ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL AND DON RATZLAFF
Hillsboro American Legion Post 366 played a strong tournament at Augusta this weekend, but ran out of steam in the championship game, losing to the Wichita Cubs, 8-2, on Sunday at Rodney Wheeler Stadium.
Hillsboro earned a berth in the title contest by winning its four-team pool by beating El Dorado and Circle on Saturday, and then the Augusta American Legion team earlier on Sunday.
The Cubs jumped out early, scoring three first-inning runs against Hillsboro starter Dustin Jost.
David Miller led off with a single to left, Jared Peterson got on with a bunt single, and then Jayden Gillies drove them both home with a double in the gap in right-center.
Gillies advanced to third on a ground out, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Steve Hartmann, who was familiar to many of the Hillsboro players as the Wichita Trinity pitcher they faced in the Class 3A state tournament a couple of weeks earlier.
The Cubs’ 3-0 lead held until the bottom of the fourth inning, when they scored four more runs to take control of the game. A walk and two singles load the bases, then Jost walked Gillies to force on one run.
John Maier followed with the death blow-a triple off the glove of a diving Graham Ratzlaff in right field that cleared the bases and gave the Cubs a 7-0 lead.
“The fourth inning really hurt us,” manager Lyman Adams said. “Graham made a dive and if he’d have caught that ball, it might have changed the game. He gave a great effort, but it was just about a foot too far away.”
The home team pushed the lead to 8-0 with one run off a couple of hits in the fifth inning before Hillsboro finally broke through for two runs against Cubs’ starter Matt Goddard in the top of the sixth.
After Jerod Metcalf singled to left to lead off, Dustin Jost followed with a double to put runners at second and third.
Metcalf scored on a wild pitch to Ratzlaff, who later struck out for the first out of the inning. After Andy Brubacher drew a walk, Shawn Hughbanks hit into a force out at second base, enabling Jost to cross the plate with Hillsboro’s last run.
Hartmann pitched the top of the seventh, allowing one hit but also striking out two.
For the game, Hillsboro managed only five hits against the two Cub pitchers, two of them by Marsh.
“The Cubs are an all-star team,” Adams said. “They are hand picked. Overall, we were pleased with the way we played against them.”
Jost, meanwhile, gave up six hits in 32/3 innings and walked five. He struck out three hitters. All seven runs he surrendered were earned.
Metcalf relieved Jost in the fourth and pitched the final 21/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits. He did not walk or strike out a batter.
“To finish second with the teams that were in the tournament is really great,” Adams said. “You always want to win it all, but we were really pleased with the way the boys played. It was a good tournament for us.”
Hillsboro’s 3-1 record for the weekend raised its season record to 5-3.
Hillsboro 11, Augusta 0
Hillsboro cruised into the championship game Sunday by defeating Augusta, 11-0, to finish pool play with a perfect 3-0 mark.
Jerod Metcalf was stellar on the mound, giving up just two singles, one of which was of the “bloop” variety.
“Jerod Metcalf probably pitched one of his best games of the spring and summer,” manager Lyman Adams said. “He dominated the game.”
Hillsboro grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Bryan Swenson walked, moved to second on Shawn Hughbank’s single, and then scored on an error.
Post 366 increased its lead to 3-0 in the third inning when Caleb Marsh and Dustin Jost singled. Graham Ratzlaff cleared the bases with a double to left-center.
In the top of the fourth, Hillsboro scored again. Ben Walker led off with a single and Steven Chisholm then reached base on an error. Marsh and Metcalf followed with run-scoring singles to push the lead to 5-0.
Following a double steal, Ratzlaff once again wielded a big bat with a two-run single, giving him four RBIs on the day, and increasing the lead to 7-0.
“Graham stroked the ball well,” Adams said. “The whole team hit the ball better.”
With one out in the top of the fifth inning, Chisholm stretched a routine single into a hustle double. Then, on another hustle play, he scored from first base on an infield ground out, making the score 8-0.
“Steven manufactured that run,” Adams said. “It was a highlight. When you’re playing a good team, every run counts.
“I think this team will show that kind of hustle all year,” Adams added. “They enjoy the game.”
Hillsboro rounded out its scoring in the sixth inning when Chad Hughbanks and Jared Fish both reached on errors, Walker drew a walk, and Chisholm laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt followed by the third error of the inning. The lead stood at 11-0.
Metcalf allowed just two hits, struck out two and walked only one while pitching a six-inning run-rule shortened game.
Two of the runners were erased attempting to steal second by the strong and accurate arm of Chisholm behind the plate.
Hillsboro scored its 11 runs on 14 hits.
“Beating Augusta was a very good win for us,” Adams said. “They’re a good team, but we just came out and dominated them.”
Hillsboro 12, Circle 0
Hillsboro had no trouble with Circle, as Bryan Swenson and Shawn Hughbanks combined for a two-hit shutout, in a game called after five innings due to the 10-run rule.
“They were a young team,” coach Lyman Adams said of Circle. “This was the first game we could sit back, relax and enjoy the game.”
Hillsboro scored two runs in the first when Caleb Marsh walked, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on an error on a ball hit by Shawn Hughbanks. Hughbanks moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a fielder’s choice.
Hillsboro scored five more runs in the second inning when Chisholm singled and Ryan Gaines and Caleb Marsh walked. Hughbanks then singled Jerod Metcalf stroked a two-run double.
Metcalf moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Graham Ratzlaff, making the score 7-0.
Hillsboro increased its lead to 10-0 in the third inning when Andy Brubacher singled, Steven Chisholm walked and Ryan Gaines delivered an RBI single.
Chisholm came around to score after Chad Hughbanks reached on an error. Hughbanks scored when Marsh stroked a double.
Hillsboro scored its final two runs in the fifth inning when Jared Fish reached on an error and came around to score on a fielder’s choice. Jerod Metcalf singled, moved to third on a Tyler Goldsby single and later scored.
Both Hughbanks and Swenson allowed just one hit.
“Those two did a great job of pitching,” Adams said. “They just didn’t give Circle much of a chance at the plate.”
Hillsboro 8, El Dorado 7
In what was arguably Hillsboro’s most exciting game of the weekend, Post 366 escaped with an 8-7 win in the tournament opener.
“It was a strange game,” manager Lyman Adams said. “We had the game under control until the seventh. A couple bloop hits and all of a sudden we were down by a run.”
El Dorado jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on walks to Perkins and Cogan, and singles by Downing and Nightengale off of starter Steven Chisholm.
Hillsboro came back in the home half of the inning to take a 4-2 lead when Shawn Hughbanks walked and scored on a Jerod Metcalf double. Graham Ratzlaff was hit by a pitch and a Ryan Swenson bunt loaded the bases.
Ben Walker laid down an RBI bunt and Chisholm drove in the final two runs with a single.
El Dorado scored another run in the second inning on a lead-off double and an error by Hughbanks, cutting the lead to 4-3.
In the bottom of the third, Ratzlaff reached base, moved to second on a wild pitch, took third on another wild pitch and scored on a passed ball, giving Hillsboro a 5-3 lead.
That’s the way it stood until the fifth, when El Dorado scored a run when Greene was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a single by Nightengale.
Hillsboro got that run back in its half of the fifth on a lead-off double by Hughbanks and a Metcalf single for a 6-4 lead.
Metcalf took over for Chisholm in the seventh, but surrendered three runs on three hits to give El Dorado a 7-6 lead.
But Hillsboro had one last at-bat and made good use of it. Metcalf and Ratzlaff took advantage of erratic El Dorado pitching as both were hit by pitches. Swenson then drew a walk to load the bases.
When Ben Walker followed by drawing another walk, Hillsboro had evened the game 7-7 without putting a ball into play.
“It made it easier coaching when their pitcher lost his control,” Adams said with a smile.
Chisholm laid down a bunt that scored Ratzlaff with the winning run.
Chisholm pitched six strong innings, allowing just four hits. But it was Metcalf, who allowed three runs on three hits in one inning of relief, who got the win.
“Steven struggled the whole game,” Adams said. “He didn’t have his best stuff or control, but he showed his heart and kept El Dorado in check and put us in a position to have a chance to win the game.”
Wichita Cubs 8, Hillsboro 2
June 15, at Augusta
Hillsboro (5-3) 0 0 0 0 0 2 0-2 5 2
Wichita Cubs 3 0 0 4 1 0 x-8 10 0
Hillsboro pitching: Jost (L), 4 innings, 27 batters, 4 strikeouts, 4 walks, 8 hits, 7 runs, 7 earned runs, 1 wild pitch, 0 hit batter, Metcalf 3 innings, 0 strikeouts, 0 walks, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run,. Catcher: Chisholm.
Hillsboro hitting: (ab-r-h-rbi) Marsh 4-0-1-0, Metcalf 4-1-1-0, Jost 3-1-1-0, Ratzlaff 3-0-0-0, Swenson 1-0-0-0, Brubacher 0-0-0-0, S. Hughbanks 3-0-0-1, Fish 3-0-1-0, Walker 3-0-0-0, Chisholm 3-0-1-0. Totals: 29-2-5-1. 2B: Jost.
Hillsboro 11, Augusta 0
June 15, at Augusta
Hillsboro (5-2) 0 1 2 4 1 3 -11 14 1
Augusta 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 2 4
Hillsboro pitching: Metcalf, 6 innings, 20 batters, 2 strikeouts, 1 walks, 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 0 wild pitch, 0 hit batter. Catcher: Chisholm.
Hillsboro hitting: (ab-r-h-rbi) Marsh 4-2-3-1, Gaines 1-0-0-0, Metcalf 4-1-1-1, Jost 5-1-2-0, Ratzlaff 4-0-2-4, Swenson 2-1-0-0, S. Hughbanks 3-0-2-0, C. Hughbanks 1-1-0-0, Fish 4-1-1-0, Walker 3-2-1-0, Chisholm 4-2-2-0. Totals: 31-11-14-6. 2B: Ratzlaff.
Hillsboro 12, Circle 0
June 14, at Augusta
Hillsboro (4-2) 2 5 3 0 2-12 10 2
Circle 0 0 0 0 0- 0 2 1
Hillsboro pitching: Swenson, 3 innings, 14 batters, 1 strikeouts, 2 walks, 1 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 1 wild pitch, 0 hit batter; S. Hughbanks, 2 innings, 7 batters, 1 strikeouts, 0 walks, 1 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned run, 0 hit batters, 0 wild pitch. Catcher: Gaines.
Hillsboro hitting: (ab-r-h-rbi) Marsh 2-2-1-0, S. Hughbanks 3-2-1-0, Walker 0-0-0-0, Metcalf 4-2-3-2, Ratzlaff 3-0-0-0, Goldsby 1-0-1-0, Swenson 4-0-0-0, Brubacher 3-1-1-0, Chisholm 3-2-1-0, Gains 2-1-1-1, C. Hughbanks 2-1-0-0, Fish 1-1-0-0. Totals: 32-12-10-3. 2B: Metcalf, Marsh.
Hillsboro 8, El Dorado 7
June 14, at Augusta
Augusta 2 1 0 0 1 0 3-7 8 2
Hillsboro (3-2) 4 0 1 0 1 0 2-8 9 1
Hillsboro pitching: Chisholm 6 innings, 29 batters, 3 strikeouts, 4 walks, 4 hits, 4 runs, 3 earned runs, 1 wild pitch, 2 hit batter; Metcalf 1 innings, 7 batters, 2 strikeouts, 0 walks, 3 hits, 3 runs, 1 earned run, 0 hit batters, 1 wild pitch. Catcher: Goldsby.
Hillsboro hitting: (ab-r-h-rbi) Brubacher 3-0-1-0, S. Hughbanks 3-2-1-0, Metcalf 4-2-2-1, Ratzlaff 4-3-0-0, Swenson 3-1-1-1, Walker 3-0-1-1, Chisholm 3-0-2-1, Goldsby 3-0-0-0, C. Hughbanks 3-0-1-0. Totals: 32-8-8-4. 2B: Metcalf, S. Hughbanks.