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Tigers claim first conference baseball title since 1986
hillsboro bb bach
Hillsboro's Dane Bach had three hits and a pair of stolen bases in Monday's win 145 over Westfield.

ELROY — For the first time in 30 years Hillsboro can claim a conference championship in baseball.
Coach Ryan Budnik’s Tigers earned a share of this year’s SBC title with a 10–3 victory at Royall last Thursday afternoon.

Senior Ethan Thorson picked up the win, allowing just two hits in four innings of work. Classmate Tyler Crandall pitched the final three innings to earn the save and also contributed to the title-clinching win with a 3-for-5 day at the plate.

Hillsboro’s win forced a three-way tie for the conference title with Brookwood (14–4, 11–3) and Bangor (11–9, 11–3).
The Tigers had an opportunity to clinch the outright title on May 12, but left the door open for a split crown with a 17–13 loss at Brookwood.

Nonetheless, Budnik and company are thrilled to end Hillsboro’s 30-year conference title drought in the sport.
“Winning the conference title was one of the goals we set coming into the season,” said Hillsboro head coach Ryan Budnik. “We are a little disappointed in the fact that we had opportunities to win it outright, but were unable to get it done. Still, we are very happy to be able to bring a title back, even if its shared, to Hillsboro for the first time in 30 years.”

Hillsboro blew the game open with a six runs in the top of the third inning.

Saturday afternoon, the Tigers split a pair of games at the Richland Center Tournament.

Hillsboro scored five runs in the top of the sixth to rally from a 5–2 deficit to score a 9–5 victory over the host Hornets in the opener.

Thorson picked up the win, allowing one unearned run on four hits in four innings of relief.

The Tigers made a similar rally in the championship game, but ultimately came up short in a 7–5 loss to Wisconsin Heights. The Vanguards scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 6–1 lead, then held on despite Hillsboro’s four-run sixth inning rally.

Senior Max Stockwell’s RBI double made it 2–0. Tommy Crandall followed with an RBI single to plate Stockwell.
Hunter Stanek then singled to left field to make it 4–0. Stanek added a two-run single in the sixth and finished with three RBIs in the game.

After a fly out, Dane Bach doubled to center to drive in a pair of runs, and Matt Stekel capped the rally with an RBI ground out to second base to make it 7–0.

The Tigers closed out the regular season Monday afternoon with a 14–5 non-conference victory at Westfield.
Thorson (5–1) picked up his team-high fifth win of the season, going the distance, allowing five runs on 12 hits. He stuck out five and walked one.

Tommy Crandall went 3-for-3 with a pair of walks, three RBIs, five runs scored and two stolen bases. The Tigers had six steals in the win. Stanek went 2-for-3 and drove in a season-high five runs. Dane Bach had three hits an a pair of stolen bases.

Hillsboro finished the regular season 15–7 overall.

“Overall I’m pleased with the way our season as a whole,” said Budnik. “Other than the opener against Necedah and the Riverdale game, we were in and had opportunities  to win every game. We bounced back nicely from losses and battled back and won some games I thought were lost. Though we had quite a few of them rained out I was extremely happy to be able to get to play some JV games this year as well. The younger kids were able to get some meaningful innings in real game situations and that will payoff for us in the future."

Hillsboro earned the top seed in its six-team WIAA Division 4 regional and will have a first-round bye when the playoffs begin today. The Tigers will host the winner of fourth-seeded Wonewoc–Center (6–12) and fifth-seeded New Libson (5–14) Tuesday at 5 p.m. in a D4 regional semifinal.

Hillsboro swept both the Wolves and Rockets during the season. With a win Tuesday, the Tigers would host the regional championship game Wednesday afternoon.

“I feel good about where we are right now,” added Budnik. “I purposely scheduled some tough games this year to prepare us for a playoff run. As well as we have played I don’t think we have played our best ball yet. I’m hopeful that we can get hot here going into the playoffs and ride that momentum into the next few weeks.”

Hillsboro 10, Royall 3
(from Thursday, May 19 @ Elroy)
Hillsboro   106    002    1    –10 16  2
Royall        000    030    0    –  3   6  4
Leading hitters — H: Tyler Crandall 3x5, Max Stockwell 3x4, Tommy Crandall 3x5, Hunter Stanek 2x3, Ethan Thorson 2x4; R: Josh Kolo 3x3 2B – H: Stockwell, Saywer Hynek, Dane Bach; R: Kolo. 3B – H: Tyler Crandall.  
W – Ethan Thorson (3–1, 4IP, 2H, 0R, 3K, 3BB). L – Jayden Enzen (3IP, 8H, 7R, 6ER, 3K, 2BB). SV – Tyler Crandall (1, 3IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 4K, 3BB).

Richland Center Tournament
Hillsboro 9, Richland Center 5
(from Saturday, May 21 @ Rich. Center)
Hillsboro        020    015    1    –  9 14  5
Rich. Center   112    100    0    –  5   8  3
Leading hitters — H: Tyler Crandall 2x5, Dane Bach 3x4, James Anderson 3x4; RC: Devon Schmitz 2x4, Ryan Peterson 2x3. 2B – H: Max Stockwell; RC: Aaron Sanders. 3B – H: Hunter Stanek
W – Ethan Thorson (4–1, 4IP, 4H, 4R, 2ER, 4K, 1BB). L – Ryan Peterson (6.1IP, 13H, 9H, 6ER, 4K, 4BB).

Richland Center Tournament
Wonewoc–Center 7, Hillsboro 5
(from Saturday, May 21 @ Rich. Center)
Hillsboro                010    004    0    –  5 11  2
Wonewoc–Center   020    041    x    –  7 10  3
Leading hitters — H: Max Stockwell 2x4, Ethan Thorson 3x4, Saywer Hynek 3x4; WC: Geisheit 2x3. 2B – H: Thorson; WC: Flamme, Cribbs.
W – Tyler Crandall (4–3, 6IP, 10H, 7R, 6ER, 4K, 1BB). L – Duhr (5.2IP, 8H, 5ER, 1K, 0BB).

Hillsboro 14, Westfield 5
(from Monday, May 23 @ Westfield)
Hillsboro     302    201    6    –14 15  0
Westfield     101    003    x    –  5 12  1
Leading hitters — H: Tyler Crandall 2x3, Max Stockwell 2x5, Tommy Crandall 3x3, Hunter Stanek 2x3, Dane Bach 3x4; W: Johnston 3x4, Roberts 2x4, Terleck 2x3. 2B – H: Tyler Crandall, Tommy Crandall 2, Nick Stekel; W: Holly, Thompson, Johnston.
W – Ethan Thorson (5–1, 7IP, 12H, 5R, 5ER, 5K, 1BB). L – Roberts (4IP, 8H, 7R, 7ER, 2K, 3BB).