Hillsboro Legion knocks off Andover at home, 7-3

Hillsboro Legion Post 366 finally got to play a game Monday night after having games postponed both Thursday and Saturday of last week.

The wait was worth it, as Hillsboro defeated the Andover Jaguars, Legion Post 406, 7-3 at Memorial Field.

Andover came into the game with a 10-5 record, but was without six key players who were attending a baseball camp.

Jerod Metcalf, who got the starting nod for Hillsboro, pitched three strong innings of shutout ball.

In the first inning, though, Metcalf gave up three consecutive singles but escaped without any damage.

Hillsboro got things going in the bottom of the second inning when James Bina, in his first at bat for Hillsboro this season, belted a 1-1 pitch over the right field fence for an opposite-field home run. The blow gave Hillsboro a lead it never relinquished.

Hillsboro added three more runs in the bottom of the third. Jared Fish singled to left to lead off, then Steven Chisholm reached safely on a botched rundown of Fish, putting runners on first and second with one out.

Bina hit an infield grounder that was fielded cleanly, but once again, poor execution by Andover led to an unsuccessful rundown that allowed Fish to score.

Chisholm and Bina then executed a perfect double steal, placing runners on second and third for Graham Ratzlaff, who spanked a solid single to center to score both runners and give the home team a 4-0 lead.

Dustin Jost replaced Metcalf on the mound in the top of the fourth inning and pitched two strong innings, allowing just one walk and no hits.

In the bottom of the fifth, Hillsboro scored another run via the long ball when Ratzlaff blasted a home run to left to give Hillsboro a 5-0 lead.

Chisholm replaced Jost on the mound in the top of the sixth, and, for the second straight game, found the strike zone to be an elusive target.

Chisholm walked the bases loaded, but managed to wriggle out of the inning with no runs scored.

But Chisholm wasn’t quite so lucky in the seventh. Once again he walked the bases loaded, but this time he walked one more to force a run home.

Coach Brady Marsh then called on Shawn Hughbanks to put out the fire. But Hughbanks had the “wild” bug, too, walking in the second run of the inning.

The next batter, John O’Leary ripped a single to center, scoring Drew Armagost. Chisholm, now the center fielder, played the ball on one hop, and threw a rifle shot to Bina at home plate to cut down the Andover runner at the plate for the second out of the inning.

Hughbanks then induced Jimmy Schwartz to ground back to the mound to end the rally with Hillsboro still on top, 5-3.

In the bottom of the seventh, Metcalf reached base on an error by the Andover third baseman, and that seemed to unnerve the pitcher Aaron Pung.

Pung allowed a solid single to Bina, then nailed Ratzlaff with a pitch to load the bases.

Hughbanks then hit a grounder to second, but the throw to first was wild, allowing Metcalf and Bina to score giving Hillsboro a 7-3 lead.

Andover came to bat in the top of the ninth needing four runs, and for a brief moment, it looked like they just might get them.

After a leadoff single, Andover drew two more walks with two outs-the 11th and 12th walks surrendered by Hillsboro pitchers.

But Hughbanks got the next batter to swing at some questionable pitches and struck him out to end the game.

In addition to the 12 walks, Hillsboro pitching allowed just six hits while Andover stranded 11 runners in the contest.

Hillsboro, meanwhile, knocked out nine hits.

“We hadn’t played in quite awhile,” Brady Marsh said afterward. “We can hit better than that, but when you haven’t faced live pitching in over almost a week, it takes a little bit to get your timing back.”

With the win, Hillsboro improved its record to 9-5 while Andover dropped to 10-6.

Hillsboro was slated to play a pair of games at Lyons on Tuesday, July 1, before heading to McPherson this weekend to participate in a tournament Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 4-6.

Hillsboro 7, Andover 3

June 30 at Memorial Park

Andover (10-6) 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0-3 6 3

Hillsboro (9-6) 0 1 3 0 1 0 0 2 x-7 9 3

Hillsboro pitching: Metcalf (W), 3 innings, 14 batters, 3 strikeouts, 1 walk, 4 hits, 0 runs, 1 wild pitch, 0 hit batters; Jost, 2 innings, 7 batters, 1 strikeout, 1 walk, 0 hits, 0 runs; Chisholm, 1.1 innings, 11 batters, 3 strikeouts, 7 walks, 0 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs; Hughbanks, 2.2 innings, 12 batters, 2 hits, 2 strikeouts, 3 walks, 0 runs. Catcher: Bina.

Hillsboro hitting: (ab-r-h-rbi) Jost 4-0-0-0, Chisholm 5-1-1-0, Metcalf 4-1-0-0, Bina 4-3-2-1, Ratzlaff 4-1-2-3, S. Hughbanks 3-0-0-0, Swenson 2-0-0-0, Walker 3-0-1-0, Fish 2-1-2-0, Brubacher 2-0-0-0, Marsh 2-0-0-0, Gaines 1-0-1-0, Goldsby 1-0-0-0. Totals: 37-7-9-4. HR: Ratzlaff, Bina 2B: Walker.

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