The Hillsboro Hawks have appeared to hit their stride this season and are playing top-notch baseball. They had three games this week and excelled in all of them. A clutch 4-2 win on Wednesday over the Cape Central Tigers set the stage for a dominant showing against the Perryville Pirates over the weekend.
The Hawks won a tight one at home on Friday, foiling a Perryville comeback, and holding on to win 8-7 before absolutely blasting the Pirates the next day with an 18-3 victory in the second half of a home-and-home series. The three wins moved them to 14-4 on the season and has the team firing on all cylinders.
The game against Cape Central started off well for Hillsboro, with them taking a 2-0 lead in the second inning after a Keynen Drury triple and at Canyon Stout RBI single got them on the board. It wouldn’t be an easy road to victory though, as the Tigers scratched out runs in the fourth and fifth innings to tie the game at 2-2.
The Hawks would rally though and used a Dominic Sutton RBI single to left in the sixth to take the lead. Then Jaxin Patterson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Hillsboro found themselves with a 4-2 lead. They would hold onto that lead, as the bullpen did its job, and Nathan Beck emerged with the win despite throwing just 2/3 of an inning. Gavin Hite slammed the door in the seventh with a scoreless inning and earned the save.
Drury and Cohen Linderer each had two hits in the game and the Hawks were patient as a team, working six walks. They also used the running game to their advantage and stole five bases, led by Stout who swiped two.
That win shuttled positive momentum into the Perryville game on Friday and Hillsboro started off hot once again. They plated a run in the first and another in the third to go up 2-0. The Pirates responded with two in the top of the fourth, but the Hawks came right back with three of their own in the bottom of the frame.
Kobe Stacy smoked an RBI single into center to retake the lead 3-2, and then Sutton ripped a double into right to score two more. That made the lead 5-2 and the Hawks were siting pretty. More is better though right? So they added three more in the next inning as well. With the bases loaded, Stacy barreled up and cranked a double to center that brought in two before Linderer singled in another for an 8-2 lead.
The Pirates rallied with four runs in the sixth and another in the seventh to make it 8-7, but the bullpen was able to stop the bleeding and Hite closed out the final frame for the 8-7 win.
Sutton had a huge day with three RBI and four steals, while Linderer had a pair of hits, two runs scored and two swipes. Dane Dickemann got the win with two innings of relief despite allowing three earned runs.
That set up the rematch in Perryville the next day, and the Hawks weren’t messing around in this one. A three-run homer by Hite to dead center got things started for Hillsboro and was the beginning of a banner day for the dual threat.
The Pirates answered with a run in the bottom of the inning, but Zach Reynolds brought in a run with a single to center before Hite struck again with a sac fly to increase the lead to 5-1. RBI doubles by Reynolds and Linderer would follow in the next couple of innings and the Hawks suddenly held a commanding 9-2 lead.
Then in the sixth with the bases loaded, in stepped Hite once again, and he didn’t miss. He ripped a double to right to clear all the ducks on the pond and boost the score to 12-3. Things only got worse for Perryville after that as Hillsboro tacked on six more in the seventh, highlighted by a three-run jack from Sutton, who clobbered a ball to left. The Hawks cruised to an easy 18-3 victory.
Sutton was a beast in this one on both sides of the ball with his three-run shot and well deserved win with 5.2 innings on the mound. He allowed just two earned runs and struck out 10 Pirates. As for Hite, he was other-worldly, driving in seven with a double, a homer and a sac fly. Reynolds, Drury, Linderer, Patterson and Gunner Sutton all had two hits, while Stacy went 3-for-4 as the hit-leader.
The Hawks are soaring at the moment and will look to keep the line moving on Monday when they take on the Webster Groves Statesmen in Webster at 4:30 pm.