HILLSBORO — The first inning of Bruce Borchardt’s varsity coaching career went swimmingly well. The next six innings, however, were a frustrating exercise in patience.
Borchardt’s Tigers jumped out to an early 7–0 in the bottom of the first inning, but couldn’t hold on as visiting Necedah scored 12 runs over the next five innings to steal a 12–9 Scenic Bluffs Conference victory in the season opener for both teams last Thursday afternoon.
The Tigers used eight hits and a pair of walks to plate seven runs in the bottom of the first.
“I told the girls at the start of the game that we can either be passive and work the strike zone or we can be aggressive and see how our hard work on swinging has paid off,” said Borchardt. “They shouted out that they wanted to be aggressive. We did just that and we put a lot of pressure on Necedah right away.”
After Necedah settled into the game, they made some really nice defensive plays that killed a number of Hillsboro rallies. Necedah’s defense included a diving stop at second to throw a runner out and a great catch by their catcher to end an inning.
“With 14 total hits and four walks, we had girls on base every inning,” said Borchardt.
The Cardinals (1–0, 1–0 SBC) chipped away at Hillsboro’s lead with two runs in the second and three more in the top of the fourth against senior pitcher Alexis Mathis.
The wheels fell off for the home team in the fifth, when Necedah took advantage of five walks and a pair of errors to scored six runs to take the lead at 11–7.
“When we lost our lead, I gave my pitcher Alexis Mathis a chance to show her competitiveness by staying out there when things were not going well,” said Borchardt. “She continued to compete, but just didn’t have anything left. I really did not want to bring Brittany Borchardt in to pitch in the middle of the inning. She was so cold that I wasn’t sure if she could throw consistent strikes, but she did just fine facing the last eight batters of the game and getting out of that fifth inning mess.
Hillsboro trimmed the deficit to 11–9 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth, but never got any closer.
Mathis went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Senior first baseman Morgan Huntley went 2-for-2 with an RBI double and a pair of walks. Freshman Brookelyn Borchardt went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Senior left fielder Mackenzie Sullivan went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Mathis took the loss allowing 11 runs, eight earned, on four hits and eight walks in 41/3 innings of work. She struck out three.
The Tigers’ original season-opener against New Lisbon was twice rained out last Monday and Tuesday will be made up at a later date. Saturday’s Richland Center Invitational was also postponed due to cold temperatures. It is not know if the event will be made up.
Hillsboro’s SBC game at Bangor was postponed Monday and rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon. The Tigers will return to action Thursday at Cashton (0–0) before hosting Brookwood (1–0, 1–0 SBC) on Monday.