Hillsboro High School pitcher Jacob Edwards looked like a dragon slayer Friday for most of the Trojans’ 6-4 victory over the Dragons of Halstead.
He struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced and tallied 12 strikeouts, stopping one out short of a complete game.
Ben Gardner led off the second inning with a homerun to left centerfield, clearing the 345-feet sign.
The Trojans would add two more runs in the third inning when Devin Funk scored following a bad throw to first and Aaron Bina drove in Edwards with a single to right field.
Hillsboro extended the lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning when Luke Moore scored on a passed ball.
Edwards struck out consecutive batters with runners at second and third to get out of the fifth inning without giving up a run.
Dylan Delk led off the sixth inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Derek Kelsey. Delk reached third base when Funk hit a single to centerfield, and he scored on a line drive by Jacob Fish. With two outs, Edwards drove Funk home with a single to centerfield.
The Dragons made the game interesting in the seventh inning. Edwards walked the first two batters. The bases loaded on a fielding error, but Tyler Ediger recorded an unassisted double play when Halstead player Collin Rupp hit a line drive to Ediger.
Edwards walked two more batters, sending a runner home before being relieved by Gardner. Two more Dragons scored on a fielding error, and another scored with a single to left field. Gardner ended the game by inducing a groundout by Halstead’s Matthew Stovall.
“At the beginning, I was on. They couldn’t touch me,” Edwards said. But he said fatigue became an issue in later innings, as he gave up nine walks from the fourth inning on.
Coach Doug Dick said he almost pulled Edwards before the seventh inning because he could see he was fatigued, but he gave him the chance to finish the shutout.
Funk, batting ninth in the lineup, was very effective, Dick said. Funk was 2-2 with a walk and two runs.
“Devin is a battler,” he said. “He might not get on base, but he’ll make (the pitcher) work. He’s got good quick hands at the plate.”
Dick said he plans to rest Edwards as much as he can to have him ready for state tournament in Manhattan.
HHS earned the sixth seed in the state tournament, and will play third-seeded Wellsville (19-3) in the first round. Their game will begin at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Norvell Field at Eisenhower Middle School in Manhattan.