One mistake turned out to be the difference in last Thursday’s Scenic Bluffs Conference softball game between Hillsboro and visiting Bangor.
With two runners on base in the top of the fifth inning, Hillsboro head coach Mike Burch made the decision to intentionally walk two-time SBC Player of the Year Morgan Horstman and take his chances with bases loaded.
After throwing two balls wide of the strike zone, Hillsboro pitcher Brittany Borchardt slipped up on her third offering to Horstman and the pitch ended up over the plate.
Horstman didn’t miss the gift and blasted the pitch to deep left centerfield over the heads of Hillsboro outfielders Mackenzie Sullivan in left and Destiny Shore in center. It rolled all the way to the fence 250 feet away, and Horstman and both runners scored to provide the only runs of the game in a 3–0 Bangor victory.
“Brittany Borchardt pitched an excellent game. Unfortunately, she made one crucial mistake,” said Burch.
Borchardt (3–3) allowed three runs on five hits and four walks in seven innings.
The Cardinals' Madison Langrehr struck out six and held the Tigers to just four hits in seven innings.
Hillsboro put together a late rally and just missed tying the game in the bottom of the seventh inning by mere inches.
The Tigers loaded the bases without an out in the seventh and Burch turned to seldom used Lydia Westedt to pinch hit.
“Lydia jumped on the first pitch and hit the ball farther than any ball I’ve ever seen hit in a girls’ softball game. She hit it about 240 feet,” said Burch. “As luck would have it, the ball was hit too far and as it traveled it hooked and landed four inches outside the left field foul line. In any other park that we play in, which all have fences anywhere from 180 to 200 feet, that ball would have went over the fence in fair territory for a game-winning grand slam home run. The home-cooking wasn’t in our favor in this one!”
Langrehr then proceeded to strike out Westedt and Borchardt and induced a ground ball out off the bat of Shania Landsinger to end the game, completing her shutout win.
With the win Bangor (14–8, 8–6 SBC) completed the regular season sweep of Hillsboro, winning 3–1 on May 4 and 3–0 last week.
The Tigers finished the regular season 10–8 overall and 7–7 in conference and had one more shot at the Cardinals.
Hillsboro earned the fifth seed in the Cashton regional and was scheduled to face fourth-seeded Bangor Tuesday afternoon. The winner advanced to face top-seeded and SBC champion Cashton (21–1, 14–0).