Trojans finish second at regionals

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Tyler Ediger threw a complete game and slugged a home run and two doubles as Hillsboro defeated Halstead 9-3 in the semifinal round of the Class 3A regional tournament at Marion Tuesday.

In the championship game, the Trojans carried a 7-4 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning but could not hold off a rally by Sacred Heart, who went on to win 9-7.

SCORECARD

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Halstead?Taylor Glassco, Halstead?s leadoff hitter, doubled to start the game and scored on a one-out double by Ryan McKay.

Isaac Leihy turned the momentum around with a diving grab on a sinking line drive to left field.

?Defensively, we made some great plays,? coach Phil Oelke said. ?Leihy made two diving catches where he just laid out and came up with the play.?

Ediger was masterful after that, striking out four of the next eight batters and allowing only one more Dragon to reach base in the first three innings.

The Trojan offense took it from there.

?Every time they started to get a little rally, we?d come back to the plate and just shut them down again,? Oelke said.

Hillsboro wiped out its one-run deficit in a hurry, scoring six runs against shaky Halstead defense in the bottom of the second and three more in the third.

Mitchell Koop led off the second inning with a single, then advanced on the first of three Halstead errors as Jacob Fish reached base.

Koop moved to third as Fish was forced out at second on a grounder by Chris Couts.

Then Devin Funk lifted a two-run single down the left-field line to give Hillsboro the lead. Funk moved to second when Halstead pitcher Colin Rupp threw away a pickoff attempt, setting the table for the top of the order.

An infield single by Jacob Edwards followed by a Daniel Jost double scored Funk, and a balk brought Edwards home.

Isaac Leihy popped up to second base for the second out, bringing Ediger to the plate with a chance to help his own cause. The sophomore delivered a two-run homer to left, and Hillsboro led 6-1.

Halstead failed to record the third out twice more in the frame, and, after Ediger worked a 1-2-3 inning that included a looking strikeout of McKay, had another long inning in store.

The Trojans? third was a backbreaker. Fish reached base leading off and scored on a two-out double by Edwards.

Then Daniel Jost slammed Hillsboro?s second two-run home run of the game over the fence in left-center. The shot chased Rupp from the game in favor of Tanner Bradfield.

Halstead went with Bradfield for two more innings, giving way to Kyle Boulet for the bottom of the sixth, and the two kept the Trojans from adding more.

Not that it mattered.

Ediger allowed only two runs the rest of the way. Halstead got a solo homer from Boulet to lead off the fourth and turned an infield single into a score in the top of the seventh.

?Ediger?s only thrown middle relief for us, maybe a couple of innings here, two and two-third there,? Oelke said. ?Halstead can hit the ball well, but Tyler came out and he threw a great game.?

Sacred Heart?Jacob Edwards and Dylan Delk kept the senior-led Knights in check for three innings.

But Sacred Heart?s five-run fourth inning put the Trojans in a 9-7 hole, and stifling pitching by senior Ryan Stein limited Hillsboro to two baserunners the rest of the way.

?We made it into the finals, and I?ve been telling these guys for the past 21⁄2 weeks we could be there, if they believed me,? Oelke said. ?So I think they were just a little bit shocked when we got there.?

Hillsboro trailed 2-0 after two innings, but broke through with one out in the third.

Edwards started the rally with his second single of the game, and sophomore Jordan Toogood came on in relief.

He did not fare well against the Trojans, who seized the lead, 3-2, on singles by Tyler Ediger, Aaron Bina and Mitchell Koop.

Sacred Heart reclaimed the lead, 4-3 in the bottom half. But Oelke?s boys picked up right where they left off in the top of the fourth and regained the lead.

Devin Funk drew a lead walk, advanced on a single by Daniel Jost and scored on a single by Isaac Leihy. Ediger drove in Jost with an opposite-field single and Bina plated Leihy with a chopper to the right side.

Ediger scored on a grounder to short, and Hillsboro led 7-4.

The lead was short-lived, as Sacred Heart rallied for five in the fourth.

?Before the game I told them we have nothing to lose here,? Oelke said.

The sour outcome took nothing away from an unexpectedly sweet season.

?We were a senior, two juniors, freshman-sophomore team in the finals against a team that had six or seven seniors,? coach Phil Oelke said. ?To be up 7-4 going into the bottom of the fourth and still lose only 9-7 despite our pitching woes, I feel really good about that.?

Hillsboro finished with an 11-8 mark after the chances of having a winning record looked remote before the season began.

?We had a great year considering the preseason expectations,? Oelke said.

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