Cool, windy, wet conditions didn?t dampen the Trojan spirit as fans cheered the Hillsboro baseball team to a regional championship with a 4-0 win over Southeast of Saline Wednesday.
The Trojans will be making their third straight trip to state, thanks to strong pitching and defense. Hillsboro edged Marion, 2-1, in the semifinal game Wednesday before taking on Southeast of Saline. They now have a season record of 15-5.
?I?m proud of the guys for both gutty wins,? coach Doug Dick said. ?We played excellent defense both games.?
Southeast?The Hillsboro Trojans shut out the Trojans of Southeast of Saline, 4-0, in the championship game.
Hillsboro went right to work, scoring a run in the first inning, then scoring a run in the third, fourth and fifth innings to put them in charge of an SES team that never seriously threatened a comeback.
Luke Moore pitched all seven innings for the win, allowing only three hits. He struck out two.
In the bottom of the fourth, with runners on second and third,?Ben Gardner scrambled to third base for the double play that ended the inning and saved the shutout.
First baseman Kale Arnold got the third out for Hillsboro in the top of the sixth, snagging the throw just before the batter made it to first.
Arnold contributed a run batted in, as did teammate Jordan Faul.
?In Game 2 we played well and Gardner at third made some incredible plays that stopped rallies from SES,? coach Doug Dick said. ?We hit the ball better than in Game 1 and Moore pitched his third shutout (of the season).?
The win earns Hillsboro the regional title. They will play Silver Lake in the first round at state this Friday at Tointon Family Stadium in Manhattan.
Marion?Good luck smiled on the Trojans as they faced intra-county rival Marion in the regional semifinals.
In a tough defensive battle, each team remained scoreless through the first two innings. Marion scored a run in the top of the third, then Hillsboro scored an unearned run in the bottom of the third to make it a 1-1 tie.
Neither team scored in the next three innings.
The Trojan defense came to the rescue in the seventh to keep Marion from pulling ahead. Hillsboro?s Luke Moore caught the ball for the last out to close out the top of the seventh.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Hillsboro got consecutive singles by Jordan Gaul and Matt Martin.
Marion then took out pitcher Grif Case and put in Jacob Harper, who had been playing third base.
Harper walked leadoff batter Moore to load the bases. He then hit Derek Kelsey with a pitch, forcing in the winning run.
?Marion played very well, pitched well and gave us a game that we were fortunate to win,? said Doug Dick said. ?I felt we had an excellent chance to win the regional if we could get by Marion for the third time.?
Dick said the Trojan offense was lacking versus Marion, but they made up for it with great pitching by Dylan Delk and good defense.
?The bottom of the lineup came through big,? Dick said. ?Jordan Faul and Matt Martin were big factors in the win.?
Delk pitched all seven innings for the Trojans, allowing four hits and one run, while striking out nine.
Case pitched 62?3 innings for Marion, allowing five hits and striking out five.
Marion coach Roger Schroeder said, ?Both teams got great pitching performances, but our defense didn?t make a couple plays in some big spots and it cost us the ball game.
?We couldn?t string together any hits to make anything happen on the offensive end of things either.?
Marion had an 11-10 season.