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Trojans overtake Bulldogs for 3rd place in 3A baseball

Hillsboro shuts out Douglass to tie school’s highest baseball finish

Being in his first season as the Trojans’ head baseball coach, everything has been a challenge for Doug Dick.

Perhaps the most challenging thing was having to keep his team focused after a heart-wrenching 22-18 semifinal loss Saturday in the class 3A state tournament to Thomas More Prep.

Hillsboro shook off any signs of disappointment, run ruling the Cinderella-story Douglass Bulldogs in five innings for third place, 10-0.

The Trojans’ third-place finish ties the highest achievement by a Hillsboro baseball team, set nine years ago.

The Bulldogs had knocked off top-ranked Wichita Collegiate, third-ranked Medicine Lodge, and top-seeded Doniphan County to make it to the semifinals, rolling in with a 9-11 record.

“These guys are hard-headed. They knew we came to this tournament with a purpose and they bounced back pretty well,” Dick said of the Trojans’ rebounding. “I told them life is going to deal you some tough times and sports are supposed to teach you about those things and you’ve got to play through them and bounce back.

“That’s all I told them, and that’s all they needed. With the game in-between, they got their thoughts together and did the job.”

Hillsboro reached the semifinals, polishing off a young Wellsville Eagle team Friday also in five innings, 11-0.

Dylan Delk went the abridged five innings, firing a three-hit shutout in the third-place game.

Hillsboro jumped on Bulldog starter Josh Foland in the bottom half of the first with Jacob Edwards ripping a triple to left field.

Aaron Bina had four RBIs on the game, including the game-winning two-run single, going 3-for-4, putting Hillsboro in front, 1-0 with a single.

Devin Funk made it a 2-0 game in the bottom of the second with a run-scoring single before Tyler Ediger went deep with a home run in the third to give the Trojans a 3-0 lead.

Third place started slipping away on the Bulldogs in the bottom of the fourth with Derek leading off with a base hit.

Back-to-back run-scoring singles by Jacob Fish and Bina pushed the lead to 5-0 and Ediger’s two-run single capped off a four-hit four-run fourth.

Luke Moore ended the year going 2-for-3, and his second double of the game knocked out Foland, who scattered 10 hits and six earned runs in 4-1/3 innings.

“We hit the ball well,” Dick said. “Anytime you run-rule two teams in the state tournament that tells you we’re hitting the ball and these guys hit the ball. From about the first third of the season until about Hoisington, we hit the ball. The guys have batted really well.”

Hillsboro’s eighth run came courtesy of an errant throw to first by reliever Jake Lovendahl and Bina put the game on ice.

“I was just planning on going out there and keep throwing strikes,” Delk said. “I struggled getting calls the first game, but I just kept putting it there and I was hoping I’d get that call. I liked it.”

Graduation will sting the Trojans with the loss of Fish, Ediger, Edwards, and Funk, but Dick should return Delk, Bina, Ben Gardner, and Moore to keep Hillsboro strong in 2011.

“I’m glad we ended the year on a win,” Delk said. “We’ll only lose four seniors so we’ll hopefully get some more hardware next year.”

The Trojans end the season at 18-8.

Thomas More Prep-Marian

An 11-1 lead usually is more than enough to secure a win in most baseball games.

But not when the strike zone vanishes as it seemingly did in the Trojans’ disputable 22-18 loss to the Monarchs.

In what could only be described by Dick as the worst officiated game he had ever seen, the Monarchs swiping 12 runs off a trio of hits spelled the end of Hillsboro’s chances at its first state baseball title game appearance.

Monarch starting pitcher Jacob VonLintel couldn’t have had a game go any more haywire than it did on him in the first, loading the bases with no outs.

The Trojans batted around and Ediger’s two-run bases-loaded double started an eight-run first inning eruption.

Funk ripped a two-out two-run single to make it a 5-0 game and Fish’s RBI double stretched the lead to 6-0 still with two outs.

A pair of wild throws marked the end of Von Lintel, giving way to Nick Hammeke.

Before the rally was over, TMP had surrendered eight runs off five hits.

Delk started the game on the mound, and appeared to be on target, despite the Monarchs cutting the lead to 8-1 on Nathan Zimmerman’s double.

TMP spotted Hillsboro two more runs off free passes and Funk’s bloop single gave what would’ve been a commanding 11-1 lead closing out the top half of the second.

Not one of the Trojans’ three pitchers seemed to be able to find the strike zone in the Monarchs’ half of the inning and Dick used Delk, Ediger, and Gardner before the explosion was over.

The Monarchs ripped six runs off walks and the Trojans committed a pair of errors to allow TMP to take a 12-11 lead still with two outs.

Before the second inning was over with TMP in front, 13-11, the Monarchs’ rally seemed to drain the enthusiasm out of the Trojans.

Gardner knotted the game at 13-13 in the third inning with a two-run double, but anytime the Trojans rallied, TMP had an answer.

Gardner finished the game 4-for-5 with a team-high four RBIs.

TMP tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the third off one hit, finishing Gardner after hitting a Monarch.

Freshman Kale Arnold finished the game on the mound for Hillsboro, but he inherited a 17-13 deficit.

Arnold got out of the inning with the bases left loaded.

Hillsboro cut the lead to 17-15 in the fifth with another double by Gardner, and Arnold got walked to score the second run as the Trojans left the bases loaded.

The Trojans pulled to 19-18 in the sixth inning with Bina singling in the first of three runs.

The Monarchs dashed any chance of a comeback in the bottom of the sixth, getting a two-run single from Zimmerman.

Hillsboro’s last chance to advance to the championship ended on a pop fly.

TMP was eventually run ruled in the title game, 10-0, by 2009 state runner-up and 3A state champion Galena.

Last modified June 3, 2010

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