After suffering through a brutal part of its schedule, the Hiland Lady Hawks got a bit of a reprieve Tuesday, April 25, when they faced Our Lady of the Elms at Hiland High school.
The less formidable competition away from the Garaways, Sandy Valley and Strasburgs of the world proved to be a blessing, as the Lady Hawks used a monster start to carve out a 16-5 win in five innings.
Freshman Nikki Keim went the distance on the mound for Hiland, picking up the win and perhaps learning a valuable pitching lesson in the process.
“I worked on Nikki’s delivery a little bit to try to get her to be a little more fluid in her delivery, and it seemed to pay off,” said Hiland coach Jason Hazen. “She had a little more velocity and she only walked two batters.”
Keim gave up seven hits, three of them in the first inning, and struck out a pair.
Pitching aside, it was a great night for the bats, as Hiland hit a lot of balls hard, and if they weren’t recording hits, the Lady Hawks were taking advantage of Our Lady of the Elms errors in the field.
For all intents and purposes, the game was over in the first inning, where Hiland shelled out 11 runs on the visitors and never looked back in taking an 11-2 lead after Our Lady tacked on two runs in the top of the first.
Brittany Wengerd led off with a single, and after Hannah Gerber reached on an error and Keim walked, Lexi Kline delivered a two-run single. Ashley Weaver walked and Hayley Schrock struck out but reached base after the ball eluded the catcher. A fielder’s choice and two more errors and Wengerd’s second single of the game plate two more runs, while later in the inning Gerber and Kline both lashed their second hits of the inning to post the 11 first-inning runs.
With one out, Sheila Troyer, Natalie Weaver and Brittany Troyer all hit singles. Wengerd then lined a shot right at the right-fielder that went for an error, and Keim’s groundball with two outs was mishandled, allowing two more runs to score.
Now boasting a 16-2 lead, all Hiland had to do was limit the damage. Keim gave up a run in the third and two in the fourth, but stranded five runners over the final three innings, allowing Hiland to hang on to end the game after five with the 10-run rule.
“I liked our approach at the plate, we swung the bats pretty well tonight and were pretty aggressive at the plate,” Hazen said of his team, that improved to 5-14 on the year.
Kline had a big night, pounding out three hits while driving in five runs and scoring a pair. Wengerd had two hits and scored three runs, while Gerber, Keim, Sheila Troyer, Weaver and Brittany Troyer all scored twice. Both Ashley Weaver and Natalie Weaver drove in a pair.