A three-run homer in the fourth inning by senior Haley Major gave Hillsboro some breathing room as the Hiltoppers defeated Litchfield 10-0 in five innings on Monday, May 24.
The Toppers were up 3-0 going into the inning, but Major’s round tripper helped move the game from nail-biter to rout in the blink of an eye.
Hillsboro’s first run came in the first inning, when Major reached on an error and later scored after back-to-back singles by Sophia Blankenship and Meagan Jorn.
Aubrey Evans would drive in two more runs with a bases loaded single in the second, after Erin Moore started the inning by being hit by a pitch, Ally Devore reached on an error and Maddie White singled to put a Topper at every base.
Litchfield would get through the third inning without any more Topper runs, but struggled to solve Hillsboro starting pitcher Taelyn Smith on the offensive side of the ball.
The Panthers had just three hits in the game, two of which came in the top of the third, before Smith managed to get her pitching counterpart, Lauren Monke, to ground back to the mound and end the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Major put the game away. After a single by White and Evans reaching after being hit by a pitch, Major placed one over the left field wall to double the Toppers’ lead.
Monke got the next batter out, but an error and singles by Jorn and Moore drove in Sophia Blankenship, who reached on an error and scored the seventh run of the game.
Litchfield threatened to get some of those runs back in the fifth after Jenni Boden reached on an error and Bella Roach and Monke walked, but Smith got the third out to end the inning and put a potential 10-run rule victory within the Toppers’ sites.
Hillsboro started off the fifth with a single by Evans and a double by Major, who finished the game a triple short of the cycle. Taelyn Smith helped her own cause with a double that plated both runners and Sophia Blankenship walked to put runners on second and third after both she and Smith moved up a base on a passed ball.
With no one out, Meagan Jorn hit a hard ground ball between short and third, which Litchfield’s Emma Walch knocked down. With no chance to get Smith at home, Walch threw to third to get Blankenship out, but the run scored to end the game.
Major was one of three Toppers to have multiple hits as Ally Devore, Sophia Blankenship and Aubrey Evans also had two hits apiece. Taelyn Smith would finish the game with four strikeouts and two walks, while Monke K’ed two, walked one and hit three.
Following a game at Morrisonville on May 26, Litchfield will end the regular season against Pana on May 27 at home. Hillsboro will take on Southwestern on May 27, in Piasa, followed by the UIS Shootout on May 29, and a rescheduled home game against Vandalia on June 2.
May 24 at Hillsboro
Litchfield 000 00 0 3 3
Hillsboro 120 43 10 16 1
Litchfield IP R ER H K BB
Monke 4.1 10 5 16 2 1
*Monke 3 HBP
Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB
T. Smith 5 0 0 3 4 2
Multiple Hits: Hillsboro - Haley Major 3-4, Ally Devore 2-3, Sophia Blankenship 2-4, Aubrey Evans 2-4. 2B: Hillsboro - Taelyn Smith 1, Haley Major 1. 3B: Hillsboro - Summer Smith 1. HR: Hillsboro - Haley Major 1.
Record: Hillsboro (2-13, 1-6); Litchfield (0-11, 0-8).
Hillsboro’s Taelyn Smith and Greenville’s Kayla Sanders were locked in a pitcher’s duel on Thursday, May 20 as the Hiltoppers paid a visit to the Comets. For five and a half innings neither team was able to push a run across, but in the end, the Comets were able to scrape together two runs and emerge with a 2-0 victory, their ninth of the year.
The Greenville runs would come off RBIs by Dora Cripe-Deist and Raegan Micnheimer, with Kortney Unterbrink and Hannah Potthast scoring the runs.
That spoiled a fantastic outing by Smith, who allowed just six hits and struck out six without issuing a walk in her six innings of work. Sanders was just a little bit better on the day as she struck out 11, hit one batter and allowed just two hits, a double to Haley Major and a single to Summer Smith.
The loss dropped Hillsboro to 1-11 on the season and 0-5 in the South Central Conference, while Greenville improved to 9-5 and 4-2 in the SCC.
May 20 at Hillsboro
Hillsboro 000 000 0 0 2 1
Greenville 000 002 x 2 6 1
Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB
T. Smith 6 2 2 6 6 0
Greenville IP R ER H K BB
Sanders 7 0 0 2 11 0
*Sanders 1 HBP
Multiple Hits: Greenville - Paige Roberts 2-3. 2B: Hillsboro - Haley Major 1; Greenville - Kortney Unterbrink 1.
Record: Hillsboro (1-11, 0-5); Greenville (9-5, 4-2).