The Hillsboro baseball team closed out the Scenic Bluffs season with a sweep of visiting Royall Thursday afternoon.
The Tigers scored in five innings to take the opener by the score of 7–3, then the Crandall brothers combined to shut down the Panthers for a 5–2 win in game two.
Senior shortstop Brandon Stanek went 3-for-4 with a double and three runs scored in the opener.
He doubled to left centerfield to lead off the bottom of the first and later scored when Tommy Crandall reached on an error.
Sophomore Max Stockwell scored on Grant Jefferies' RBI single in the second to make it 2–1.
Crandall singled and score on the back end of a double steal with Chucky Strait taking second and third on the play when no one covered third base. Strait came in on a ground out to make it 4–1.
In the fourth Jefferies walked and Stanek singled and both scored on Tyler Crandall’s two-run double to make it 6–1.
Ethan Thorsen started for Hillsboro and struck out two while giving up a run on two hits in two innings of work.
Jefferies (1–2) picked up his first win of the season striking out three while allowing just one hit and two walks in three innings of relief.
In game two Hillsboro jumped out to a quick 2–0 lead and never trailed.
Stanek led off the game with a double and scored on Tommy Crandall’s sac fly.
Joe Helgerson singled in the first and scored on an error to make it 2–0.
Royall came back with a run in the third off an Austin Johnson walk, Marcus Blaha single, and a Hillsboro error.
The Panthers tied the game in the fifth when Josh Murray doubled and later scored on a Ian Erickson ground out.
Hillsboro finally got back into the scoring with three runs in the top of the seventh.
Stanek walked, stole second, and scored on Joe Helgerson’s RBI single. Helgerson was sacrificed all the way to third by Tommy Crandall.
Tyler Crandall was hit by a pitch and then Chucky Strait delivered a single to score Helgerson.
Tyler Crandall, who stole second and advanced on Strait’s single, scored on Matt Stekel’s RBI single.
Tommy Crandall earned his first win of the season allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits and a walk in six innings of work.
Tyler Crandall closed the door in the seventh earning his third save of the year and solidified his brother’s first win of the season.
“We kind of allowed Royall to hand around all game making this interesting. Give their pitcher, Trae Ness, credit. He pitched four very effective innings after struggling a bit in the first,” said Hillsboro head coach Bob Bothe. “We also caught a break here or there once again made enough plays on defense to help our own cause. When the pitching rubber stops a ground ball for you, you know things are going your way.”
Hillsboro finished 8–6 in the SBC. The Tigers improved to 10–7 overall with the sweep.
Last Tuesday, Cashton defeated Hillsboro 10–2. Brandon Schmitz and Jacob Harter homered in the game for the Eagles.
Hillsboro has earned the third seed in the WIAA Division 4 Bangor Regional and will open the playoffs Tuesday at home against Wonewoc–Center (1–13) at 5 p.m. at Hillsboro High School.
With a win the Tigers will advance to face second-seeded New Lisbon (8–7) at 5 p.m. at New Lisbon.