Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 17 April 2012 14:56
The only thing more frustrating than losing the opening game of a doubleheader by one run in extra innings is coming up one run short in the second game, too.
That was Hillsboro’s fate Friday as the Trojans lost 6-5 in eight innings and 2-1 in regulation at Halstead.
“It was too bad because you don’t want to lose those close games on the road,” coach Doug Dick said. “If we just had one or two things go our way a little more, we would have come away with two wins and could have been at .500.”
Instead, the Trojans stand at 3-7 and were scheduled to face Pratt, the defending league champions, Tuesday.
Two errors led to a 4-0 deficit for pitcher Lucas Sinclair and the Trojans in the first inning of Game 1. Hillsboro narrowed the gap when Kale Arnold drove in a pair of runs in the top of the third, but Halstead made it 5-2 in the bottom of the inning.
Hillsboro tied the game in the fifth when two walks, a Halstead error and a single by Arnold resulted in three runs.
The Trojans had a chance to go in front in the top of the seventh when Nathan Unruh hit a two-out double and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but a strikeout ended the threat.
An error, a double and a single resulted in Halstead’s winning unearned run in the bottom of the eighth. Cody Delk (0-1), who relieved Sinclair to start the sixth, absorbed the loss.
Arnold took the mound for Game 2 and pitched all six innings. Halstead broke a scoreless duel with two runs in the third when the Dragons touched Arnold for four of the nine hits he surrendered.
Hillsboro came within a run in the sixth when Derek Kelsey was hit by a pitch with one out and Unruh drove him in with a double. But Unruh was thrown out trying for a triple. After Arnold walked, a ground out ended the inning
“Our pitchers did a decent job,” Dick said. “We didn’t do a decent job of fielding overall, and we had some base-running things that didn’t go our way that maybe could have tied it at one point.”
Hillsboro also struggled at the plate, particularly in key situations. “Some guys are getting better and some guys are still struggling,” Dick said. “As far as getting on base, we’re getting better at that, but we’re still struggling to get hits when we need them.”
Lyons—A five-run sixth inning and Luke Moore’s work on the mound and at the plate carried Hillsboro to a 7-2 win and a split of their doubleheader against the Lions April 10 at Memorial Field. Combined with Lyons’ 8-2 win in Game 1, Hillsboro’s record is 3-5 for the season and 3-3 in the league.
The Trojans entered the sixth with a 2-1 lead on the strength of Moore’s two-run single in the second inning.
Cody Delk walked to open the sixth. Moore followed with a double to drive Delk home, then scored easily on Derek Kelsey’s triple. After a pop out, Kale Arnold and Jordan Foul drew walks. An error on a ball hit by Nathan Unruh, plus walks to Aaron Wintermote and Delk, resulted in three more runs.
That was more than enough run support for Moore (1-2) to pick up his first win of the season. The senior needed only 70 pitches to complete the seven-inning game. He allowed four hits while striking out four with no walks. At the plate he went 3-for-5 with three RBIs.
“Moore pitched really well and the defense was decent,” coach Doug Dick said. “We did have a couple of errors early that didn’t hurt us too badly. We hit the ball good enough, and were smart enough at the plate, that we were able to score enough to overcome that.”
In Game 1, David Nelson also had his best outing so far this season, allowing four runs—all unearned because of errors—on six hits through five innings.
But in the sixth, the Lions broke through against the senior right-hander for four more runs on four hits.
“I probably should have pulled him one inning earlier, realizing how many pitches he had thrown,” Dick said. “But he was mixing pitches well and doing a good job of keeping them off-balance.”
Meanwhile, Lyons pitcher Christian Miller limited the Trojans to six hits for a complete-game victory.
Hillsboro’s only runs came in the fifth. Moore led off with a single and Kelsey was hit by a pitch. After Lucas Sinclair advanced the runners with a bunt, Arnold brought them home with a single. Faul followed with a single, but Arnold was thrown out trying to score. Unruh singled, but Faul was thrown out to end the rally.
Dick said mistakes made the difference in the game.
“We had too many base-running errors, either because of my poor judgment in sending somebody, or guys getting picked off,” Dick said. “Then we had some fielding errors that allowed some runs early on.”
Overall, Dick said he was pleased to see the strong outings from both of his starters, plus some improved hitting.
Coming—Hillsboro was scheduled to host Pratt Tuesday, and then to travel Friday to Canton to take on Canton-Galva.