HILLMAN-It looked a lot like a warmup for the playoffs when No. 5 ranked Posen softball squared off against No. 7 Hillman on Monday. It was an important matchup, as a sweep by either team could decide the North Star League champion, after Posen swept No. 1 Rogers City last week.
It ended with a hard-fought split when Hillman won the first game 1-0 and Posen won the second 6-1.
"When you've got a pitcher who was as on as Jensen (Tchorzynski) was in the first game, its hard to do anything. She no-hit us and no-hit us for a reason," Posen coach Glenn Budnick said.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Posen’s Amy Buczkowski (red) watches a pitch fly past the glove of Hillman catcher Courtney Sauer in a doubleheader in Hillman on Monday.
The first game was a pure pitchers' dual that took under an hour to finish and featured only four hits.
Tchorzynski pitched a six inning no-hitter for the Hillman (12-4) win. She faced 19 batters and struck out 12, giving up only one walk. Tchorzynski struck out all three batters in the third.
Posen's (11-3, 9-1 North Star League) Ashley Meyers also faced 19 batters and struck out six, giving up only three hits and one walk.
Hillman's offense was successful early when Kalen Tchorzynski singled in the bottom of the first and made it to second on an error.
She then made it to third on a fielder's choice, but was left stranded. She also was left stranded after a single in the fourth.
Jensen Tchorzynski and Hillman's defense kept Posen's offense under wraps while Posen's defense only faltered in the bottom of the fifth.
Hillman's Morgan Armon hit what looked like a routine out but was safe on a throwing error. Armon then stole second during Morgan Dove's at bat. Dove doubled deep to center field, driving in Armon to give Hillman the 1-0 lead.
Any Posen rally was stymied in the top of the sixth when Jensen Tchorzynski struck out two and threw out one at first.
Posen's offense came out in the second game as if it wanted to send a message to Hillman: it picked up four hits to take a 3-0 lead in the top of the first.
"We preached to them in between games that they needed to come out and attack the strike zone. That's what they did," Budnick said.
Amy Buczkowski started it off with a bunt, then advanced to second when Kayla Lenard earned a walk. Jenna Hincka loaded the bases with a single and Monica Bartz doubled to drive in two.
Akari Takesato then singled to drive in Bartz.
The Tigers looked like they were ready to answer when Kalen Tchorzynski hit a long fly ball to center field with no outs and Vanessa Schook on first.
Schook took off for second on the hit and run as soon as Tchorzynski connected. She just about made it to third when Hincka caught the fly ball for the out, and Schook was then thrown out at first, as she tried to scramble back to the bag.
Following the double play, Hillman's next two batters singled, but were left stranded.
Tchorzynski struck out five of seven batters in the next two innings to keep Hillman in the game.
Meyers held Hillman hitless and scoreless until the third, when Kalen Tchorzynski and Jensen Tchorzynski singled.
Kalen Tchorzynski was driven in by a Courtney Sauer single, but a Hillman rally stalled when Meyers struck out the next batter.
Meyers pitched a full game for the win, giving up three hits, no earned runs and struck out six.
Meyers also was part of Posen's three-run fifth inning. She led it off with a single and advanced to second when Buczkowski was safe on an error.
Kayla Lenard then hit a shot down the right field line that led to a three-run in-the-park-homer that gave Posen the 6-1 lead.
Hillman replaced Jensen Tchorzynski with Kalen Tchorzynski, who gave up only one hit the rest of the game. Jensen Tchorzynski gave up five hits in the loss.
"It's better to come out with a split than it is with a sweep," Budnick said. "Right now, we're in charge of our own destiny and are looking forward to playing the rest of the season."
Posen hosts Atlanta on Thursday while Hillman hosts Rogers City.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.