Playing back-to-back doubleheaders, thanks to rain delays the week before, proved to be a tall order for the Trojan baseball team and first-year coach Luke Moore.
Hillsboro opened its season at Larned on Thursday, with the Trojans claiming the season opener, 13-10, before dropping a 15-1 decision in Game 2.
Facing Hoisington the next day, pitching proved to be a challenge for the Trojans as the Cardinals claimed a 14-0, 23-5 sweep at Memorial Field.
Hoisington’s Alex Schemmer limited the Trojans to five hits in the opener.
Hillsboro starter, freshman Jaxton Tracy, pitched a scoreless first inning, but surrendered five runs in the second inning and three more runs in the third as the Cardinals took control of the contest.
Ben Koop led Hillsboro’s attack with two hits in two at-bats.
In Game 2, Hoisington set the tone with a three-run first inning off Trojan starter Jacob Funk. The Cardinals added two runs in both the second and third innings.
Hillsboro ended the shutout with two runs in bottom of the third inning. Kaden Kleiner reached on an error with one out, Braden Vogt singled and Brooks Gardner chased them both home with a double.
After four games in two days, Moore sees plenty of room for important.
“We need to continue to work on pitching and throwing strikes,” he said. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance in the last three games with our lack of throwing strikes. We are also making too many errors and definitely have them at inopportune times.
“In the Hoisington series, we really lacked the ability to get the big hit. We left a lot of runners on base. Jacob Funk has really impressed me at the plate and I threw him into the fire when he had to start the second game against Hoisington. I am very proud of his work and willingness to do what it takes to win.”
Larned—Hillsboro got off to a strong start with three runs in the first inning of Game 1, with Caleb Potucek and Ben Koop and providing run-scoring singles.
The Trojans pushed the lead to 4-0 after two innings, aided by two Indian errors, then exploded for six more runs in the top of the third for a 10-2 lead through 21⁄2 innings. An inning later, the score was 13-2.
The Indians began to get to Trojan starter Kaden Kleiner, scoring two runs in the bottom of the third, and three more in the fourth inning to cut the lead to 13-5. The Trojans surrendered three more runs in the fifth and two runs in the sixth before securing the win with a scoreless seventh.
“We had a great first game against Larned,” Moore said. “Kaden pitched a great game and Avery (Unruh) and Bryant (Young) did a great job in relief.
“Brooks game in and threw a nine-pitch seventh inning to get the save, which is exactly what we want from him,” he added. “We got complacent at the plate in the later innings and weren’t able to extend our lead.”
Leading the Trojan offense were Braden Vogt with two hits and two RBIs in three official at-bats, and a 2-for-2 game by Potucek with one RBI.
Vogt was the Game 2 starter. After a scoreless first inning, the Indians exploded for 10 runs on eight hits to take control of the game.
Meanwhile, Hillsboro managed only five hits off Larned starter Mason Schartz. Hillsboro’s lone run came in the third inning when Vogt doubled and scored on a single by Jacob Funk.
Coming—Hillsboro (1-3) was scheduled to host Haven Tuesday, then will play at Marion Thursday.