The only thing bigger than the Lady Hiltoppers' hit total on Tuesday, April 23, was their win total as the Hillsboro softball team improved to 20-3 with a 10-0 victory over Staunton.
The Toppers pounded out 16 hits and held the Bulldogs to three as they hit the 20-win plateau for the second consecutive season for the first time in the school's history. With a few weeks still to go, Hillsboro has won 78 games over the last four years, the most by any class at HHS since at least 1996.
The Lady Toppers would score five runs in the top of the first, with Haley Major walking to lead off the game and scoring after an error by the right fielder on a ball hit by Katie Schaake. Schaake, who advanced to third on the play, scored two pitches later on a single by Kai Hanner.
Sheridan Lyerla would single to put two runners on and Shelby Houchlei would load the bases on an error by the Staunton second baseman.
Chloe Beck would drive in the third run of the game on a single, but Houchlei was caught on the base paths for the first out. After a walk to Alexis Wolf loaded the bases again, Staunton got their second out on a strikeout by starting pitcher Taylor Kierbach.
The third out would be elusive though as Riley Hemken reached on an error, allowing both Lyerla and Beck to score. Staunton would finally get out of the inning, but were staring at an early 5-0 deficit.
After two scoreless innings, Hillsboro would get back on the board with two runs in the top of the fourth. Schaake led off the inning with a triple and scored on a single by Hanner. After a ground ball to first for out number one, Houchlei singled to move Hanner to third.
Staunton would get their second out on a ground ball by Beck, but the contact was enough to drive Hanner home for another run.
After two more scoreless innings, Hillsboro put the bow on the win with three runs in the seventh. Alexis Wolf singled and was courtesy ran for by Meagan Jorn, but Jorn was still at first two at-bats later as Kierbach got a strikeout and a pop fly to center.
The inning was far from over though as the top of the line-up picked up three straight hits, starting with a single by Major.
Schaake would double to drive in both Jorn and Major and Hanner would single to plate Schaake for the game's final run.
Hanner would have a quarter of the Toppers' hits, going 4-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Schaake would add three hits (two triples and a double), three runs and three RBIs, while Wolf, Major and Lyerla all had two hits apiece.
As good as the offense was, Hillsboro's pitching was just as good as Hanner struck out 11, allowed three hits and retired the final seven batters in order.
In addition to being their 20th win, the victory also upped Hillsboro's South Central Conference mark to 5-0. The Toppers will have another conference tilt on Friday, April 26, at home against Roxana, but will take on Ramsey on Thursday at home first.
April 23 at Staunton
Hillsboro 500 200 3 10 16 1
Staunton 000 000 0 0 3 4
Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB
W-Hanner 7 0 0 3 11 2
Staunton IP R ER H K BB
L-Kierbach 7 10 6 15 5 2
Multiple Hits: Hillsboro - Kai Hanner (4-5, 2R, 3RBI), Katie Schaake (3-5, 3R, 3RBI), Alexis Wolf (2-3), Shelby Houchlei (2-4), Haley Major (2-4, 2R), Sheridan Lyerla (2-5, 1R). 2B: Hillsboro - Sheridan Lyerla 1, Katie Schaake 1, Shelby Houchlei 1, Alexis Wolf 1; Staunton - Ashleigh Painter 1. 3B: Hillsboro - Katie Schaake 2.
Records: Hillsboro (20-3, 5-0); Staunton (8-10, 1-4).