ELROY — Junior Adam Vieth scattered seven hits over seven innings as fourth-seeded Royall defeated visiting Hillsboro 9–2 in a WIAA Division 4 regional quarterfinal last Friday afternoon.
Hillsboro (5–11) threatened to have a big inning in the top of the first inning, but Vieth escaped a bases loaded jam after allowing just one run in the inning.
Junior Brandon Stanek reached on an error, stole second, and scored on a Chucky Strait single to give the Tigers an early 1–0 lead.
Hillsboro loaded the bases when Jake Stockwell singled, and Matt Stekel reached on an infield one-out single, but stranded three runners after failing to come through with a clutch hit.
Meanwhile, the Panthers (10–10) hit the ball well early and often, and Hillsboro starter Grant Jefferies didn’t get much help from his defense.
Jefferies (2–3) surrendered three runs in the opening inning, though two were unearned.
Junior Matt Anderson’s RBI single in the top of the third inning pulled Hillsboro within a run at 3–2, but that’s as close as the Tigers would get the rest of the game.
From there, freshman Tyler Crandall pitched one strong inning of relief, but couldn’t get out of a bases loaded jam in third where the first five Panthers reached base and scored.
Royall’s five-spot in the third made it 8–2.
Freshman Max Stockwell pitched the final 2 1/3 innings for Hillsboro allowing just one run on one hit, but the Tigers never offense never scored again.
Senior Jake Stockwell went 3-for-4 in his final game for Hillsboro.
Christian Moore went 2-for-3 with a double, a triple and three runs scored to lead Royall.
Trenton Pasch went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.
Royall advanced to face SBC champion and top-seeded Cashton (14–4) in a D4 regional semifinal that was originally scheduled for Tuesday, weather permitting.
Meanwhile, Hillsboro coach Bob Bothe’s young squad finished the year 5–11 overall.
“Our youth and inexperience really showed when we couldn’t close out teams late in games,” said Bothe. “We had Brookwood (twice), Bangor, and New Lisbon down, but errors and some routine baseball plays weren’t made that cost us a few wins.
“We finished exactly where the conference coaches figured us to be, according to the pre-season poll. However, we felt as a team we could have finished as the third best team in the conference.
“If you look at the glass as being half-full, you can add the 6–0 record of the JV team (which consisted of all the underclassmen getting playing time) we combined to finish 11–11. The team gained a lot of experience in a shortened spring, which is important for future purposes.
“The team will return 100 percent of its pitching staff next year while losing senior catcher, Jake Stockwell,” added Bothe. “Jake is the prototypical captain who provided the type of leadership any coach/parent would be proud of. I know he is going to miss playing almost as much as the young guys will miss him being a teammate.”
Stockwell was the lone senior on this year’s team that included five juniors, one sophomore and seven freshmen.