Hillsboro goes 2-2 vs. Abilene, Marion

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Wil Case tags out Chris Couts after a ?pickle? rundown in the bottom of the third inning June 16 in Hillsboro. Andrew Ottoson / Free Press

In a performance perhaps most remarkable for the resiliancy and determination displayed by both sides, the Legion Post 366 baseball team narrowly swept Marion June 22. Post 366 came up on the short side against red-hot Abilene on Thursday: 13-12, 12-10.

Abilene?Hillsboro opened up a 10-3 lead?scoring six in the top of the first and tacking on four in the third?in no small part due to sub-par fielding from the Rebels.

But Abilene?s 15 hits turned its 7-run deficit into a 12-11 lead. A run-scoring single in the seventh sent the game to extra innings. After Hillsboro failed to score in the top of the eighth, a single by John Aylward ended the first game.

Hillsboro nearly turned the tables in the second game. Abilene took an early lead that grew to 12-5 entering the fifth and final inning.

But two Rebel errors contributed to Hillsboro closing the gap to 12-10. But relief pitcher Christian McDonald closed the game, boosting Abilene?s undefeated record to 12-0.

Marion?Hillsboro walked off with a 17-16 win in the first game 17-16. The Warriors held a 3-0 lead after the top of the first, owing in no small part to free passes issued by starting pitcher Jacob Fish to Matt Sprowles and Mitch Cady leading off the first inning.

After Wil Case struck out, Adam Maag doubled to right field, scoring Sprowles and setting up runners at second and third for Heath Hill. Hill?s sacrifice fly made it 2-0, and Isaac Hett?s subsequent single scored Maag.

Hillsboro gained the lead in the bottom of the first, with Jace Francka driving in the first of four runs. A walk to Jacob Edwards loaded the bases, and Post 366 went station to station on a single by Dylan Delk and a walk Hill issued to Cole Svoboda. But Hill struck out Dillon Liles and Devin Funk to escape the jam.

Marion threatened but did not score in the top of the second, and Hillsboro struck a decisive blow in the bottom half. Fish smashed an 0-2 pitch for a triple into the left-center gap, and Aaron Bina drove him in with an infield single. Two walks loaded the bases for Francka, who reached on a throwing error. Then Edwards ripped a 2-run single and Liles cranked a 2-run double to cap the second inning scoring.

But controversy started brewing before the third out of the frame: after Funk walked and stole second, Svoboda popped out to center field, and Fish?s fly out ended the inning.

Funk and Svoboda were batting out of order.

Marion gained one run back when Hill doubled in Case in the top of the third, and Hill faced the minimum in the bottom half.

The Warriors rallied in the top of the fourth, with four RBI singles knotting the game at 10-10. Sprowles and Maag each had an RBI; Case and Hill drove in two apiece.

Edwards restored Hillsboro?s lead in the bottom of the fourth, scoring amid more discord over whether Funk and Svoboda were again batting out of order.

(With both bookkeepers calling for time, the umpire ruled that the mistake could be corrected without an ?out? call. A Free Press request for clarification was referred to rule 6.07 of the Official Baseball Rules book.)

Hillsboro?s lead grew to 15-10 in the bottom of the fifth, but the Warriors rallied for six runs in the top of the sixth. Three overthrows on a grounder by Hett scored two runs. Marshall Ragland tied the contest at 15-15 with single, and Colton Olson drove in the go-ahead run.

Hill worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth, but Hillsboro rallied for the win in the bottom of the seventh: a leadoff double by Svoboda followed by a walk to Tyler Ediger, followed by a passed ball, capped with a 2-run single to right field by Francka.

Hillsboro took the second game 14-3.

Coming?Hillsboro hosted Hesston Tuesday, hosts Herington Thursday, and will host Buhler June 30. All starts are set for 6 p.m.

Information from the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle?s accounts was used in this report.

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