Defensive mistakes proved to be Hillsboro’s Achilles’ heel as the Trojans dropped a baseball doubleheader Friday at Kingman, 12-11 and 11-8.
The sweep evened Hillsboro’s record at 3-3 for the season.
Game 1 was particularly frustrating as the Trojans built an 8-3 lead after 31⁄2 innings behind the pitching of Jordan Faul. But a pair of errors contributed to a four-run rally in the bottom of the inning on only one hit.
After Kingman tied the game in the fifth, the Trojans bounced back to take an 11-8 lead through 51⁄2 inning with a three-run rally fueled by six walks from Eagle pitchers.
But with two more Hillsboro errors, Kingman rallied again to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth, then scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.
Kale Arnold, who came in to pitch the seventh, absorbed the loss for Hillsboro.
In Game 2, Hillsboro built a 3-0 lead after 21⁄2 innings and led 4-1 an inning later. But the Eagles got to Arnold, who pitched the entire second game, for two runs in the bottom of the fourth, then four runs in both the fifth and fifth innings to fuel the win.
The Trojans mounted a seventh-inning rally, scoring twice on a double by Nathan Unruh, singles by Jakob Hanschu and David Dyck and a double by Dylan Nelson, but a strikeout ended the threat.
Arnold (2-2) gave up 10 hits, walked one and struck out eight Eagles in his six innings of work. Only six of the 11 Kingman runs were earned.
“I still feel like we’re a better team than Kingman, but we just didn’t show up defensively,” coach Doug Dick said.
It didn’t help that an injured toe put first baseman Josh Davidson on the bench, forcing Dick to juggle his lineup with a roster that is already razor thin.
“We had them on the ropes, and (errors) kind of let them off the hook,” Dick said of the first game. “I think we could have won the first game pretty ugly if we had not made (a costly error in the outfield that led to three runs).
“We struggled in almost every defensive category that we could, but offensively we were good,” he added. “I look at our batting averages compared to last year, and we’ve got some guys putting the bat on the ball and not making a lot of strikeouts.”
Coming—The Trojans were scheduled to play a makeup doubleheader Monday with Smoky Valley. Hillsboro will return to action Friday with a doubleheader against Canton-Galva in Galva.