By JIM MISUNAS
LARNED — Larned High’s softball team tested Central Kansas League leader Hillsboro in a doubleheader loss. Hillsboro (10-0) swept the Indians 2-0 and 5-4. The Trojans were Class 2A state runner-up and CKL runner-up last year.
Hillsboro lefthanded ace Julie Sinclair (5-0) pitched her fourth shutout and second no-hitter in the opener. The Indians rallied against righthanded starter Julie Weber (5-0) in the nightcap.
Larned (1-9) put together its two best games of the spring, an encouraging sign for coach Dustin Wilson. The pitching and defense was sharp for 14 innings. Larned travels to Nickerson (0-8) Friday.
“That was a well-played high school softball doubleheader. That was the team I thought we could be all year,” Wilson said. “We played tough defense and our pitchers threw strikes. If we can get that type of effort from our defense and pitchers for the rest of the year, we will be fine. We told the girls, there are no moral victories in high school sports, but they could definitely be proud of the effort and see how good we could be moving forward.”
First-game starter Shay Shepherd yielded nine hits, but stranded nine runners.
“Shay pitched an excellent game and gave us a chance to win it in the first game,” Wilson said.
Hillsboro’s Madison Klein scored on a bases-loaded walk to Emily Jost in the first inning. Bradli Nowak’s single scored Weber in the fifth inning after a single and a bunt by Klein.
Larned’s Erin Smith and Alexis Langdon drew walks against Sinclair.
In the second game, pitcher Mattie Glover stranded 12 Hillsboro baserunners after yielding five runs in the first four innings.
“Mattie was very good,” Wilson said. “She worked herself out of some tight spots in the second game.”
Hillsboro’s Bradli Nowak doubled home Weber in the first inning. Weber singled home Sinclair and Savannah Unruh scored on a bases-loaded walk in the second. Emily Jost scored on a wild pitch in the third. Jost’s single drove in Madison Klein in the fourth.
Larned’s Maci Perez singled home Erin Smith in the first inning. Haley Skelton doubled and Kelsey Parr singled to start the fifth. Smith singled home Skelton. Parr and Smith scored on Shepherd’s groundball. Larned’s final six batters were retired. Weber struck out 11 batters.
HILLSBORO 2, LARNED 0
Hillsboro 100 010 0 — 2 9 0
Larned 000 000 0 — 0 0 2
Sinclair and Nowak. Shepherd and Langdon. W—Sinclair, 5-0. L—Shepherd. 2B—H, Heiser, Klein.
HILLSBORO 5, LARNED 4
Hillsboro 121 100 0 — 5 13 1
Larned 100 030 0 — 4 4 2
Weber and Nowak. Glover, Shepherd (7) and Langdon. W—Weber, 5-0. L—Glover. 2B—H, Sinclair 2, Nowak; L, Haley Skelton.