Out-of-town players add to Babe Ruth team
Most of the players of the Hillsboro High School Babe Ruth team have been playing together since the fifth grade.
But, the start of summer ball is a little bit more of an adjustment for some of the players.
Cole Svboda, Rustyn Kerbs, and Adam Matz attend Centre High School and have played with this group of Hillsboro baseball players since grade school. Because they don’t have an option to play baseball in high school, they are rusty when summer ball starts at the end of the school year.
“It’s tough to come into the season and hit as well as the other guys,” Kerbs said.
Svboda, Kerbs, and Matz have started to come around at the plate. Svboda went 3-for-4 in two games Thursday against Abilene in Hillsboro. Matz led off for Hillsboro on Thursday and went 2-for-3. Kerbs has been hot in his last two outings against Marion and Abilene. On Thursday, he went 3-for-5.
Matt Biehler, from Herington, and Matt Hiebert, from Peabody, are also without high school teams. For both players, this is the first year with the Hillsboro team. Coach Justin Moore said that they have not had a problem acclimating to new teammates.
“The kids really made them feel welcome,” Moore said. “Our group of guys is really good about including people.”
Each player brings unique skills to the diamond.
Moore said that Matz is a good hitter, and a solid fielder and pitcher. Matz pitched the first game against Abilene. He displayed a lively fastball and a good changeup. He pitched four innings, gave up two earned runs, and struck out two batters.
Kerbs’ speed is his greatest asset.
“He covers a lot of ground in the outfield,” Moore said. “He’s a threat to steal second or third base.”
Cole Svboda is the thinking man’s player.
“He’s a really good outfielder,” Moore said. “He understands where to go with the ball.”
Matt Biehler brings a competitive streak.
“He’s a really strong competitor,” Moore said. “He battles at the plate.”
Matt Hiebert is the best pitcher of the group.
“I haven’t seen better mechanics out of a pitcher,” Moore said. “His follow-through and stride are textbook.”
Hiebert pitched the second game Thursday, throwing a complete game in three innings, with three strikeouts. He surrendered two hits and did not allow a run.
“It just kind of comes natural,” Hiebert said of his pitching form. “I just try to keep batters off balance.”
The out-of-town players also bring a stark contrast of personalities to the HHS players. Moore said that the team gets its cues from Tyler Ediger and Ben Gardner.
“Ediger is the jokester of the team,” Moore said. “Gardner, he’s just loud, cheering for his teammates.”
Moore said that all of the non-Hillsboro players are quiet guys. The three Centre players are quiet and mean business when they step out onto the field. Hiebert has a quiet confidence.
“He plays with a lot of confidence,” Moore said. “Baseball is something he knows and feels comfortable with.”
The mix of contrasting personalities that work well together is one of the reasons Hillsboro, with two wins Thursday, is 13-2 on the Babe Ruth season.
“I think our mix of personalities is great,” Moore said.
Game 1: 13-9 Hillsboro over Abilene
Matz: 0-0 BB, reached on two errors, fielder’s choice, 1 R; Kerbs: 1-1 1B, RBI; Gardner: 1-2 1B, RBI; Ediger: 0-3, BB, R; Derek Kelsey: 0-2, BB, R; Devin Funk: 1-2 1B, BB, 2 R; Matt Martin: 1-2 1B, 2 R; Luke Moore: 0-2, RBI; Aaron Wintermote: 3-3, 3 RBI.
Game 2: 15-0 Hillsboro over Abilene
Matz: 2-3, 1B, 2B, R; Kerbs 2-2 2 1B, 3 R; Gardner: 1-3 1B, R; Ediger: 0-2 R; Kelsey: 3-3 2 1B, 3B, 3 R; Funk: 1-1 1B, R; Svboda: 2-3 2 1B, R; Biehler: 1-3 2B, 1 R; Martin: 0-1 2 BB; Hiebert: 0-2 R.
Last modified June 30, 2010