The Hillsboro Hawks Varsity Baseball team recorded their first win of the season on Tuesday April 6th at Potosi by a score of 12-1.
The Hawks showed up right out of the gate, manufacturing runs and capitalizing on the Trojans’ mistakes. Center Fielder Zach Whaley led off with a walk, then took second and third on wild pitches. Right fielder Gabe King then reached base the same way. Shortstop Noah Shuman hit a deep sac fly to left field to score Whaley, and the Hawks were on the board. King reached second on an error, then took third and home on wild pitches. Connor Jenkins followed suit, getting a free pass to first base and taking second on a wild pitch. He would then go on to score on an error. Hillsboro went through the entire order in the first inning, ending the inning up 3-0.
Potosi’s leadoff hitter began the bottom of the first with a deep triple to dead center and scored on a wild pitch, but Hillsboro starter Junior Arnold made sure that was the only run of the game, only allowing four total hits and striking out nine in his six innings. Andrew Brody was brought in to close out the seventh where he struck out two.
Head Coach Kevin Lucas commented on the big first inning, saying, “Their starting pitcher had some trouble and we were able to score three runs in the first. I think that allowed us to relax a little and Junior Arnold went out and pitched a great game.”
Whaley led off the second with another walk and immediately stole second base. After tagging up on another Shuman deep fly ball, he went on to score on an error. King evidently decided that was a good plan, because he also stole second after a walk. He wouldn’t get a chance to score before the inning was over though, leaving the score at 4-1.
Second baseman Bailey Heidbreder started of the third with a single roped up the middle, and after stealing second base, was driven in by Whaley to up the score to 5-1.
The fourth inning contained more of the same for both teams, with Jenkins legging out an infield single. First baseman Austin Romaine moved him over to second with a walk before catcher Tyler Watson hit a ball up the middle. The Trojan infielder then booted the ball, which loaded the bases. Left fielder Andrew Chaves roped a ball to deep right field that cleared the bases and put three more runs on the board. The Hawks were suddenly up 8-1.
After a quiet fifth and sixth innings, the Hawks’ bats came alive again, sparked by a leadoff walk from Arnold who turned around and stole second as soon as he could. King stroked a ball to the right field gap to score Arnold and then reached second on a wild pitch. Shuman, who had been tagging the ball all day, finally had one fall in deep left field for a double to score King. Shuman went on to take third on a passed ball. Then Jenkins reached base on a walk and moved to second when Romaine tagged a single into right field to score Shuman. Jenkins took third on another passed ball, and scored the final run of the game when Chaves struck a single up the middle to cement the final score at 12-1.
When asked what changed this game, Jenkins, who scored three runs for the Hawks, had this to say, “I think as a team we have been swinging the bats really well in every game, but were struggling to throw strikes, and it was making really hard to close out games even when we were putting up as many as eight runs. [Against] Potosi, we threw strikes, came out with a ton of energy and took that momentum into our at bats.”
“As a team, we did all the little things,” said Shuman, “[We] started having good team at bats. Everyone knew their roll and we all just wanted to get the win. We had great pitching and our defense made the plays in the field. We started just trying to win each inning.”
“That fourth inning kinda broke it open for us,” said Lucas. “I thought we did a lot of good things and I hope we can build off this since we start our conference games Thursday and Friday.”
Hillsboro has an off day on Wednesday, but plays De Soto at home on Thursday April 8th and then travels to De Soto the next day on Friday.