Hillsboro settles for sixth split in regular-season finale



Hillsboro baseball coach Doug Dick needed a sweep against a struggling Smoky Valley team last Tuesday to give his Trojans a chance at the No. 5 seed at this week?s regional tournament.

Unfortunately, the lowly Vikings, who started the day with a 1-15 record, had other ideas. They pounded out 16 hits and took advantage of seven Hillsboro errors to claim an 18-10 win in the opener.

Hillsboro (8-12) did come back to claim the second game, 12-2, to register its sixth doubleheader split of the season.

?We got off to a rocky start,? coach Doug Dick said about Game 1.

Smoky Valley got to senior starter Luke Moore for five runs in the first inning and put six more on the board before the end of the second inning.

?It wasn?t one of Luke?s better outings,? Dick said. ?Some?times you have one of those days when nothing is going right.?

To their credit, the Trojans battled back with two runs in the second inning and four runs in both the third and fourth innings to pull to within 11-10.

But a walk followed by back-to-back triples and an error gave the Vikings a 14-10 lead. The Trojans managed only one more hit in the final three innings.

In Game 2, Arnold turned in another solid performance on the mound to improve his season record to 4-1. The junior right-hander overcame six hits and five walks to limit the home team to two runs in a five-inning game that ended by run rule.

Three of Arnold?s walks occurred in the bottom of the fourth, when Smoky Valley scored both of its runs.

For the game, Arnold struck out six Vikings and his teammates committed only one error behind him.

?Arnold pitched well,? Dick said. ?It seems like we play better defense when he?s on the mound. I think the other guys have confidence when he?s pitching.?

Arnold?s teammates also generated plenty of run support, starting with a six-run first inning. The Trojans combined two walks with six hits during the outburst.

Nathan Unruh stroked a two-run double and Cody Delk added a two-out, two-run triple for the biggest hits in the inning. Arnold and Micah Allen each contributed RBI singles.

A three-run third inning pushed the margin to 10-0. Derek Kelsey bought home one run with a sacrifice fly, Unruh followed with a two-run triple and then Lucas Sinclair singled to drive in Unruh.

Unruh scored four times in Game 2 and finished the day with three base hits in six official at-bats and drove in six runs. Allen was credited with five RBIs and three hits.

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