Hillsboro advances to second round at Marion’s 3A regional

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An errant throw gets away from Zan Fine as Jacob Fish dives into third base in the fourth inning of Hillsboro?s 6-4 win in the first round of regional play Monday. Fish scored one of two Trojan runs in the half-inning as Hillsboro rallied from a 3-1 deficit to extend its season into Tuesday. Andrew Ottoson

The Hillsboro High School baseball team advanced to the second day of regional play by defeating host Marion 6-4 late on Monday.

The contest started late on account of the preceeding Lyons-SE of Saline game, but the Warriors got started early.

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Hillsboro catcher Aaron Bina and Marion senior Calvin Jeffrey wait on the call following a collision at the plate in the first inning of Monday?s 3A regional in Marion. Wil Case (right) signals safe from the on deck circle, but the umpire called Jeffrey out when Bina produced the ball. Andrew Ottoson

Calvin Jeffrey singled and Zan Fine hammered a double into right-center. Jeffrey had to wait halfway to second to be certain that the ball would drop, and by the time he roared around third, a deftly executed relay throw was on its way to the plate.

Jeffrey arrived with the ball, but could not find a way around Aaron Bina, who held his ground and the ball in making the tag to maintain a scoreless tie.

Hillsboro struck first in the second inning.

After Brian Fruechting set down the first three batters in order in the bottom of the first, Hillsboro turned a Tyler Ediger leadoff walk into a 1-0 lead on a 1-out double to deep right field by Mitchell Koop.

Koop lofted his run-scoring line drive just over Wil Case?s outstretched glove, but Case snared another humpbacked liner off the bat of Jacob Fish to take the air out of a potential big inning.

Fruechting recorded his second strikeout to end the inning, and shrugged off a single by Jacob Edwards and a walk by Daniel Jost in the top of the fourth.

In the bottom half, Marion broke through for three runs against Isaac Leihy.

The veteran southpaw got into trouble with a lead walk issued to Adam Maag, who scored when Jeffrey ripped a 2-out single off of Jacob Fish?s glove into short left field.

Jeffrey and Marshall Ragland both then scored on a single by Fruechting.

In the bottom of the third, Jeffrey inadvertantly kickstarted the Hillsboro offense when he called Fine off only to have a strong west wind take the ball away from him. Hillsboro jumped on the 1-out error to tie the score on a series of fielding breakdowns.

But Fruechting stopped the bleeding, stranding Edwards at second base by working Jost into a 6-3 groundout.

Leihy struck out the Warriors side in the top of the fifth, and Hillsboro blew it open with three more in the bottom half.

Leihy doubled leading off the frame and scored on a single by Koop. Then Fish smacked a 3-1 pitch into the outfield to score Aaron Bina.

With Koop at third and one out in the books, Chris Couts executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to make it 6-3.

Marion got one back in the sixth, when Jeffrey bashed a triple and scored on a single by Case. One batter later, Ediger knocked down a hot shot at first base, pounced on the loose ball, picked himself up and beat Fruechting to the bag to shut down the inning.

Coming?Monday?s win earned the Trojans a crack at third-seeded Halstead at 4:30 Tuesday in Marion. A win over the Dragons would put Hillsboro in the regional championship game against the winner of Lyons-SE of Saline. The championship was set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in Marion.

 

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