ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
A six-run burst in the seventh inning blew open a close game and propelled Hillsboro to a 13-3 win over Wichita Collegiate and a split of its Friday baseball doubleheader in Wichita.
The Trojans lost the opener, 9-3, after falling behind early.
But in Game 2, Hillsboro was the team that started well. The Trojans scored two runs in the first inning, three in the second and one in the third and fourth for a 7-0 lead behind the pitching of Troy Frick (2-2), who also contributed a run-scoring single in the first inning.
Lucas Hamm, Adam Scheele and Justin Moore stroked RBI singles in the second inning, Hamm scored on a ground out by Daniel Jost after ripping a triple in the third inning and Moore stroked a solo home run in the fourth.
The Spartans then touched Frick for two runs in the bottom of fourth and a third run in the fifth. He was relieved by Jost with two outs in the sixth inning. Frick scattered six hits and struck out eight Spartans to earn the victory.
“Frick pitched really well,” coach Phil Oelke said. “In the sixth he started to get pretty tired. We went ahead and brought Jost in and he threw really well.”
With the score 7-3 heading into the top of the seventh, the Trojans combined two base hits by Travis Riesen and one each from Chad Hughbanks and Frick with two walks and two Spartan errors to generate the six-run surge.
Moore finished with three hits in four at bats with three runs batted in to pace Hillsboro. Riesen contributed three hits to the Trojans’ 15-hit attack.
Hillsboro could have used a few of those hits in Game 1. Freshman Grant Primm throttled the Trojans on four hits for a complete-game victory. He struck out 10 Trojans and walked four.
A two-run home run by Jost in second inning was Hillsboro’s lone highlight on offense.
Meanwhile, a four-run first-inning explosion by the Spartans put Trojan starter Adam Scheele (0-1) in a deep hole right off the bat. Scheele wired the bomb himself by walking the first three batters he faced. Primm then ignited it with a grand-slam home run.
“Scheele’s arm had been hurting off and on most of the week, but we didn’t have anybody else to throw,” Oelke said.
When the Spartans scored two more times in the bottom of the second on a pair of walks and a ground-rule double by Primm with two outs, Moore came on in relief and allowed only one earned run in three innings before Daniel Berg came on in the fifth and finished up.
The split gave the Trojans a 6-6 record for the season.
“To come out of there with split actually wasn’t a bad thing,” Oelke said. “Hughbanks couldn’t play (in the field) because his arm was bothering him, so he was the designated hitter.”
Smoky Valley-Hillsboro won a marathon then lost a sprint during their doubleheader split with Smoky Valley in Lindsborg on Tuesday.
The Trojans outlasted the Vikings 17-15 in an wild, error-prone opener that lasted nearly three hours, then lost a nitecap that ended by run rule after 41⁄2 innings with a 12-2 score.
In Game 1, Hillsboro dashed to a 4-0 lead on consecutive hits by Daniel Jost, Chad Hughbanks, Adam Scheele and Justin Moore, a sacrifice by Travis Riesen, a run-scoring single by Aaron Stepanek and then a Viking error.
Through 31⁄2 innings, the Trojans had extended the lead to 7-0. The Vikings then touched pitcher Riesen for two runs in the bottom of the fourth on two hits and two Trojan errors.
From that point, the game disintegrated into an explosive combination of hard hitting and faulty fielding by both teams. Hillsboro finished with 18 hits and seven errors while Smoky Valley accumulated 19 hits and 11 errors.
“It was ugly both ways,” HHS coach Phil Oelke said. “We hit the ball well and forced some of those (Viking) errors. Ground balls came at them pretty hard and hit the holes on one side of them or the other and forced them to make some throws late.”
After Hillsboro had built a 14-6 lead through 41⁄2 innings, the Vikings scored four runs in the fifth and five more in the sixth to pull to within 17-14 heading into the final inning.
The Trojans were shut out for the first time in their half of the seventh. But freshman Daniel Jost limited the home team to one error-aided run in the Vikings’ last at-bat and got a nice double play off a line drive out to save the victory for Riesen (2-1).
Jost, Hughbanks, Scheele and Troy Frick each had three hits to pace the Trojan attack and Frick drove in a team-high four runs.
But Viking starter Darren Beigert chilled the Trojan bats in Game 2, limiting them to two runs and only two hits. Hillsboro scored both of its runs in the fourth on a walk to Moore, a run-scoring, ground-rule double by Riesen and a pair of ground outs by Frick and Stepanek.
Meanwhile, the Vikings determined the outcome with a 10-run second inning. Starter Chad Hughbanks surrendered a hit and three walks in the inning before hurting his elbow.
Jost replaced the senior on the mound with one out. But this time the freshman struggled, hitting one batter, walking two and giving up a bases-loaded triple before Frick took over with two outs.
Hughbanks (1-2) was charged with four runs and Jost six. The Vikings added a run in the fourth off Frick and a game-ending run in the fifth off Gavin Serene.
Oelke said his team’s poor fielding undermined a gutsy effort by a couple of relatively inexperienced relief pitchers: Berg in Game 1 and Serene in Game 2.
“The young guys are doing what they need to do when they come in, but we have to start backing them up (with good fielding),” Oelke said.
Coming-The Trojans had Tuesday off, but will return to action Friday by playing host to non-league foe Bennington at Memorial Field. Games begin at 4:30 p.m. The following Tuesday Hillsboro travels to Haven and then to Marion two days later.
“We’re getting into a tough haul here,” Oelke said. “Going Friday, Tuesday, Thursday is going to be awfully hard for us.”