BASEBALL: Senior class' absence will be felt
This year was the last chance for Trojan seniors Caleb Potucek and Hunter Hein, and Peabody-Burns’ Jack Parks and Jess Philpott to win a state baseball title.
That hope was dashed last week when spring sports were suspended after Kansas Governor Laura Kelly shut down all schools.
Potucek’s stellar three-sport career came to an abrupt end in the Trojans’ thrilling first-round victory over top-seed Pratt Skyline, March 12.
The two-sport star Hein, a second-team All Class 3A selection a year ago in the outfield, played his final high school athletics game in November during Hillsboro football’s second-round loss to Pittsburg Colgan.
But baseball could have been the most special for Potucek.
Hillsboro’s game of musical chairs for baseball coaches the last three seasons started with Luke Moore in 2018, then continued last year with Peabody athletic director and former Tabor standout Tyson Kendrick.
Students play under the banner of Hillsboro baseball as part of a collective agreement between the two schools.
This year, it was Potucek and his sophomore brother, Matt’s father, Clint, who’d be leading the Trojans, with Jayson Hanschu as an assistant.
No stranger to coaching, Clint is involved during the summer with his sons’ Babe Ruth and Legion teams, guiding Hillsboro to the state tournament in 2017 in Matt’s final year of Babe Ruth.
The Trojans have been a .500 team the last two seasons, perhaps the biggest accomplishment was pushing Class 2A stalwart Marion to the limit in 2018’s regional final during Moore’s only season.
Much of Hillsboro’s reason for average seasons comes from daunting Central Kansas League competition, annually facing league foes such as Pratt, Larned, Haven, and Nickerson.
Pratt was in the state tournament in 2018, and Nickerson captured the 4A title a year ago.
With the Trojans’ seniors and an experienced underclass, 2020 could have been Hillsboro’s best team in some time.
Another year for gaining experience and a solid senior corps will be missed in 2020, but the Trojans should be set by the time 2021 rolls around.
Last modified March 26, 2020