The top of the lineup was potent for the Hillsboro High School softball team on Monday, April 29, as the first three hitters went a combined 9-for-10, with ten runs scored and ten more driven in during the Toppers' 15-5 five-inning victory over Gillespie.
From the first pitch the trio of Haley Major, Katie Schaake and Kai Hanner came out guns blazing, as Major and Schaake hit back-to-back singles to start the game, followed by a three-run home run to give Hillsboro an early lead.
In the second, Alexis Wolf reached on an error to lead off the inning, but Gillespie got the next two batters out. All that did was bring Major back to the plate and after the sophomore leadoff hitter walked, Schaake tripled to score two more runs and make it a 5-0 ball game.
While the offense was clicking on all cylinders, Hanner was handing out outs like candy to trick-or-treaters. Through the first three innings, Gillespie got just two base runners and one hit, a two-out single by Rylie Jarman that didn't put a dent in the Topper lead.
Gillespie would finally get to Hanner with their second hit of the game, a solo home run by Keaton Link, but the senior hurler would get out of the inning with no further damage.
All the Miners seemed to do with the one run was stoke the fire for the Toppers, who put together a four-hit, five-run rally with two outs to take an 11-1 lead.
Riley Hemken started off the run with a single, but the Topper outfielder wasn't on base for long as Major went yard for a two-run home run.
Hillsboro wasn't done though. Katie Schaake walked and Kai Hanner walked to put two more runners on base. Sheridan Lyerla would reach on an error by the right fielder, allowing both Schaake and Hanner to score, and Shelby Houchlei would plate Lyerla with an RBI single for the fifth run of the inning.
Gillespie would try to avoid the mercy rule as they scored four runs in the top of the fifth, getting an RBI single by Link and a three-run home run by Sydney Bires, but Hillsboro answered back with four runs of their own to end the game early.
The final surge started with a walk to Meagan Jorn and a single by Hemken, her second of the night. Major, who finished a triple short of the cycle, would double to plate Jorn, while Schaake followed that with a single that scored Hemken. Hanner would put a bow on the win in the next at-bat, driving in Major and Schaake with a base hit to end the game by the ten-run rule.
Schaake would finish the game 4-for-4 with four runs scored and three RBIs, while Major was 3-for-3 with a walk, four runs scored and three more driven in. Both Hanner and Hemken would go 2-for-3 with two runs scored, with Hanner driving in four runs.
On the mound, the Hillsboro senior would strike out six and walk two while scattering seven hits in five innings of work.
The Toppers were scheduled to play Greenville on April 30, and Nokomis on May 1, but both games were washed out. If the rain desists, Hillsboro will take on East Alton-Wood River on Thursday, May 2, and Southwestern on Friday, May 3, with the latter being a battle of conference unbeatens in Hillsboro.
April 29 at Hillsboro
Gillespie 000 14 5 7 2
Hillsboro 330 54 15 12 0
Gillespie IP R ER H K BB
L-Bires 5 15 9 12 1 3
Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB
W-Hanner 5 5 5 7 6 2
Multiple Hits: Gillespie - Keaton Link (2-3, 2R, 2RBI); Hillsboro - Katie Schaake (4-4, 4R, 3RBI), Haley Major (3-3, 4R, 3RBI), Kai Hanner (2-3, 2R, 4RBI), Riley Hemken (2-3, 2R). 2B: Hillsboro - Haley Major 1. 3B: Hillsboro - Katie Schaake 1. HR: Gillespie - Keaton Link 1, Sydney Bires 1; Hillsboro - Haley Major 1, Kai Hanner 1.
Records: Hillsboro (22-3, 7-0); Gillespie (13-10, 6-2).