Hillsboro baseball has secured a spot in the Class 3A regional championship game at Southeast of Saline..
The only remaining questions are against whom and when.
The No. 3 seed Trojans opened postseason play with two wins Monday, beating No. 6 seed Marion 11-2 and No. 2 seed Southeast of Saline 8-2.
Against Marion, Hillsboro continued a season series pattern, scoring six runs in its first at-bat.
Answering a run scored by Marion?s Brian Fruechting in the top of the first, Jacob Fish started the multi-run inning crossing home plate courtesy of an Aaron Bina run batted in double.
Hillsboro took the lead for good when Jacob Edwards scored on a Tyler Ediger RBI single, followed by a Bina run scored on a error, a Derek Kelsey RBI single that scored Ediger, a Ben Gardner score on a fielder?s choice and a Jacob Fish RBI single that scored Dylan Delk.
?That was our plan, to basically shut Marion down,? said Game 1 starter Edwards. ?We didn?t want to mess around with them at all.?
Edwards got the nod to start game 1 on the mound from Hillsboro coach Dustin Dick, who thought Marion was potentially a tougher opponent than SES.
?You can?t underrate Marion,? he said. ?Their hitters are good hitters. They have really hit the ball against us well except against Edwards when we threw him early in the year.?
Dick continued, ?I?m not going to belittle anyone, but our league is tough.?
Hillsboro continued its scoring in the bottom of the second with Ediger driving in the first run and scoring the last in the inning to give the Trojans a 9-1 lead. Ediger?s RBI?single scored Edwards. Next Kelsey drove in Bina, and Ediger walked home with the bases loaded.
In the top of third, Marion scored a run to move within 9-2. Fruechting came home for his second run scored of the game on an Austin Pederson RBI single.
A Ediger RBI single that scored Edwards gave Hillsboro a 10-2 advantage in the bottom of the third. A Bina sacrifice that scored Fish ended the game?s scoring.
In Hillsboro?s second game of the day against Southeast of Saline in the regional semifinal, Hillsboro got seven shut out innings from Game 2 starter Dylan Delk. He pitched a complete game allowing two runs in the seventh?one was earned.
?It doesn?t matter as long as we get the win,? he said
In the fourth and fifth innings Delk saw the bases loaded but escaped both innings without allowing a run.
In the bottom of the fifth SES had the bases juiced with no outs. Delk retired the side on two straight batters.
First Delk forced Shane Schoenhofer into a pop fly to first. Then, Spencer Baird grounded into a 6-3 double play.
?Pressure really doesn?t bother me much,? said Delk. ?I don?t know if I pitch better with runners on base, knowing they can?t score. It seemed like I got a little extra speed when the bases were loaded.?
Hillsboro?s offense continued to be productive in the second game. Ediger was bright spot, driving in four runs and scoring four times.
?Today I focused on keeping my hands back and just trying to hit it up the middle one after another,? said Ediger.
Ediger could have been on his way to another run scored but was called out on a confusing play in the fifth.
?It was a grounder to third and I had to go because there was runner on first,? said Ediger. ?He (the SES fielder) tried to go inside and I tried to go inside at the same time. He was in the base path, so I just lowered my shoulder and just tried to run him over.?
Ediger continued, ?Since the rule is runner has baseline, I went for it.?
The Halstead half of the quarterfinals of regionals was not played Monday because of an unplayable field at Halstead.
The opening round game between No. 4 Council Grove and No. 5 Sedgwick was scheduled to be played Tuesday at 2 p.m. in Halstead. The subsequent semifinal matchup between the opening round winner and Halstead was scheduled for a tentative start time of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The regional championship is scheduled for Wednesday 4 p.m. at Southeast of Saline.