The Hillsboro Hawks had lost eight straight games to start the month of April, including a double-header sweep at the hands of Northwest Cedar Hill last Saturday, but the Varsity Baseball squad has rebounded with some flair this week. Taking on Fox, Cape Central and Perryville, they have won their last four contests. Impressively, all four wins came on the road, and they will now look to build on this streak at home next week.
The first game against Fox on Monday was a tight one, but sometimes you have to scratch out a win to get back on your feet. The Hawks struck first in this one with an RBI single by Keynen Drury, but the Warriors responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the opening frame. Hillsboro answered right back in the the top of the second with a run generated off of a HBP and a pair of wild pitches, but Fox tied it up at two in their half of the second.
Then in the fourth inning Jaxin Patterson manufactured a run all by himself with a single and a stolen base to get into scoring position. Fortunately, the throw to second got away and he was able to scamper to third before eventually racing home from the hot corner on a groundball FC. That would hold up as the winning run and the Hawks were finally able to put a W on the board for the first time this month.
There wasn’t much to write home about offensively, as the Hillsboro had just the two hits, but the pitching was fantastic. Zach Reynolds got the start, allowing just one earned run on four hits and a walk over his three innings, and gave way to Elliot Puhse, who sparkled in relief. He went four innings to close out the game without allowing a run or a hit. His only blemish was a pair of walks during his clean sheet.
The next game on Wednesday couldn’t have been more different, as the offense for the Hawks finally woke up. They trailed 2-0 early against Cape Central, but found their stride in the second with their first crooked number on the scoreboard in a long time. Singles and RBI groundouts were the story early on, as Hillsboro generated the first four runs Whitey Ball style, and found themselves up 4-2 after four innings.
Then came the fifth, where the Hawks exploded for seven runs. The flurry of offense once again wasn’t a power display as it came mostly on singles and taking advantage of Cape errors in the field, but Hillsboro saw a chink in the armor and exploited it to its full potential. They tacked on an insurance run in the final inning and kept Central off the board enough to secure the 12-6 victory.
Andrew Brody was the hit leader in this one, racking up three in his four at-bats and he had a pair of RBI to boot. Joining the hit parade were Dominic Sutton, Jaxon Day and Andrew Chaves, who all had two apiece. On the pitching side of things, Peyton Willeford notched a quality start, going six innings while allowing three earned runs on six hits and three walks. Canyon Stout came on in relief to close out the game and twos were wild in his one-inning effort (2 H, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 R, 2 ER).
The final games of the month came on Thursday against Perryville, and the Hawks had to work hard to pull off the double-header sweep. The DH matinee started off with Perryville jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but Hillsboro responded with a run in each of the first three innings to slowly build to a 3-1 lead. The Pirates scratched out a run in the sixth to eke within one, but the Hawks held on for the 3-2 win.
Patterson, Kyle Turman and Kobe Stacy drove in the three runs for Hillsboro, but the story was on the mound in this one. Turman got the start and went 5.1 innings of two-run ball (one earned) on five hits and three walks with a pair of Ks. Reynolds came on in relief to get the save, firing 1.2 scoreless with three punchouts against just one walk.
The second game of the double header was a much less tense affair, as the Hawks blew this one open early. They put up three in the first, highlighted by a Patterson two-run homer, before blowing the doors off in the second with five more runs. Two singles, two doubles and a pair of walks did the damage in the frame and saw the Hawks jump out to an 8-0 lead.
Perryville got on the board in the bottom of the second with a run, but the Hawks tacked on another in the third and held on the rest of the way to take the 9-2 victory for their fourth straight win. Patterson and Brody were the big run producers in this one with three RBI apiece and Sutton had a big game as well, going 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two runs batted in. Gavin Hite got the start in this one and cruised through six innings, scattering two hits and a walk and allowing just one run to lock down the “W”.
The Hawks are playing their best baseball of the season at just the right time with the District Tournament only a couple weeks away. They’ll look to build on this recent success and gain an even bigger head of steam as they roll into the most crucial part of the season.