the bases when she reached on an error by the Pana shortstop.
Bieber would get the first out of the inning on a pop up to second, but Katie Schaake would break up the dueling shutouts with a double that drove in Wolf and Jorn.
Hillsboro would add two more runs in the seventh inning for good measure as Hemken singled, then scored on a triple by Haley Major, with Major coming around two batters later on an RBI single by Hanner.
That would be more than enough scoring for Hillsboro as Hanner struck out one and got two ground balls to end the game.
Wolf, Hanner and Major would all have two hits apiece, with Major and Wolf both ripping extra-base hits.
The victories would improve Hillsboro's record to 16-2 on the season and 4-0 in the South Central Conference. After Wednesday's game against Marquette, the Toppers travel to Nokomis on Thursday, April 18, before returning home to host Gillespie on April 19.
This Saturday, Hillsboro is scheduled to play at the UIS Slam, where they will take on PORTA at 10:30 a.m., Tri-City at 12 p.m. and Lanphier at 3 p.m.
April 15 at Vandalia
Vandalia 000 000 0 0 4 2
Hillsboro 301 300 x 7 7 1
Vandalia IP R ER H K BB
L-Lidy 7 7 7 6 9 1
Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB
W-Schaake 7 0 0 4 10 1
Multiple Hits: Hillsboro - Sheridan Lyerla (2-3, 1R), Kai Hanner (2-4, 2R, 3RBI); Vandalia - Abby Durbin (2-3). 2B: Hillsboro - Katie Schaake 1; Vandalia - Abby Durbin 1. 3B: Hillsboro - Sheridan Lyerla 1. HR: Hillsboro - Kai Hanner 1.
Records: Hillsboro (15-2, 3-0).
April 16 at Pana
Hillsboro 000 020 2 4 10 1
Pana 000 000 0 0 1 2
Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB
W-Hanner 7 0 0 1 15 1
Pana IP R ER H K BB
L- Bieber 7 4 4 10 3 0
Multiple Hits: Hillsboro - Alexis Wolf (2-3, 1R), Haley Major (2-4, 1R, 1RBI), Kai Hanner (2-4, 1RBI). 2B: Hillsboro - Katie Schaake 1, Alexis Wolf 1. 3B: Hillsboro - Haley Major 1.
Records: Hillsboro (16-2, 4-0).