Hillsboro Senior Babe Ruth team is a more relaxed, easygoing version of its high school counterpart.
Head Coach Justin Moore said the team can be too loose at times and the second-year coach will have to goad his players to prepare for the game.
“They come out and have fun,” Moore said.
The team is 9-2 on the season and played Marion on Tuesday and Chapman on Thursday both in Hillsboro.
Hillsboro employs a balanced lineup of hitters. HHS graduate Tyler Ediger and senior Ben Gardner supply the power for the team in the three and four holes in the lineup. Gardner hit a home run Thursday against Salina.
“There are tough outs all the way through the lineup,” Moore said. “We don’t strike out very much.”
Moore said leadoff hitter and HHS graduate Jacob Fish hits well into the gaps and Derek Kelsey and Devin Funk are every-at-bat battlers who scratch out hits.
Many of the Trojan high school players have maintained their heat at the plate from the end of the spring season. Conversely, it has taken the players from other schools, and players who didn’t play baseball during the spring, longer to hit.
Adam Matz, from Centre High School, has started to come on; he had a hit and run in the second game against Abilene. Matt Biehler, of Herington, also had two hits in the same game, with two runs and one RBI.
Cole Svoboda and Rustyn Kerbs form the rest of a unit from Centre, Matt Hiebert is from Peabody, and Chris Couts and Dylan Lyles are Hillsboro players who didn’t see time with the high school team this past spring.
The hitting stars for Hillsboro also grace the mound. Ediger and Fish both pitch. Hiebert and Matz round out the starting rotation. Luke Moore, Justin’s younger brother pitches in relief in front of closer Gardner.
Gardner has been especially tough on opposing clubs.
“He has a good fastball and a really good curve,” Justin Moore said. “He kind of has that bulldog mentality. It’s tough for teams to scratch out a run against him.”
Fielding has been a little bit of an adjustment for the summer team.
Ediger is Hillsboro’s main shortstop, where he played much of the second half of the high school baseball season, but when he is on the mound Fish and Matz have filled in for him.
Players currently performing in leagues in Wichita and El Dorado played other important up-the-middle positions: catcher and centerfield. Jacob Edwards spent the most of his time, when he wasn’t on the mound, patrolling center field; he’s playing summer ball with a team in Wichita. The Trojan catcher for nearly every high school game was Aaron Bina, who is playing in El Dorado this summer.
Justin Moore has used Fish and Luke Moore in center field, and has used Luke Moore as his primary catcher, but Ediger has also spent time behind the plate.
Ediger can also play first base and outfield.
“He’s a real athletic kid,” the coach said of Ediger. “At shortstop he might not get to every ball, but when he does he makes plays.”
Hillsboro split at Salina on Thursday. They lost the first game, 8-5, but won the second game, 12-3.
Hillsboro defeated Chase County in both of their games June 15 in Hillsboro. The team won the first game 16-1 in three innings and the second game 16-10.