Hillsboro, Marion split 2 games

Austin Cross fires a pitch during the fifth inning of Game 2 at Marion Friday as Braden Vogt covers second base and Bret Voth prepares to head for third.  Janae Rempel / Free Press

The Hillsboro and Marion baseball teams split a pair of games Friday in Marion.

Marion won Game 1 with Bret Voth on the mound, 5-2. Hillsboro won the nightcap, 3-2, with Austin Cross earning the pitching win. It was Hillsboro?s first win of the season.

In Game 1, early errors and offensive struggles plagued the Warriors, leaving Marion coach Roger Schroeder with few positive takeaways from the outing, despite the victory.

?We were pitiful tonight, offensively,? he said. ?We had one inning in the first game where we strung together some hits. Other than that it was pitiful. If we?re going to play like that offensively, we can?t afford the early miscues on defense.?

In the top of the first inning, a pair of errors led to Hillsboro scoring its first run.

The Trojans led until the bottom of the second. Hillsboro pitcher Braden Vogt got a leadoff strikeout, but then walked Trevor Kruse. Dylan Pippin drove him home with a single to tie the game; Pippin later scored on an error to give Marion a 2-1 lead through two.

The score remained that way until the fourth inning. Corbin Wheeler drew a leadoff walk from Vogt to start the inning, then Mason Pedersen was hit by a pitch. Cole Srajer reached base on a fielder?s choice, then Dakota Stimpson hit a one-out, two-run double. Bret Voth followed with an RBI single, giving Marion a 5-1 lead by the end of the frame.

Hillsboro countered in the top of the fifth. Kaden Kleiner led off with a single, and Micah Allen worked a two-out walk. Kleiner scored on a passed ball, narrowing the gap to 5-2.

Neither team manufactured any runs after that.

Hillsboro brought Jakob Hanschu in to close the game in the fifth inning. He escaped unscathed despite giving up a walk and a hit to start the inning.

In the top of the sixth, Caleb Bettles and Kleiner hit back-to-back singles, but Hillsboro stranded the two on base.

Marion stranded two base runners in the bottom of the inning, and the Warriors worked around a two-out hit by pitch in the top of the seventh to claim the win.

Bret Voth (4-0) went the distance to earn the win. He scattered three hits and two runs (one earned)?over seven innings. He walked one batter and struck out six.

Vogt (0-3)?absorbed the loss, giving up three hits and four runs (all earned) in four innings. He walked five batters and struck out three.

Hillsboro won Game 2, 3-2. The Trojans start strong. Micah Allen led off the first inning by reaching base on an error. David Dick drove him home with a single. Austin Cross then launched a one-out RBI double off Marion starter Peyton Heidebrecht to drive in Hillsboro?s second run

The Trojans tallied all six of their hits in the first three innings, stranding two on base in a scoreless second inning and plating their final run in the top of the third. In that inning, Hanschu hit a one-out double and Cross drove him home with an RBI single.

Marion got on the board with a run in the fourth inning. Trevor Kruse hit a one-out single, then Dylan Pippin drew a walk from Cross. Pedersen later hit a two-out, RBI single to put the Warriors on the board, but Marion left two runners on base.

The Warriors scored a second run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Voth hit a one-out single, then Heide?brecht and Nathan Baldwin each reached base on walks to load the bases. Voth scored on a passed ball, but two strikeouts promptly ended the inning and stranded two on base.

Neither team managed any hits or runs after that. Both Heidebrecht and Hillsboro reliever Hanschu secured 1-2-3 half innings in the sixth, and each gave up a leadoff walk in the seventh, but the score remained 3-2.

Hillsboro coach Doug Dick praised his team?s efforts, both defensively and on the mound.

?Our pitching was outstanding in both games,? he said. ?Both starters pitched well, but they both had pitch count issues that forced me to pull them out.

?Jakob relieved both games and didn?t give up any runs in either game. His relief pitching was outstanding. He?s had three good outings in a row.

Cross (1-2) earned the pitching win, scattering four hits and two runs (both earned) over five innings. He walked five batters and struck out eight.

Meanwhile, Heidebrecht absorbed the pitching loss in his first varsity start. Over six innings, he scattered six hits and three runs (two earned). He walked three batters and struck out one.

Schroeder said the end of the week left much to be desired. Epitomizing the Warriors? offensive struggles, Marion struck out 13 times in Game 2 alone, stranding the tying run on second base with two strikeouts and a groundout.

?We?re very undisciplined at times, as far as just swinging at bad pitches or not swinging at good pitches and then swinging at bad pitches,? Schroeder said. ?We?re overly aggressive when we need to be more passive and vice versa.

Hillsboro?s victory broke an 11-game losing streak.

?There was a little bit of celebration,? Dick said with a chuckle, reflecting on gaining the final out. ?A lot of guys were making comments that they never felt this good. To split a doubleheader had never been done before. At this point of the season, we knew it was a hump we had to get over.?

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