ELROY— Royall’s Paige Hyer struck out five of the first six Hillsboro batters she faced in last Thursday’s Scenic Bluffs Conference softball game at Royall High School.
But Mike Burch’s Tigers overcame their slow start, scoring five runs in the final two innings to pull out a 6–3 win.
“Paige was not overpowering. We were just very undisciplined and swung at way too many pitches out of the strike zone,” said Burch.
Hillsboro finally pushed a run across in the top of the fourth inning to break a scoreless tie.
Junior Mackenzie Sullivan belted a triple to lead off. After a pop up to the catcher and another strikeout made two outs, junior Brittany Borchardt torched a lined drive over the left fielder’s head for an RBI triple.
Royall tied the game in its half of the inning, scoring with a walk and just one base hit.
Freshman outfielder Sydney Johnson led off the top of the sixth with another triple. Borchardt drew a walk and stole second to put runners on second and third.
Johnson then scored on a RBI sac fly from Lydia Westedt to give Hillsboro a 2–1 lead. Borchardt came in to score on a ground out by Mathis.
Hillsboro loaded the bases in the seveth on a single by Sierra Hanke, a double from Morgan Huntley and a walk to Johnson.
With two outs, Westedt hit a hard line drive to left that careened of the fielder’s glove, hitting her in the eye. Three unearned runs scored on the error and the Tigers held a 6–1 lead.
Royall had three hits and a walk in the bottom of the seventh to score two runs in a come-back attempt.
Hillsboro committed a pair of errors in the inning to aid the comeback, but Mathis and the Tigers got out of a bases loaded jam when Johnson made a great catch on a Storkel fly ball to deep centerfield.
Johnson got a great jump on the ball right off the bat and ran it down, making a lunging grab for the final out of the game.
“Nothing Sydney does surprises me anymore,” said Burch. “She is a freshman just full of talent, whether it's at the plate or in the field. She has that natural instinct to see the ball as soon as it leaves the bat and she gets a great jump on the ball.”
Mathis (3–1) picked up her third win of the season, allowing three runs, one earned, on six hits and seven walks in seven innings.
New Lisbon 7, Hillsboro 5
Monday night New Lisbon scored six runs in the first three innings and held on for a 7–5 win over the Tigers.
Sullivan, Mathis and Shania Landsinger each went 2-for-4 in the loss, but it was not enough for the Tigers, who fell to 5–3 overall and 3–3 in SBC play.
Borchardt (2–2) suffered her second loss of the year, allowing seven runs, two earned, on 11 hits and two walks in six innings.
Hillsboro’s defense let Borchardt down by committing four fielding miscues.
“After a terrible start, we had ample opportunities to score runs in nearly every inning, we just couldn’t come up with that one big hit to get the job done,” said Burch. “Our bats have really went south over the past week and we have to get that turned back around in order to compete in this league.
“When our pitchers turn in a performance like Brittany had Monday, we can’t afford to let those games slip away because of poor offense.”
The Tigers look to get back on track today when they host winless Necedah (0–6, 0–5 SBC) at Firemen’s Park. Hillsboro will then travel to Bangor (4–4, 3–2) on Monday before hosting Wonewoc–Center (4–1, 3–1) on Tuesday.