HILLMAN-Call it a clean sweep for the Posen softball team.
Hillman has long been a foil for the Vikings, but this season Posen has emerged as the victor in all four of the matchups between the two teams.
The last win came on Wednesday as Posen topped Hillman 8-2 in a predistrict game at Hillman High School.
News Photo by James Andersen
Posen shortstop Anna Couture fouls off a pitch during her turn at the plate in the fifth inning of a predistrict softball game on Wednesday at Hillman High School. Couture was 2-for-4 in the game.
"Hillman's got a great program, we've got a great history of our two teams playing each other and our belief coming in was to be aggressive and put pressure on their defense and we were able to do that today," Posen coach Glenn Budnick said.
The win puts Posen (22-5) in a district semifinal game against Atlanta on Saturday. Johannesburg-Lewiston will play Gaylord St. Mary in the other semifinal.
Posen took a 1-0 lead in the second inning after Jenna Hincka singled, stole second base and then scored on a throwing error.
Hillman came back in the third inning with two runs to take its only lead of the game. Eden Hunt singled to lead off the inning and later scored on an RBI double from Jensen Tchorzynski. Arielle Barrie singled in Tchorzynski a few batters later.
The Tigers' lead was short-lived as Posen came back with two runs in the fourth inning. Ashley Meyers stole home for one run and Monica Bartz later scored on an error.
Anna Couture added a run for Posen in the fifth inning.
Hillman outhit Posen in the game, but couldn't string together enough hits in the later innings to rally back and was also undone by several fielding errors that kept Posen at the plate.
"We had to hit the ball a little better. They were the better team and we made mistakes. Errors killed us," Hillman coach Curt Tebo said. "You know what you've got to do against a great team: field the ball, hit the ball and make the plays and we didn't do it today again."
Hillman was swept by Posen nearly two weeks ago in a battle for the North Star League title and lost to the Vikings again in a tournament game in Petoskey a few days later.
"The mindset was that we were very familiar with each other and we just had to focus on putting the ball in play and putting pressure on their defense," Budnick said.
Already ahead 4-2, Posen broke the game open in the sixth inning with four more runs and sent 10 batters to the plate. Taylor Chojnacki had a two-run triple and the Vikings added two more runs on fielder's choice plays where Hillman wasn't able to tag out runners at home.
Hillman hit into a double play to end the sixth inning and got runners on the corners with two outs in the seventh inning before a pop-up to first base ended the game.
Meyers earned the win for Posen, allowing two runs on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. Tchorzynski walked five and struck out nine.
At the plate, Tchorzynski and Courtney Sauer each had two hits for Hillman. Kalen Tchorzynski, Alissa Jones, Barrie, Hunt and Alissa Abledinger each had a hit.
In addition to Chojnacki's big hit, Bev Bednarski had an RBI single for Posen, Bartz singled and Couture was 2-for-4.
Looking ahead to Saturday, the three other teams in the districts will most likely be aiming at Posen, who is hoping to defend its district title. For their part the Vikings will just be taking things one game at a time and playing their style of ball.
"Gaylord St. Mary, JoBurg and Atlanta are all quality teams," Budnick said. "I watched St. Mary play in the first game (on Wednesday) and they hit the ball very well. If they continue to do that they're going to be a very difficult team to beat."
James Andersen can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.