ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
Hillsboro Legion Post 366 had to switch fields because of afternoon rain, but still defeated Buhler in a doubleheader Thursday at Memorial Field, 10-5 and 14-4.
The wins over Buhler, which came into the doubleheader with an 8-5 record, boosted Hillsboro’s season mark to 8-4. The games were originally scheduled for Tabor Field.
In the opener, Buhler wasted little time getting to starter Jerod Metcalf. Three consecutive singles put Buhler on the board, 1-0.
Hillsboro, likewise, wasted no time getting to Buhler starter Dillon Wray.
Lead-off hitter Caleb Marsh walked on four pitches, took second on a wild pitch, stole third base and scored on another wild pitch.
With one out, Dustin Jost singled to center, stole second and then scored when Steven Chisholm tripled off the fence in right to give Hillsboro a 2-1 lead.
That’s the way the score remained until the top of the third. Scott Wiens reached base for Buhler on an error by third basemen Ryan Gaines, but was forced at second base on a grounder by Bobby Obermite. After Obermite stole second, he scored on a single.
Hillsboro answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Marsh singled to lead off, then scored when Metcalf belted a home run to left.
Hillsboro added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Ben Walker was hit by a pitch and Tyler Goldsby singled. Gaines brought both runners home with a double to boost the lead to
In the top of the sixth inning, Buhler scored twice against Hillsboro’s Bryan Swenson, who had relieved Metcalf to start the fourth inning.
Cory Janzen walked with one out and took second on an errant pickoff attempt by Swenson. Dillon Wray followed with a two-out single that scored Janzen.
After Lane Wolfer singled to left, Walker misplayed a ball at first off the bat of Wiens. Wray trotted home with Buhler’s fourth run of the game.
But Hillsboro came right back with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Goldsby singled and then scored on a two-out double by Marsh, who advanced to third base on a wild pitch and scored on an error.
Dustin Jost then belted a two-run homer to give Hillsboro a 10-4 lead heading into the seventh.
Shawn Hughbanks took over on the mound for Hillsboro and retired the first two batters of the inning. But James O’Brien singled and moved to third on consecutive wild pitches.
After one more walk, Hughbanks was called for a balk, allowing O’Brien to score. But Hughbanks got the final out to preserve the 10-5 for Metcalf.
“It was nice to see us come right back when the other team makes a rally,” Marsh said. “We asserted ourselves and let them know we were the better team.”
In Game 2, Jost took the mound for Hillsboro and threw a two-hit shutout over the first five innings.
Buhler’s Terry Almquist held Hillsboro in check for the first two innings, but Hillsboro, which was the visiting team for this game, broke through for two runs in the top of the third.
Jared Fish reached base after he was plunked by Almquist, took second on an errant pickoff attempt, and then stole third.
After Marsh walked, Fish came home on a grounder by Metcalf to give Hillsboro a 1-0 lead. Jost then doubled to drive in Marsh.
A lead-off opposite-field home run by Graham Ratzlaff boosted Hillsboro’s lead to 3-0 in the top of the fourth.
Following a walk to Swenson, Buhler switched pitchers and put in Wiens, who was greeted with a double by Gaines that scored Swenson for a 4-0 Hillsboro lead.
Fish followed with a single to short right field, moving Gaines to third. With Marsh at the plate, Fish took off for second, and when Buhler’s catcher tried to pick off Gaines at third, the throw sailed into left field, allowing Gaines to score Hillsboro’s fifth run.
Marsh then singled home Fish and the score was 6-0 after 31/2 innings.
Fish took over pitching duties for Jost in the sixth. Although Fish pitched well, defensive lapses cost Hillsboro four runs.
With one out, Wray hit a roller to Fish, who fielded it cleanly but overthrew first and Wray ended up at second base. Fish then walked Wolfer, but got the next two batters out.
Left-fielder Swenson lost a fly ball in the lighting on the potential third out, allowing both Wray and Wolfer to score.
Fish then hit Hamby with a pitch, and followed that with a wild pitch that pushed the runners to second and third.
Almquist brought both runners home with the only base hit of the inning-a single to left-and Buhler was within two runs, 6-4.
Metcalf relieved Fish and got the final out to preserve the lead.
“Fish did a good job,” Brady Marsh said. “I liked how he threw. It’s good to see that because later in the year, we need to know who can throw and who can’t.
“We had two errors in the inning, so he was kind of unlucky,” Marsh added.
Hillsboro blew the game open in the seventh inning, sending 13 batters to the plate and scoring eight of them.
With one out, Goldsby walked and then scored on a triple by Ryan Stahlecker. After Ratzlaff walked, Stahlecker scored when Swenson’s pop up to right was misplayed. Ratzlaff was forced out at second on the play.
After Swenson stole second base and Walker drew a walk, Fish singled in Swenson for a 9-4 lead.
Marsh then walked to load the bases, and Metcalf blew a hole in the game with a three-run double.
Jost followed with an inside-the-park home run to center, driving in the final two runs for the 14-4 margin of victory.
Hillsboro drew 12 walks for the doubleheader, which Brady Marsh was glad to see.
“Against Lyons (Tuesday) we were swinging at all sorts of junk,” Marsh said. “We were a lot more patient (against Buhler). We didn’t swing at their pitches, but waited to swing at ours.
“We got two wins, and we’ll take them,” Marsh added. “A lot of guys got in and they all made contributions, and that was good to see.”
Lyons-Hillsboro split a pair of games with previously undefeated Lyons last Tuesday at Tabor Field. The home team came out sluggish in the first game, losing 8-6, but came back to win the nightcap, 7-4.
A complete report of the Lyons games appears in last week’s issue of the Free Free Extra, which is on newsstands through Thursday.
Coming-Post 366 was scheduled to play host to McPherson’s AAA team for one nine-inning game Tuesday.
Thursday, Osage City is schedule to come to town for a nine-inning game starting at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Hillsboro will welcome Chapman to Tabor Field for a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m.
Next Tuesday, Andover also is scheduled to play at Tabor Field for a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m.