Legion Post 366 pastes Herington

Gavin Serene heads to the dugout after scoring what turned out to be the game-winning run in the top of the third inning of an 11-2 drubbing of Herington. Photo by Andrew Ottoson. Click image to enlarge.

Legion Post 366 opened its season on Tuesday at Memorial Field and earned a split with Abilene.

On Thursday, the team traveled to Herington and hammered out wins of 17-2 and 11-2.

Herington?In the top of the first inning, Hillsboro jumped out to a 4-0 and never looked back.

Coach Tim Hein described the early-season offensive eruption as a product of ?great at-bats and timely hitting.?

?We?ve worked ourselves into good counts and that makes a big difference,? he said.

Aaron Stepanek led off with a four-pitch walk and scored on a triple by Daniel Jost. Herington?s starting pitcher nearly recovered by inducing pop-up and a strikeout, but walked Alfonse Klenda and JD Tippin to load the bases.

A three-run double gave Jost all the cushion he needed, but the Post 366 offense tacked on five more in the second to break the game open.

Jost went five innings, allowing five hits and two runs. He walked three and struck out four.

In the second game, Hillsboro grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top half of the first. Jost reached on a 3-base throwing error and Travis Reisen was hit by the next pitch.

Reisen stole second and scored when Tyler Ediger mashed the 2-2 offering into right field.

Two outs later, Stepanek took the hill. He allowed two runs on three hits in the first frame but settled in to strike out the side in both the second and third.

Post 366 went in order in the second, but pounded out five runs to break the game open in the third.

Gavin Serene cued up the hit parade and scored in front of the top of the order. Stepanek, Jost and Riesen loaded the bases ahead of Klenda, who walked to push across the inning?s second run.

Two batters later, Liles provided the big hit of the inning when he drilled a 3-1 pitch to the left-center fence for a 3-run triple.

Working with a 7-2 lead Stepanek faced four batters in the fourth and four in the fifth. Over five innings, he struck out nine, walked five and allowed four hits.

The remainder of game was called off on account of an approaching thunderstorm storm.

Abilene?In Tuesday?s home opener, Hillsboro hurler Travis Riesen kicked off the summer season allowing two unearned runs over the course of a complete game effort.

Unfortunately for Riesen and the Post 366 squad, the offense did not heat up until the first inning of a 15-1 rout in the second game. Abilene picked up a 2-1 win in the first game.

?It was a classic pitcher?s duel,? coach Tim Hein said. ?We just did not get the timely hits we needed to pull it out.?

Post 366 took a 1-0 lead when Aaron Stepanek singled, stole second and scored on a single by Daniel Jost.

Jost advanced to third but was stranded there by two groundouts and a foul ball snared by Abilene?s catcher.

Abilene bounced back with two runs to take a 2-1 lead, and the visiting starter allowed only two baserunners the rest of the way, stricking out seven and facing the minimum for five straight innings.

It also spoiled Reisen?s first gem of the summer.

Post 366 nearly tied it in the bottom of the third, when JD Tippin drew a walk and moved to third on an error. Stepanek lofted a fly into left field with Tippin tagging to score the tying run. But Tippin was called out for leaving early and the score remained 2-1.

Reisen gave up three hits to go with three walks while stricking out four.

Post 366 took a measure of vengeance in the bottom of the first inning of the second game.

Abilene trailed 8-0 before recording the the first out.

Having set down the Abilene batters in order in the top of the first, Dustin Strunk took the ball in the top of the second with a 10-0 lead and did not allow a hit until the top there were two outs in the top of the fifth.

Strunk allowed one unearned run on one hit to go with six walks and four strikeouts to record the win.

With four different starters allowing two or fewer runs in each of the first four games, Hein expressed cautious optimism about the quality of his pitching staff.

?We?ve walked more guys than I?d like, but when you strike out as many as we have been, you can get away with it,? he said.

Coming?Legion Post 366 plays Lyons at 6 p.m. on Thursday in Hillsboro. The team played Peabody in Hillsboro on Tuesday night, but results were not available at press time.

Post 366 also plays home games on June 12 against Moundridge, June 26 against Herington and against Hesston on July 2.

The June road schedule is as follows: 14th at Abilene, June 19th at Chase County, 21st at Peabody and June 28th at Moundridge.


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