The Trojans managed only three base hits over 15 innings and were swept, 1-0, 6-0, for 4-12 record heading into regional play.
In Game 1, the Trojans pitched their ace, Austin Cross, against Halstead’s No. 2 pitcher, Daniel Fulghum, who allowed all three hits, all singles.
Meanwhile, Cross matched Fulghum every step of the way, allowing only three hits and no runs through six innings.
With Cross tiring after five innings, Dick brought in Braden Vogt in the seventh. The junior pitched a perfect first inning, including to strikeouts.
Heading into extra innings, Vogt surrendered a leadoff single followed by back-to-back walks to load the bases. After striking out the next hitter, Trevor Thomas slapped a ground ball single through the right side to chase home the game’s only run.
In Game 2, all-league pitcher Chase VanSteenburg showed why he’s Halstead’s ace, throwing a complete-game no-hitter against the Trojans.
Vogt, who started the second game for Hillsboro, allowed three runs in the bottom of the third inning, loading the bases with a hit batter, a walk and a hit batter. The big hit was a two-run double by Halstead’s Layke Heimerman.
Halstead scored a fourth run off of Vogt in the fifth inning. Kaden Kleiner took over on the mound in the sixth, but walked four of the first five batters he faced, leading to the final two runs.
“It’s hard to win ball games when you don’t score any runs,” coach Doug Dick said. “That’s the best pitching we’ve seen all year, hands down.
“We had runners on base, and a couple of times we got them in scoring position, but we just did something to mess it up. Their pitchers just didn’t allow us much.”
The Trojans have been shut out three times in their last four games, and have scored only eight runs in their last six games.
“We’re going to work a lot on offensive this week, and figure out a way to get our bats going again,” Dick said, looking ahead to the Class 3A regional at Marion.
Hillsboro, seeded sixth in the six-team field, was scheduled to take on No. 3 seed Marion (13-7) Tuesday evening. The two teams split a doubleheader earlier this season.
“I don’t mind the fact that we’re playing Marion in the first round after seeing the pitching Halstead has that they’re going to throw the first two games,” Dick said.
Even through Halstead is seeded fourth with a 9-11 record, Dick said the Dragons, with a first-round bye, will be the best team at the tournament because of their pitching.
“Offensively, they’re not exceptional,” Dick said of the Dragons. “They’ve got a couple of kids that are tough outs. After that, they’re pretty average.”
Also in the six-team field is top-seeded Remington (12-2), which has a first-round bye. Sedgwick (17-3), seeded second, has a first-round bye as well.
The winner of the Hillsboro/Marion game will play Sedgwick.