Legion Post 366 11-1 following second sweep of Abilene

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Brian Fruechting charges home from third with the seventh run in the 11-1 Legion Post 366 win over Abilene on June 17.

Rain washed out a contest scheduled for Thursday against Hesston, but torrential offense against Abilene on Tuesday, June 17, helped Hillsboro Legion Post 366 improve its season record to 11-1.

The first game was ended by the 10-run rule after a 2-run double by Jacob Fish in the bottom of the sixth gave Post 366 an 11-1 lead. Post 366 won the second game 17-9.

Hillsboro struck first when Cole Starkey drove in Calvin Jeffrey for a 1-0 lead. Brian Palermo then lined into a double play that cleared the bases ahead of cleanup hitter Daniel Jost, who crushed a triple to straightaway center field. Travis Riesen popped out to end the inning.

Starkey allowed Abilene?s only score in the top of the second despite retiring the first two batters. After a pair of 2-out singles put runners at first and third, a wild pitch tied the game at 1-1.

Hillsboro went down in order in the second and Starkey worked a 1-2-3 top of the third.

In the bottom of the third, a lead triple by Isaac Leihy sparked the Legion offense. Will Case brought Leihy in with a sacrifice fly, and Jeffrey flied out to third base. Starkey then knocked a blooper into right field and Palermo slugged a triple to the fence in right-center.

Palermo scored to make it 4-1 when the Abilene left fielder misplayed a fly ball struck by Jost.

That was all Starkey needed. He did not allow a base runner the rest of the way and finished the game having retired 13 consecutive batters.

Hillsboro scored five more in the fourth, as four straight batters reached base without swinging the bat. Riesen walked; Kyle Hannigan, Brian Fruechting and Jake Liles were each hit by a pitch.

Leihy followed with a 2-run single and scored the 9-1 marker four batters later, when Palermo reached on an infield single.

A brilliant defensive play trumped an aggressive bit of baserunning by Jeffrey, who rounded third as Leihy scored and broke for home when the throw went after Palermo at first.

Because of Abilene catcher Kerry McDonnell?s strong positioning, Jeffrey opted for an indirect slide that took him well into foul territory and required him to reach in behind McDonnell to get to the base. But the return throw was solid and McDonnell made the tag a split second before Jeffrey tapped the plate.

It was the only outstanding play Abilene made in the field in either game.

The second game began with Abilene using a walk and three singles to take a 1-0 lead. Isaac Leihy worked his way out of the jam with a strikeout and line drive to second base that Jeffrey turned into an unassisted double play.

Post 366 scored twice in the bottom of the first, as a leadoff walk to Jeffrey turned into Hillsboro?s first run on a passed ball during Jost?s plate appearance. After Jeffrey scored, Jost slammed a triple into the left-center gap. Jost also scored on a passed ball.

Post 366 scored eight runs after Fruechting reached second on a 2-base error leading off the frame.

Jeffrey hit a 2-2 pitch for a triple and Kyle Hannigan provided the big hit of the inning?a 2-out 2-run single that scored Jost and Riesen to give Hillsboro a 9-1 lead.

Neither team threatened again until a base on balls issued to Abilene?s Derek Helton loaded the bases in the top of the fourth. Moseying down to first, Helton drew the ire of his coach who bellowed that ?It?s not literally a walk!?

The words must have resonated with the Abilene bench and might have taken some of the wind out of Hillsboro?s sails: the visitors scored six runs on three hits, three errors and a wild pitch.

With his team up by two runs in the bottom of the fourth, Palermo doubled the lead with an RBI triple that turned into a 4-base hit when the relay throw bounced into the Abilene dugout.

Case also scored on the play, and Hillsboro led 11-7.

Each team tallied two unearned runs in the fifth. Jeffrey came on to pitch in the top of the sixth and worked a 1-2-3 inning.

Starkey scored on a triple by Riesen in the bottom half, sparking a 3-run outburst that made it 17-9.

Jeffrey faced only four batters in the top of the seventh, striking out one and inducing two popups to end the game.

Coming?Post 366 faces perhaps its toughest opponent of the season at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Salina. Post 366 is also set to host a round robin tournament with games to be played this weekend at Tabor College.

Post 366 faces Buhler at 6 p.m. Friday, Abilene at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Moundridge at 6 p.m. Sunday.

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