Hillsboro Legion team clubbed by experienced Emporia

The Hillsboro American Legion baseball team found out the hard way Sunday the difference between playing the game as summer recreation and playing it as a summer occupation.

Hillsboro came into the doubleheader with Emporia’s Post 5 squad preparing for its eighth game in a 24-game regular season. Emporia, meanwhile, had already mounted a 19-6 record in the midst of its 60-game schedule.

The difference showed. Emporia dispatched Hillsboro in a pair of run-rule games, 16-1 and 10-2.

A tough pitching night didn’t help Hillsboro’s chances, especially in the opener. Emporia managed only six hits in three innings, but benefitted from five hit batsmen and four walks.

When the home team did hit, they made it count, with two-run doubles by Aaron Conrade in the first inning and Jason Way in the second, a three-run homer in the second inning by Dave Evans and a solo blast by Conrade in the fourth.

After a four-run first inning, Emporia scored 10 runs in the second to blow the game open.

Hillsboro starter Chase Freeborn absorbed most of the damage, giving up 13 runs through two and two-thirds innings.

Reliever Jeremy Hanes gave up the three-run homer to Evans and the solo shot to Conrade, but also registered four strikeouts against the seven hitters he faced.

Offensively, Hillsboro managed only three hits against Emporia’s Jeremy Way until Jamey Cooper belted a solo home run to left center in the top of the fourth.

In the second game, Hillsboro knew its luck wasn’t about to change when Dustin Jost led off the game with a single, but was out at second when Andy Brubacher followed with a sharp hit-and-run grounder directly at the second baseman as he was darting over to cover second. He stepped on the bag and then fired to first to complete the double play.

Emporia scored three runs in the bottom of the inning on a double, walk and RBI single off of Jost, then a two-run double by Aaron Lieschen.

Hillsboro came back with two runs in the top of the second. Layne Frick opened with a walk, then was safe at second when Emporia’s second baseman blew a double-play grounder by Cooper. After Hanes popped out to second, Jared Fish walked and Ben Walker followed with a two-run single.

Emporia, helped by a rash of wild pitches, scored two more runs in the bottom of the second, then put the game away with five runs in the bottom of the third.

Jost, who was charged with all 10 runs, gave up seven hits and walked four. Cooper relieved him with no one out in the third inning and gave up three hits in two full innings of relief.

Hillsboro, now 3-6 on the season, finished with four hits.

“This was by far the best team we’ve played this season,” said coach Lyman Adams. “There’s a difference between ‘Triple A’ and ‘Double A’ ball. The number of games they’ve played gave them a great advantage. Hopefully, our team will get better, too, as we play more games together.”

Coming-Hillsboro was scheduled to play Sterling last Wednesday, but that doubleheader was canceled because Sterling did not have enough players to maintain the team.

Post 366 has three road doubleheaders scheduled this week. They are to travel to Newton on Thursday, Council Grove on Sunday and Lindsborg next Monday.

All three doubleheaders are scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Emporia 10, Hillsboro 2

June 24, Soden Field at Emporia, Game 2

Hillsboro (3-6)      0 2 0      0 0 –       2 6 2

Emporia      3 2 5      0 x -10 10 1

Hillsboro pitching: Dustin Jost (L) 2.0 innings, 17 AB, 10 R, 0 K, 4 BB, 7 H, 0 HBP; Jamey Cooper 2.0 innings, 8 AB, 0 R, 0 K, 0 BB, 3 H, 0 HBP. Catcher: Chase Freeborn.

Hillsboro hitting (ab-r-h-rbi): Dustin Jost 3-0-1-0, Andy Brubacher 3-0-0-0, Corey Thiessen 3-0-1-0, Chase Freeborn 2-0-0-0, Layne Frick 1-1-0-0, Jamey Cooper 2-1-0-0, Jeremy Hanes 2-0-1-0, Jared Fish 1-0-0-0, Ben Walker 2-0-1-2. Totals: 19-2-6-1.

Emporia 16, Hillsboro 1

June 24, Soden Field at Emporia, Game 1

Hillsboro (3-5)      0 0 0       1 – 1 5 2

Emporia      4 10 5       x -16 16 2

Hillsboro pitching: Chase Freeborn (L) 2.2 innings, 20 AB, 13 R, 2 K, 4 BB, 4 H, 4 HBP; Jeremy Hanes 1.1 innings, 7 AB, 3 R, 4 K, 0 BB, 2 H. 1 HBP. Catcher: Jamey Cooper.

Hillsboro hitting (ab-r-h-rbi): Dustin Jost 2-0-1-0, Andy Brubacher 2-0-0-0, Corey Thiessen 2-0-0-0, Chase Freeborn 2-0-1-0, Layne Frick 2-0-1-0, Graham Ratzlaff 2-0-0-0, Jamey Cooper 2-1-1-1, Robert Verbic 2-0-1-0, Ben Walker 0-0-0-0, Jeremy Hanes 2-0-0-0. Totals: 18-1-5-1. HR: Cooper (1).

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