ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro High School baseball team parlayed some early Hoisington generosity into seven runs in the first two innings, then went on to claim a 10-7 victory and a doubleheader split Friday at Memorial Field.
Hoisington, who came into the came ranked third in Class 3A by some preseason polls, took the first game, 7-1.
But in Game 2, the Trojans rebounded from defeat mostly by being patient at the plate.
After Hoisington took a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs of Troy Frick to start the game, Cardinal starter Justin Martin walked three Trojans and hit a third one to fuel a four-run first inning for Hillsboro.
Aaron Stepanek and Frick both stroked doubles in the inning; Frick’s hit drove in a pair of runs.
After Frick struck out three of the four hitters he faced in the top of the second, Hillsboro, aided by another walk and an error, scored three more times in the bottom of the inning to take a 7-2 lead.
Hoisington pulled to within a run with two scored in the third inning off of Frick and then two more in the fourth inning off of freshman reliever Daniel Jost.
But a three-run fifth inning gave Hillsboro all the runs it needed for the win. After Travis Riesen and Frick opened with singles, Alex Nuss and Dustin Strunk struck out.
Consecutive walks to Jost and Stepanek resulted in one run and Chad Hughbanks followed with two-run double for a 10-6 lead.
Hoisington responded with a run in the sixth, but Jost closed out the game to preserve the win for Frick (1-0), gave up four earned runs on four hits and four walks, but also recorded seven strikeouts in his 22/3 innings.
Jost turned on a strong varsity debut, scattering three hits and two walks over 41/3 inning and allowing only one earned run while striking out five Cardinals.
Hughbanks and Frick each went 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs batted in to fuel the win.
In Game 1, Hoisington starter Jacob Deutsch was just too much for Hillsboro. The right-hander allowed five hits, struck out eight and did not walk a batter until the seventh inning.
Hillsboro’s lone run came in the second, when Hughbanks singled, advanced to second and then scored on a single by Frick.
Meanwhile, four pitchers saw action for Hillsboro. Starter Travis Riesen (0-1) gave up only two runs on one hit and three walks through three innings, but was pulled with no one out in the fourth after five consecutive Cardinals reached base.
All five eventually scored before the inning was over for the 7-1 lead.
Coach Phil Oelke’s tag team of relief pitchers-Hughbanks, Justin Moore and Gavin Serene-allowed only two hits over a combined four innings, but they did walk six batters, including four by Moore in 11/3 innings.
Coming-Hillsboro was scheduled to play host to the mighty Lyons Lions on Tuesday. The Trojans are idle on Friday before playing host to Marion next Tuesday.