The Hillsboro baseball team overcame its own miscues to improved to 3–0 on the young season with an 8–7 Scenic Bluffs victory over visiting Cashton Monday afternoon.
The Tigers scored three runs in each of the first two innings to jump out to a commanding 6–0 lead.
Unfortunately, while the Hillsboro bats were clicking on all cylinders, the Tigers sputtered in the field.
Hillsboro (3–0, 3–0 SBC) committed five errors over the next four innings and allowed the Eagles (2–1, 2–1 SBC) to take tie the game at 7–7 in the top of the sixth inning.
But junior Tyler Crandall, who had a great game both at the plate and on the mound, came up huge in the final two innings.
Crandall doubled in the bottom of the sixth, stole third and scored the eventually game winning run on a ground out by classmate Joey Helgerson.
Crandall finished the game 3-for-3 with two doubles, two RBIs, two stolen bases, four runs scored and a walk. He also picked up the win pitching the final 12/3 innings without allowing a hit to improve to 3–0 on the season.
Senior Matt Stekel drew a lead off walk to begin the Hillsboro first inning. Starting pitcher Ethan Thorson singled.
Both scored on a Crandall double to make it 2–0.
Crandall then stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a Helgerson single.
In the bottom of the second inning, junior Sawyer Hynek singled and scored on a Matt Stekel double. Stekel scored on a
Crandall double and junior Hunter Stanek singled to plate Crandall for a 6–0 lead.
Walks and shaky defense were a bugaboo for Hillsboro all game.
Cashton got three runs back in the top of the third by putting together three singles around three Thorson walks and two hit batters.
Leading 7–3 in the fifth three more walks and two Hillsboro errors led to two more Cashton runs.
The Eagles eventually tied the game at 7–7 in the top of the sixth.
Jeffy Janzen walked. Jaden Schmitz doubled and Janzen scored on a throwing error.
After another walk, Noah Flock doubled and Schmitz scored on another Hillsboro throwing error.
Thorson started but took a no decision for Hillsboro allowing five runs on four hits and four walks in five innings of work. He struck out seven.
Helgerson lasted just 1/3 of an inning, but was victimized by a pair of Hillsboro errors. After allowing a pair of unearned runs on one hit and two walks, Helgerson gave way to Crandall.
Crandall got out of the jam and pitched a scoreless night to earn the win. He struck out two and walked two.
“This is a game we were fortunate to win,” said first-year Hillsboro head coach Ryan Budnik. “We gave them too many opportunities by issuing eight walks, hitting two more batters and committing five errors. We were also picked off of first three times. But good teams win ugly sometimes. This is the second game where we gave up a late lead only to come right back immediately after our opponent tied the game and score the winning run in our half of the inning.
“We could have lost both games. Instead of hanging our heads and giving in we found a way to get the W. It tells me a lot about what this group of kids is made of.”
Last Thursday’s SBC game with Bangor was rained out and will be made up May 21.
Hillsboro travels to Brookwood today and will host Wonewoc–Center Monday afternoon.