It’s no secret the Hickman softball team has high expectations this season.
With eight starters back from last year’s squad, which finished 18-8 overall, the Kewpies have set their sights even higher this season under head coach Courtney Haskell, entering her 16th season at the helm.
In a game Tuesday night at Rolling Hills Park in Boonville, Hickman did a little bit of everything with solid pitching, timely hitting and clean defense in a 17-5 win over Boonville.
Hickman (2-2) scored in every inning but the second and had eight batters reach in the first, nine in the third, eight in the fourth and nine in the fifth. Nine Hickman players collected at least one hit in the game and five had two hits each.
Haskell said not only does she have high expectations this season, but her players have high expectations for themselves.
“I think they all work really well together,” Haskell said. “They have each other’s back and they know if one person is struggling on the night, the rest of the team is going to have their back. But I thought our kids ran hard out of the box, turned a lot of maybe-hits or errors into a single.”
With nine seniors on the team this season, Haskell said if you are looking at talent level alone, the Kewpies should be in every ballgame. Haskell said her players have a positive feeling and aura about them.
Hickman senior pitcher Abby Hurtado, a four-year starter who went 12-6 with a 2.72 ERA last year, also feels like the team works well together.
“Right now we are taking it one game at a time because we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves,” Hurtado said. “I feel like I have gotten stronger and that helps. I also feel like I have a good team behind me on defense and I have confidence in them.”
The defense was flawless behind Hurtado, and the offense was opportunistic. Hurtado went 2-for-4 with a double, triple and two RBIs. Zoe Derboven, Brooke Green, Elise Kendrick and Avery Throckmorton also each had two hits.
For Boonville, which mustered just five hits in the game, Emma West went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
West also took the loss by giving up eight runs on seven hits and four walks in 2 1/3 innings.
Boonville coach Christie Zoeller said the Pirates had too many mental errors.
“We should have played with them a lot better than we did,” Zoeller said. “We were just not here mentally tonight; we let the heat get to us. I feel like we should be playing ball right now with not as many errors. It’s killing us. I am still optimistic, but you would love to see those fly balls caught, those ground balls stopped and throws made, because that’s the fundamentals that we have been working on.”
Boonville senior Bryanna Jones said the team made a lot of errors that shouldn’t have been made.
“We should also be hitting the ball and we didn’t," Jones said. "At the end of the game we came out hitting the ball and scored some runs, but by then it was too late.”
Hickman’s motto for the season said it all Tuesday night: “Love the game.”
That love was on display against Boonville as the Kewpies scored early — and often — for the win.
It also was on display for both teams before the game, when a ceremony was held for the late Bud Jones. The Mid-Missouri Umpire Association honored Jones' family with a memorial bench in his name. Haskell said she was honored to be part of the ceremony.
“He did a lot of our games and I just want to say I thought it was a really nice ceremony," Haskell said.