After sweeping through the regional tournament this past week, the Hillsboro High School baseball team ended the season with an 18-5 record.
The Trojans drew the sixth seed in the weekend’s state tournament and will play No. 3 Galena (20-3).
First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday at Manhattan’s Norvell Field.
“We’re going to have to play very, very well,” said HHS Head Coach Phil Oelke. “You don’t earn your way there because you are a weak team.”
Oelke said Tyler Ediger will likely start on the mound for the Trojans because his team is better defensively that way.
However, he did say he would do whatever it takes to win game one, including using ace Jacob Edwards who threw a complete game shutout in the regional championship game.
Norvell Field has been known for its tall grass in the infield, as most of the fields Hillsboro plays on do not have any grass on the infield.
“We can only control our side of the game,” Oelke said, “but the field will dictate what we do (offensively) as much as anything.”
A victory in round one would move the Trojans into the 12:30 p.m. Saturday semifinal game against either No. 2 Doniphan County (19-2) or No. 7 Douglass (15-6).
The championship game is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
This is the third trip to state for the Hillsboro baseball team since its inception in 1999.
Oelke has been the coach from 1999-2003 and 2006-present.
All three state trips have been on his watch.
Here is a look at how the team has fared under the nine-year coach.
1999 – Regional runner-up
2000 – Regional runner-up
2001 - Third place at state
2002 – Regional runner-up
2003 – Lost in first round at state
2004 – Did not coach
2005 – Did not coach
2006 – Lost in second round of regionals
2007 – Lost in first round of regionals
2008 – Regional runner-up
2009 – Plays Galena in first round
2009 state tournament schedule
Game 1 – 11:00 a.m., No. 1 Silver Lake (21-1) vs. No. 8 Larned (8-15).
Game 2 – 1:30 p.m., No. 4. Medicine Lodge (19-4) vs. No. 5 Richmond-Central Heights (17-4).
Game 3 – 4:00 p.m., No. 2 Doniphan County (19-2) vs. No. 7 Douglass (15-6).
Game 4 – 6:30 p.m., No. 3 Galena (20-3) vs. No. 6 Hillsboro (18-5).
Game 5 – 10:00 a.m., winner of game 1 vs. winner of game 2.
Game 6 – 12:30 p.m., winner of game 3 vs. winner of game 4.
Game 7 (third place game) – loser of game 5 vs. loser of game 6.
Game 8 (championship game) – winner of game 5 vs. winner of game 6.