Hillsboro survived a late rally to get past Ellsworth 8-7 in the first round of the Class 3A regional tournament Monday evening at Memorial Field.
The Trojans, who came in as the No. 3 seed, built leads of 4-0 and 7-2 behind the pitching of starter Jordan Faul. Lucas Sinclair moved from catcher to pitcher late in the contest and was able to preserve the victory over No. 6 Ellsworth (1-16).
With the win, the Trojans (10-9) advanced to the semifinals Tuesday, where they were to take on No. 2 seeded Marion (13-5), who had a first-round bye.
On the other side of the bracket, No. 4 Halstead held off No. 5 Haven to advance to the semifinals against No. 1 seeded Southeast of Saline on Tuesday.
The winners of the two semifinal games were to meet for the regional championship and a state tournament berth at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Lyons–The home team pushed across a run in the eighth-inning to edge the Trojans 7-6 and sweep their doubleheader last Tuesday. Lyons won the first game, 6-2.
The two losses left Hillsboro with a 9-9 record for the regular season.
In the second game, Hillsboro rallied from a 3-2 deficit after three innings to take a 5-3 lead in the fourth. The three-run burst included singles by Micah Allen, Jordan Faul and Jakob Hanschu plus walks to Nathan Unruh, Kale Arnold and Dylan Nelson.
After Lyons scored a run in the bottom of the inning, Hillsboro countered with one of its own in the fifth on a double by Lucas Sinclair and a single by Arnold for a 6-4 lead.
But Lyons countered with single runs in the sixth and seventh to tie the game at 6-6 at the end of regulation, then scored one more time in the eighth for the victory.
Arnold (3-4) went the distance for Hillsboro. He allowed 13 hits and seven earned runs.
In Game 1, Hillsboro scored both of its run in the opening inning on a single by Faul, a double by Unruh and a single by Hanschu.
Lyons countered with three runs in the bottom of the first off starter Jordan Faul (1-3), then added single runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings.
For the day, Unruh continued his hot hitting, with four hits in seven at-bats. Allen contributed a three-hit game in Game 2.
“Unruh just keeps lighting it up,” coach Doug Dick said of his senior. “His batting average keeps going up—he’s almost at .500 and he’s got a total of maybe five strikeouts for the year.”