The Hillsboro baseball team came agonizingly close to its first doubleheader sweep of the season?only to lose the nightcap on a walk-off walk.
After cruising to a 10-0 win in Game 1 behind the pitching of Austin Cross, the Trojans lost an 11-10 heartbreaker in the nightcap.
The Trojans (2-14) got off to a good start in the second game, building a 3-0 lead through 11?2 innings. But with two outs in the bottom of the second, starting pitcher Jakob Hanschu was ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
Micah Allen came in from the outfield for a rare relief appearance. Haven eventually scored four runs?all charged to Han?schu.
Meanwhile, Hillsboro erupted for a seven-run third inning to lead 10-4. Allen and Caleb Bettles each contributed two-RBI hits and David Dick drove in one run. Hillsboro banged out seven hits in the inning.
With the score 10-5, Haven tied the game with five runs in the bottom of the fifth on five hits, a hit batter and a Trojan error.
Neither team scored again until the Wildcats pushed across the winning run in the seventh against a tiring Allen, who threw 51?3 innings in relief due to a shortage of rested pitchers.
?Micah did a really good job considering he hasn?t pitched more than an inning or so this year?or ever,? coach Doug Dick said. ?His pitching is hit-able. We have to play good defense behind him and we made just a couple of errors.?
Dick was disappointed about falling short of the sweep.
?Every?body?s value to the game is so important that we can?t afford to have anybody not in the game?especially my upperclassmen,? Dick said.
In the opener, Cross got more than enough run support when Hillsboro exploded for six runs in the second inning. Braden Vogt?s two-run single was the big hit with Ryan Stepanek, Kaden Kleiner and Allen also contributing hits.
While Cross (2-2) finished the six-inning run-rule game with 11 strikeouts, he also walked eight batters, including the first four he faced. The junior right-hander then struck out eight of the next 11 batters.
?Cross pitched well, we played good defense behind him and we actually had some offense,? Dick said. ?It was a well-rounded victory with a lot of guys participating in it.?
For the game, Allen, Han?schu and Kleiner each contributed two hits to Hills??boro?s seven-hit total.
Nickerson?Errors and mental mistakes undermined one of the Hillsboro?s more productive doubleheaders of the season.
The Trojans punched out 13 hits in a 13-9 loss in Game and added eight more in a 13-5 loss in Game 2.
In the opener, starter Braden Vogt got off to a solid start, pitching the Trojans to a 2-0 lead through three innings.
The game unraveled for Hillsboro in the fourth inning. With two outs, the bases loaded and one run in, a dropped fly ball in right field opened the door for two more errors and a 10-run inning for the visitors.
To their credit, the Trojans bounced back with four runs in the fourth and three more in the sixth to make a game of it.
Ryan Stepanek relieved Vogt in the sixth and surrendered three more Panther runs. Of the 10 runs charged to Vogt (0-4), only one was earned.
Jakob Hanschu led the Trojans? attack, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and three driven in. Kaden Kleiner and Tyson Reimer each added two hits.
Kleiner (0-3) took the mound in Game 2, surrendering six runs over five innings, but only two earned runs. Mean?while, the Trojans couldn?t get their timing down against Nickerson?s slow-speed pitcher and managed only one base hit and one run over the same span.
The game turned in the sixth inning against reliever Stepanek, who surrendered five runs on two hits, four walks and an error before he was relieved by Micah Allen.
The Panthers led 13-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Hillsboro rallied for three runs when David Dick was hit by a pitch with one out, Hanschu doubled him home and then scored on a single by Austin Cross. Cross scored on an error.
?In the second game we were struggling against a pitcher who wasn?t throwing well?mentally, we went flat,? coach Doug Dick said. ?We can?t have that.
?I think we?re a lot better (now than when started the season), but we took a step backward (against Nicker?son),? he added. ?From here on out we have to show our best effort before regionals.?
Coming?The Trojans were schedule to play at Lyons on Monday, then will travel to Halstead for a doubleheader May 12.