The Hillsboro softball team got a late three-run homer from Shelby Houchlei and a 12-strikeout one-hitter by Kai Hanner allowed the Lady Hiltoppers to score an 8-1 victory over rival Litchfield on Friday, April 12.
Litchfield’s lone hit came in the first inning and drove in the Panthers’ only run of the game as Mallory Beechler walked and scored on a double by Lizzy Luttrell. Hanner would stop the rally with two strikeouts to end the first inning and didn’t allow a hit the rest of the way out.
The Toppers would tie the game in the bottom of the first when Katie Schaake singled and scored after two more base hits by Hanner and Houchlei. Schaake would score again in the second inning when the Toppers scored three times to take a 4-1 lead.
All three runs would come with two outs as Riley Hemken started the rally with a single from the number nine spot. Haley Major would reach base on a dropped third strike and Schaake would drive in both Hemken and Major with a double that gave Hillsboro the lead. Schaake would come around to score on a single by Hanner that made it 3-1 after two innings.
As Hanner continued to roll on the mound, the Hillsboro offense gave her more insurance on the offensive end. In the third inning, Chloe Beck led off the inning with a double and scored Hillsboro’s fifth run on an RBI by Hemken.
The score would remain 5-1 until the sixth, when Houchlei rifled an Emily Senjan offering over the fence for her fourth home run of the season, scoring Hanner and Sheridan Lyerla, who had reached on a walk and a dropped third strike.
Six players would account for 12 of Hillsboro’s 13 hits, with Lyerla’s second inning single the only outlier. Schaake was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs, while Houchlei was 2-for-4 with four runs batted in and one more scored. Beck and Major would also go 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Hanner was 2-for-3 with one run scored and another driven in.
Hanner would allow only four base runners in the final six innings. Bri Jeffers would reach on an error in the second, while Cara Pence took first after a dropped third strike. Two straight fielder’s choice plays after Pence reached would temporarily put Jeffers and Mackenzie Emerson on base before Hillsboro got out of the inning.
Despite the final score, Senjan would do well on the mound for the Panthers, striking out 12 and walking two. Of the eight Hillsboro runs, six were unearned.
Friday's game was a non-conference affair, with the South Central contest scheduled for Tuesday, May 7, in Litchfield. That game will also be a Grace Filled Journey Game for INAD awareness.
Both teams have long been supporters of seven-year-old Grace Herschelman's fight against the rare genetic disorder. Earlier this year, special T-shirts were sold as a fundraiser for Herschelman and the fight against INAd, with Litchfield planning to wear those shirts for the game on May 7.
April 12 at Hillsboro
Litchfield 100 000 0 1 1 2
Hillsboro 131 003 x 8 13 0
Litchfield IP R ER H K BB
L-Senjan 6 8 2 13 12 2
Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB
W-Hanner 7 1 1 1 12 1
Multiple Hits: Hillsboro - Kai Hanner (2-3, 1R, 1RBI), Riley Hemken (2-3, 1R, 1RBI), Haley Major (2-4, 1R), Chloe Beck (2-4, 1R), Shelby Houchlei (2-4, 1R, 4RBI), Katie Schaake (2-4, 2R, 2RBI). 2B: Litchfield - Lizzy Luttrell 1; Hillsboro - Katie Schaake 1, Chloe Beck 1. HR: Hillsboro - Shelby Houchlei 1.
Records: Litchfield (2-12); Hillsboro (12-1).