Battling a cold, blustery north wind may have been the toughest battle for the Hillsboro baseball team Friday at Hoisington.
On the field, the Trojans defeated the Cardinals with a 15-2 blowout to improve to 3-4 for the season and in Central Kansas League play.
However, Mother Nature prevailed in Game 2 when the two teams agreed to give in to the nearly unplayable weather conditions.
Hillsboro scored three runs in each of the first four innings to take command. The Trojans knocked out eight hits and drew two walks over that stretch.
Brooks Gardner provided the fireworks by hitting an RBI doubles in the first and second innings. He added a third double in the fifth.
In addition to Gardner (2 runs scored, 2 RBIs), three Trojans collected three hits in the contest: Kaden Kleiner (three runs scored, one RBI), Jacob Funk (one run scored, three RBIs) and Chance Elliott (2 runs scored, two RBIs).
Jorge Hanschu (1-0) pitched five innings to earning the pitching win. He surrendered six hits and two earned runs, while striking out six Cardinals and walking five.
Funk pitched a scoreless final inning in the sixth.
Pitcher Avery Brewer took the loss for Hoisington. He surrendered 10 runs on 12 hits over four innings, striking out three.
“It was great to see the guys respond well against Hoisington and run-rule them,” coach Luke Moore said. “Jorge pitched five great innings, which was a huge confidence booster for him. He can be a great pitcher if he is consistent mechanically.
“The team collectively hit the ball well and played good defense,” Moore added. “Once again we have to stay mentally focused for the whole game or we will struggle. We should have 10-run ruled them in the fifth, but we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that were presented.
“I think, though, we’re collectively getting better and the guys are starting to see what we can be.”
HAVEN—Hillsboro recovered from a 12-1 pounding in Game 1 to claim a 11-10 victory in Game 2 against Haven in their April 10 doubleheader.
It didn’t come easily, though. The Trojans established a 10-3 lead through 3-1/2 innings, but the Wildcats refused to yield, slowly but surely shrinking the deficit to one run in the bottom of the seventh before the Trojans secured the final out.
Haven stepped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but the Trojans tied the game in the top of second inning on an RBI single by Bryant Young.
Hillsboro added three runs in the third, thanks in part to a triple by Jorge Hanschu that chased home one run, followed by a Jacob Funk that plated Hanschu.
When the Trojans scored five more runs in the fourth inning, it appeared the game was well in hand, thanks RBI hits by Brooks Gardner, Hanschu, Jack Parks, and Hunter Hein.
But Haven wasn’t done. The Wildcats scored two runs in the bottom of fourth, one in the fifth and three in the sixth to pull within 11-9 heading into the seventh. The Trojans got singles from Caleb Potucek and Brooks Gardner but failed to score.
With Potucek pitching in relief of Parks, the Wildcats drew within one run on a walk, error and a run-scoring single by Jackson States. But the next batter flied out to end the game.
Parks was awarded the pitching win. He gave up seven hits and eight runs (seven earned), while striking out six, walking two and hitting two batters. Potucek earned the save.
Hillsboro collected 12 hits in the game, led by Hanschu with three hits, four runs scored and two RBIs. Kleiner, Brooks Gardner and Hunter Hein each had two hits in the game.
Game 1 was anticlimactic by comparison.
What started as a pitching duel between Hillsboro’s Kaden Kleiner and Haven’s Jackson State turned against the Trojans in the third inning. Both Kleiner and States pitched shutout baseball through two innings.
Kleiner actually scored the first run of the game in the top of the third. He drew a walk, advanced to third on a single by Potucek, then scoring on a wild pitch.
The roof caved in during the bottom of the inning when Haven exploded for seven runs.
“Haven was a tough doubleheader,” coach Luke Moore said afterward. “To be up on one of the best pitchers in the league, and then fall apart like we did, that can’t happen.
“We bounced back well in Game 2 and were up 10-3, but we didn’t finish the job like we should have,” he added. “We let the game get close and the winning run was on second by the last out. We have to be mentally focused all the time if we want to be great.”
Coming—Hillsboro is scheduled to play at Pratt on Friday with a 4 p.m. start.