Hillsboro Post 366 continues early struggles

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
For the second time in less than a week, Hillsboro American Legion Post 366 faced a talented Herington team in a doubleheader Thursday. And for the second straight week, Hillsboro dropped both games, this time 7-2 and 18-4.

In the opener, Jimmy Shipman, Hillsboro starting pitcher, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning with no damage before Herington scored a run in the third inning on a bunt single, an error, and a single by Curtis Gutsch.

Herington pitcher Ryan Glessner, meanwhile, was keeping the Hillsboro bats silent, allowing no hits through the first four innings.

Herington stretched its advantage in the top of the fifth inning on a double, another Hillsboro error, and another single by Gutsch.

Following a walk, Casey Schlesner belted a two-run double to push the Herington lead to 5-0.

But Hillsboro battled back in the fifth when Shipman collected Hillsboro’s first hit, a single, followed by a single by Chad Hughbanks. Tyler Goldsby grounded out, but drove Shipman home on the play to whittle the lead to 5-1.

Justin Moore then walloped a pitch to the fence in left center to drive Hughbanks home.

Herington answered with a pair of runs in the sixth inning on one hit to go on top 7-2.

Hillsboro threatened by loading the bases in the bottom of the seventh, but Gutsch came on in relief and induced Mitch Enos to ground out to first base to end the contest.

Shipman took the loss, allowing seven runs on eight hits. He walked six and struck out six.

Hillsboro committed four errors in the contest.

“I thought Jimmy threw a really good game,” coach Lyman Adams said. “Our biggest problem is getting timely hits on offense.

“When you’re struggling to score runs, every mistake we make is that much bigger and it puts a lot more pressure on our pitchers.”

Hillsboro scored its two runs on six hits and drew five walks.

In the second game, Herington jumped on Hillsboro starter Clayton Garnica early.

After walking the lead off hitter, Garnica surrendered four hits and two walks while his teammates committed a pair of errors.

When the dust had settled, Herington led 7-0. But Adams said his pitcher did a good job.

“Clayton had a tough first inning,” Adams said. “He’s a young pitcher who doesn’t have much experience throwing against a veteran team, and he was kind of shell-shocked.

“But he settled down and did a nice job the rest of the way.”

Offensively, Hillsboro had the dubious task of facing Gutsch, who retired all nine batters he faced in the first three innings.

Garnica, meanwhile, was settling into a groove of his own, keeping Herington off the board in both the second and third innings before running into trouble in the fourth.

With two outs, Herington put together three singles, a walk, and a Hillsboro error to extend the advantage to 10-0 after 31/2 innings.

Hillsboro finally broke the scoring drought in the bottom of the fourth when Enos led off with a single, stole second, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on a one-out double by Adam Scheele.

After relief pitcher Matt Brown shut down Herington in the top of the fifth, Herington scored a single run in the sixth inning off Brown when Gutsch scored from first base on a single by Glessner.

Trailing 11-1, Hillsboro staved off the 10-run rule in the home half of the sixth inning. Steven Chisholm drew a lead-off walk, Enos hit a scorcher that Herington misplayed, allowing Chisholm to advance to third and Enos to end up on second.

Garnica then laid down a perfect bunt to score Chisholm.

Two pitches later, Enos scurried home from third base on a wild pitch to make the score 11-3.

After Garnica moved to third base on a steal and a wild pitch, Hughbanks singled him home to cut the lead to 11-4.

Herington added seven runs in the top of the seventh on six consecutive base hits, culminated by a three-run home run blast by Albrecht to make the score 18-4.

Glessner recorded the final three outs of the contest to cap the 14-run victory.

Garnica took the loss, allowing nine hits in four innings of work while Hillsboro managed just five hits off three Herington pitchers.

“It seems like the balls we hit hard go right at them,” Adams said. “But the ones they hit seem to find holes.”

With the losses, Hillsboro’s record falls to 2-6 for the season with six straight losses.

“I was pleased with the way the guys battled in both games against a quality team,” Adams said. “We never gave up and kept battling. We didn’t like the results, but we sure didn’t quit playing hard.”

McPherson-With a roster of only nine players last Wednesday evening in McPherson, coach Lyman Adams knew each player had to perform at peak level.

It didn’t happen. Several errors and few base hits resulted in a 6-3 loss to the home team in the first game of a doubleheader. Hillsboro was outslugged 10-9 in the second game.

In the opener, Mitch Enos led off with a single and scored one out later on a Tyler Goldsby single to give Hillsboro a 1-0 lead.

With Steven Chisholm pitching for Hillsboro, McPherson struck back with three runs in the bottom of the first on two singles, a walk and four pitches that wound up at the backstop.

In the top of the fourth, Chad Hughbanks and Clayton Garnica led off with bunt singles. Following a line-drive double-play ball by Chisholm, Tyson Heidebrecht laid down a perfect bunt that McPherson misplayed, allowing Hughbanks to score to cut the lead to 3-2.

In the bottom of the inning, a walk, single and a dropped fly ball allowed McPherson to push its advantage to 4-2.

McPherson made the score 5-3 in the fifth on a hit batter and a triple.

McPherson then parlayed a walk, a passed ball, a wild pitch and a single into a 6-2 lead in the sixth inning.

Hillsboro tried to rally in the seventh when Heidebrecht walked with one out, stole second base as the catcher’s throw sailed into center field, and then scored on an error on the throw back into the infield.

But Austin Pfannanstiel closed the door on the comeback as Hillsboro fell 6-3.

Chisholm took the loss, allowing just seven hits.

In Game 2, Hillsboro got off to a good start for pitcher Shawn Hughbanks. Facing pitcher Chad Schopp, Shawn Hughbanks led off with a walk and Goldsby followed with a single.

Jimmy Shipman then ripped a line drive to chase Hughbanks home and give Hillsboro a 1-0 lead. Chisholm then bunted for a single, and Enos lofted a fly ball to deep right. McPherson misplayed the ball and Goldsby scored.

With the bases still loaded, Chad Hughbanks rolled into a 1-2-3 double play.

With Hillsboro leading 2-0, Garnica slapped a single to right to score Chisholm. Enos also scored on the play, thanks to another McPherson error.

Heidebrecht then hit a roller to shortstop, but the throw to first sailed over the first baseman’s head, allowing Garnica to score Hillsboro’s fifth run of the inning.

After Shawn Hughbanks sat McPherson down in order in the bottom of the first, he crushed the first pitch of the second inning over the scoreboard in left field to give Hillsboro a 6-0 lead.

McPherson cut into the deficit in the second inning with a one-out double and a ground out to make the score 6-1.

Hillsboro went up 7-1 in the fourth inning when Chisholm drew a two-out walk and scored on a double by Enos.

In the bottom of the fourth, Hughbanks walked the first two batters and McPherson made Hillsboro pay. A one-out single drove home one run and Schopp belted a pitch over the fence to cut the lead to 7-5.

McPherson caught Hillsboro in the bottom of the fifth. After Hughbanks gave up a one-out single and walk, Adams called on Enos to relieve Hughbanks. But a couple of wild pitches tied the game at 7-7.

Hillsboro bounced back in the sixth to regain the lead when Goldsby reached on an error, stole second, and scored on a single by Enos. Enos scored on a Garnica single to put Hillsboro back on top 9-7.

But in the bottom of the inning, McPherson converted a walk, a strike out with the runner reaching on a passed ball, and a hit batter into two more runs to tie the game at 9-9.

After Hillsboro failed to score in the seventh, McPherson took advantage of a shrinking strike zone to draw two walks that led to a game-winning single.

Enos took the loss in relief.

Hillsboro knocked out 11 hits in the loss. But eight walks surrendered by Hillsboro pitching and a stingy umpire contributed to the loss.

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