Sometimes when a youthful team with a new head coach starts to try to turn around a struggling program, there are going to be nights like the one the Hiland Lady Hawks incurred Tuesday, April 4.
With visiting state power Strasburg coming to Hiland High School to pay a visit, the Tigers proved exactly why they are a contender for a state appearance every season.
The Tigers posted an impressive seven-run first inning, scored eight more in the third inning and went on to post a 20-2 victory, letting Hiland experience some of the growing pains that accompany taking on a state-dominant team.
A walk, doubles by Taeshauna Alleshouse and Zoey Thomas and a walk and a Hiland error set the table for Strasburg second baseman Bryn Coles. Coles lined a Cheyenne Schrock offering over the wall in left field, the grand slam a laser that never appeared to get more than 10 feet off the ground.
Her blow made it 6-0, and three batters later Emily Rieger’s single made it 7-0.
Things totally came unraveled of the Lady Hawks in the third, when Strasburg plated eight more runs, completely pulling away. Strasburg did so by playing small ball and taking advantage of Hiland errors. Strasburg pounded out seven hits in the inning, and chased Schrock, as Hiland skipper Jason Hazen brought senior Brittany Wengerd in to try to stop the flow of runs.
Eventually the Lady Hawks were able to push across two runs as Strasburg coach Bud Weisgarber emptied his bench in that huge third inning.
For Hazen’s young Lady Hawks, the game was a good reminder of how the little things always make the biggest difference in a game. It also served as a good example of where they want their program to get to some day, as Strasburg provided a perfect example of how a traditionally strong program goes about taking care of business.
Some day, with Hazen’s commitment to turning this Hiland program around, the Lady Hawks might approach that status. For now, this game simply served as a point in the learning curve, albeit a very difficult learning moment to go through for Hiland.