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Tigers win baseball season opener
Grant Jefferies strikes out eight in three innings of no-hit baseball
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WONEWOC — Friday’s regularly scheduled season opener at Royall was postponed due to cold, wet conditions and Monday’s home opener had to be moved to Wonewoc–Center.

But after several disruptions to the early-season schedule the Hillsboro baseball team finally threw out the first pitch on the 2014 season Monday afternoon.

Despite being outside for just the second time this spring, Coach Bob Bothe’s Tigers laced 12 hits, pitched very effectively and field well enough to score a 9–3 Scenic Bluffs victory over host Wonewoc–Center.

Grant Jefferies, Joey Helgerson and Tyler Crandall combined for a three-hitter.

Jefferies was sharp, striking out eight without allowing a hit in three innings of work.

Helgerson (1–0) picked up the win in relief — only because Jefferies didn’t go the required four innings to qualify for the win — allowing two runs, one earned, on one hit in his only inning of work.

Crandall notched a three-inning save holding the Wolves (0–1, 0–1 SBC) scoreless during the final three innings of play. He struck out three, didn’t allow a walk and only surrendered two hits.

The Hillsboro offense was led by Tommy Crandall, Brandon Stanek and Tyler Seeley.

Tommy Crandall went 3-for-4, scored three runs and doubled and tripled in the victory. He also earned the team’s web-gem nomination on defense.

Stanek went 2-for-3 and Seeley went 2-for-2.

Matt Stekel drove in three runs for Hillsboro.

The Tigers scored three runs in the fourth on Stekel ground out, a dropped third strike and a pair of W–C errors to take a 4–0 lead.

Hillsboro added to its lead with a four-run sixth inning.

Grant Jefferies had an RBI single in the frame and Stekel drove in his third run of the game with a sacrifice fly.

“Pregame warm ups was only the second time we took infield this year,” said Bothe. “Both teams were rusty early on and had to catch up to the speed of live pitching. But when the sun came out and we went through the order a second time we started crushing the ball.

“We made some defense errors and struck out nine times so we have plenty of room to improve, but I was pleased with our pitching performance for the first game. Overall it was a good start and a good win.”

The Tigers (1–0, 1–0) are scheduled to host Brookwood on Thursday before they travel to New Lisbon on Monday.
Friday’s game with Royall will now be made up as part of a SBC doubleheader on April 28 at Hillsboro.