Hillsboro senior Abigail Pettyjohn lays down a sacrifice bunt for the Lady Indians in their sectional final game against Logan Elm Wednesday. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
Hillsboro senior Abigail Pettyjohn lays down a sacrifice bunt for the Lady Indians in their sectional final game against Logan Elm Wednesday. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
HILLSBORO — Though the Hillsboro Lady Indians had the bases loaded on more than one occasion Wednesday evening in their Division II SE District Sectional Final game against Logan Elm, the Lady Indians were unable to keep their season moving forward.

Hillsboro — the undefeated Frontier Athletic Conference champion for the 2021 season — left eight runners on the bases and were unable to gain the clutch hit when they had runners in scoring position, leading to a 5-3 loss to the visiting Lady Braves.

HHS entered the game as a No. 7 seed, but the No. 11 seeded Logan Elm squad were the first to score runs when they put up four runs in the top of the second inning. Before those runs were scored, the Lady Indians had an opportunity to gain the lead in the bottom of the first, but left the bases loaded.

Hillsboro’s first two batters of the game reached the bases in the bottom of the first with Halle Reveal drawing a 10-pitch walk to lead off the inning. Next was a single by Kinsey Gilliland. After the first out was recorded, the bases were loaded with a single from Kayla Roberts as she sent the ball to the left fielder.

Those runners were left on the bases as the second out was a pop up to first base, and the inning ended on a swinging strike three.

“We just couldn’t get the hit we needed at the right time like we have been all year,” HHS head coach Katie Moberly said. “It was by no means for a lack of effort, but just the timing wasn’t there today. Their pitcher did a nice job of keeping us off-balanced once we got some runners, and they (LEHS) were able to get the hits when they needed them.”

After the four runs scored by Logan Elm in the top of the second, HHS added one run to their effort with KaleyJo Myers starting the inning with a five-pitch walk.

Next, Kelcie Thornburgh was hit by a pitch. Abigail Pettyjohn had a sacrifice bunt down the third base line, moving Myers to third and Thornburgh to second base.

Myers crossed home plate on a base hit by Reveal for a 4-1 score. The Lady Indians ended the inning with a pop up to first base and a ground ball that resulted in a fielder’s choice.

In the bottom of the fourth, with one out, Thornburgh drew a five-pitch walk, and with two outs Reveal also drew a walk, but both were left on the bases.

HHS made the score closer in the bottom of the fifth with Kenzie Dietrick hitting a single to lead off the inning. Next was a double to right field by Roberts, as Roberts gained the RBI as Dietrick rounded the bases for a run.

Following a pitcher change, Roberts moved to third base on a wild pitch and then scored Hillsboro’s third run on another wild pitch. Following that run, Gracey Dearmon hit a single to left field with no outs. From there, the Lady Indians were retired in order off a fly ball to centerfield, a pop up to the shortstop and a ground ball to third base.

In the bottom of the sixth for HHS, Abigail Pettyjohn hit a single to right field, but in the next at-bat she was ruled out at second base on a fielder’s choice. Now with Reveal at first base, she was left stranded, with the Lady Indians recording consecutive outs on strikeouts.

Logan Elm added one final run in the top of the seventh, taking a 5-3 lead, as that run was scored on with two outs.

The game ended in the bottom of the seventh when Hillsboro was retired in order on two groundouts and a strikeout.

For the game, the Lady Braves collected nine hits and had no errors. Hillsboro finished with seven hits and committed one error.

At the plate for Hillsboro, Reveal was 1-for-2 with two walks, and Gilliland went 1-for-4. Dietrick finished 1-for-4 with one run, and Roberts finished at 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI.

Dearmon ended the game at 1-for-4 and Pettyjohn was 1-for-2. Myers finished with one walk and one run, and Thornburgh forced one walk.

“Our seniors were not going to give up, so they weren’t going to let anyone else give up,” Moberly said of the strong effort of Hillsboro on Wednesday. “The girls coming in and the ones left have big shoes to fill because the leadership that our seniors are leaving is huge.”

Roberts was charged with the loss as she pitched all seven innings, allowing five earned runs on nine hits and three walks on 122 pitches. She finished with six strikeouts.

Avree Entler was the winning pitcher for Logan Elm as she pitched four innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and four walks. She finished with two strikeouts.

Carly King pitched the final three innings for the Lady Braves, allowing no runs on two hits and no walks. She collected three strikeouts.

At the plate for Logan Elm, Callena Wiget led the Lady Braves at 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI. Jacie Clifton went 2-for-2 with one run, one RBI and two walks. Lynsay Vanhoose had one hit and three RBI for LEHS.

The Lady Indians have three seniors on the 2021 team, and they are: Mallory Parsons, Kelcie Thornburgh and Abby Pettyjohn.

“Mallory played third base for us and did a great job,” Moberly said. “She was second in batting average for us throughout the year, and she’s a very vocal leader for us. She’s a great leader.

“Kelcie was solid at second base all the time. She’s not nearly as vocal, but she led by example and was always the first one here. She always was working, setting things up and making sure everyone was doing what they needed to do.

“Abby played left field for us and did a great job for us. She’s normally an infielder, but I asked her to play outfield for us this year because she has some speed, and she said ‘sure.’ She’ll do anything I ask her to do, and she’ll bunt without question, she’ll hit and ask what she needs to do to help out. All three seniors were great. They are players you don’t want to lose, but they are going off to do better things, I’m sure.”

This season was also the first year the Lady Indians won the FAC, as they were a perfect 10-0 in conference games. It was also the first conference title of any sort for the HHS softball team since the 2002 season.

“I told the girls after the game that it was no fun to lose, but in the end every team but one loses the last game,” Moberly said. “They had a lot of games where they came out victors, and winning the league was big for them, and they can build off that for next year.”