Legion season ends with heartbreak loss at Lyons

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Hillsboro pitcher Jake Liles (right) and Daniel Jost talk about the nice catch Jost made on a short pop-up that cut short a Lyons rally early Friday night. The catch preserved a 3-2 Hillsboro lead. Post 366 built the lead to 12-3 but fell one play short of salting away the win, losing 13-12.
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With the hope of playing for a berth in the state tournament, a shorthanded Hillsboro team traveled to Lyons for the first night of this weekend?s Babe Ruth District IV baseball tournament.

The Peabody also made the trip, and finished as tournament runner-up.

?We were missing a number of important guys coming in, but we thought that if we were still in it on Sunday, we?d have a chance,? coach Tim Hein said.

Legion Post 366 was without the services of ace pitcher Travis Riesen until Sunday, and was without three others during a 13-12 loss on Friday night.

Three more players were unavailable Saturday, leaving the team unable to field the minimum of nine.

The result was a season-ending forfeit to Peabody.

?We knew we would have a number of guys away with weddings, church camps, family vacations, that sort of thing,? Hein said. ?So when we had one guy not able to make it because of something unexpected, we were down to eight.?

Hillsboro started strong Friday, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning on the strength of a two-run double by Alex Nuss.

Then, in Lyons? half of the second, a leadoff single snowballed into two quick runs. With a runner at third and no outs, Lyons looked certain to score the tying run.

But with help from a base?running mistake, pitcher Jake Liles worked his way out of the jam, and Hillsboro carried a 3-2 lead into the third inning.

Nuss and Alfonse Klenda scored on a two-out single by Jacob Fish as Hillsboro made its lead 5-2 in the top of the third.

Liles struck out the side in the bottom of the inning to notch three of the 11 strikeouts he recorded during the game. Before the inning ended, Lyons pushed a run across for a 5-3 score.

Tyler Ediger was hit by a pitch to lead off the fourth inning. Consecutive infield hits brought Ediger around to score the first of six runs in the frame.

With Jacob Edwards on first, Aaron Stepanek doubled into the right-center gap to set the table for Daniel Jost, who swatted a two-run single down the left field line. Jost stole second with Nuss at the plate, and moved to third on a passed ball.

Nuss singled just out of reach of the diving Lyons shortstop to make the score 10-3 and chase the Lyons starting pitcher from the game.

Klenda walked, bringing Fish to the plate. Another passed ball advanced the runners to second and third with no outs.

Fish drove in Nuss with a fielder?s choice groundball, and Hillsboro led 11-3.

Hein emptied his bench in the bottom of the fourth, and Post 366 allowed only one Lyons baserunner through the sixth.

In the top of the seventh, Dustin Strunk led off with an infield single, moved to third on a single by Mitchell Koop and scored on a passed ball.

Leading 12-3, Liles struck out the first two batters of the bottom of the seventh. But Lyons then exploded for 10 runs to claim a 13-12 win.

Fielding mistakes led quickly to five unearned runs.

A walk followed by a hit batter loaded the bases and brought the tying run to the plate.

With the pressure mounting, Ediger reentered the game for Daniel Berg and Stepanek substituted to pitch. Liles moved from the mound to shortstop.

A passed ball brought in two more runs, making the score 12-10. A full-count walk put the winning run at first.

Facing the heart of the Lyons order, Ediger came on to pitch.

Adam Taylor greeted him with a single to drive in another run, making it 12-11, and set the stage for Lyons? cleanup hitter Scott Smith.

With the runners in a full sprint a split-second after the ball pinged off the bat, Smith lifted Ediger?s 1-1 offering high in the air toward shallow center field where it fell, just out of the reach of Hillsboro?s onrushing center fielder.

Taylor was so far ahead of the throw that he tagged home with the 13th run almost as an afterthought before vanishing into the whooping, hollering mob of high fives pouring out of the Lyons dugout.

?It?s a tough way to end up the season, losing how we did and then not taking advantage of the chance to play our way back into the championship game,? Hein said.

Peabody?After a loss on Friday night to Salina, Peabody was slated to play Hillsboro on Saturday.

After Hillsboro?s forfeit, the double-elimination tournament format put Peabody in a match with Lyons on Saturday night, with the winner set to advance to meet Salina on Sunday.

Behind a 5-for-6 hitting performance by Ben Eldridge, Peabody beat Lyons 18-12 to advance to the finals.

Christopher Cage went two innings as the starting pitcher, and picked up the win with solid relief from Cole Inghram and Robie Dawkins.

Cage, Dawkins and Inghram each had two singles in five plate appearances.

Cage scored three runs and Dawkins and Inghram each scored two.

Peabody was eliminated by Salina on Sunday, 10-4.

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