WONEWOC — Bob Bothe’s Hillsboro baseball team improved to 2–0 on the young season with a 13–2 victory at Wonewoc–Center Monday afternoon.
The game was much closer than the final score might indicate, but Chucky Strait and Jake Stockwell helped put the game away with back to back RBI doubles in the Tigers’ seven-run 7th inning.
Strait cleared the bases with his three-run double after falling behind 1-2 on the count.
Stockwell hit his 1-1 pitch off the left field fence to plate Strait.
Hillsboro (2–0, 2–0 Scenic Bluffs) scored six runs, just two earned, on just three hits in the first five innings against the Wolves’ starting pitcher Maxon Huebel.
The Tigers were able to take advantage of five W–C errors and six Huebel walks.
Freshman Tyler Crandall (2–0) picked up his second win of the season with three solid innings of relief. He allowed just one run on two hits over the final three innings, while striking out two and walking three.
Junior Grant Jefferies made his first varsity start on the mound, going one inning, giving up one unearned run on four walks, and a strikeout.
Freshman Joey Helgerson (2 IP, 1 H, 1 SO) and Max Stockwell (1 IP, 1 SO, 3 BB) combined to pitch three scoreless innings of relief.
Fellow freshman Tommy Crandall was involved in a pair of strange defensive plays for the Tigers.
First he put out a would be runner at first base when he threw to Stockwell, the pitcher covering first on the play, for a rarely-seen 9–1 putout.
Crandall also started a 9–3–2–6 double play after he caught a fly ball, dropped the transfer from glove to hand and then relayed the ball in.
The young Tigers opened the season Apr. 8 with a 7–5 Scenic Bluffs victory at Royall.
Strait had an RBI single in the third inning to pull Hillsboro within a run at 2–1.
Even though the Tigers only managed one hit — a Matt Anderson RBI single in the fifth — they scored three runs in the fifth and two in the sixth to take a 6–2 lead.
The Tigers drew five walks, put down two sacrifice bunts and scored twice on sacrifice flies.
Strait drove in a second run with a sac fly in the sixth. He finished the game 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two stolen bases.
Tyler Crandall earned the win with 21/3 innings of relief allowing one run on one hit. He struck out three and walked one.
Royall loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh and made it a game with a two-run, two-out single off Tommy Crandall, but the freshman then struck out the Panthers’ lead off hitter Marcus Blaha on a full count to end the game.
“The game wasn’t pretty, but our guys kept putting the ball in play and kept pressure on Royall’s defense,” said Bothe.
“We put a few freshman right into the fire on the mound, and all four (Stockwell, Helgerson, Tyler Crandall, and Tommy Crandall) all responded admirably.
The Tigers are scheduled to host New Lisbon Apr. 18. Hillsboro will return to action Monday with a doubleheader at Necedah.