Cooper Law, also known as “Coop,” a HHS freshman whose primary responsibility for the 2021 varsity baseball team is to keep the pitch count for the Toppers as games progress, predicted a close game as he watched Carlinville take infield practice prior to their South Central Conference game on Hillsboro’s diamond on Tuesday afternoon, May 26, 2021.
His prediction seemed safe; the Cavaliers were 4-3 conference-wise as the game loomed; pitcher Kolten Costello made catcher Frank Kufa’s glove pop as he warmed up; and Kufa doubled to the left field fence as the first batter. A sacrifice fly to deep right scored Kufa with the first run, and Carlinville held a 1-0 lead (though Dillon Smail doubled to right leading off for the Toppers). After one inning, Coop had a right to say, “I told you so.”
Even though the first inning can sometimes predict a game’s outcome, this wasn’t one of those times. Hillsboro tied the game in the second as Deklan Riggs doubled and scored on another double by Topper starting pitcher Hayden Grosenheider. Hillsboro had seven doubles in total, with Smail collecting three.
The Toppers took the lead in the third as Smail doubled and scored on a Drake Vogel single.
After an out, Blaze Helton whacked an RBI single (he would finish with four RBIs) and his courtesy runner, Preston Lyerla, stole second before scoring on an RBI single up the middle by designated hitter Ian Malloy. With two outs and the bases full, Liam Tieman came to the mound to end the mini-rally with a strikeout.
Grosenheider was masterful on the mound, shutting out the visitors after the first until the top of the sixth. By then, Hillsboro’s advantage was 6-1 as Vogel doubled before Jace Tuetken was hit by a pitch. Both players moved up on a passed ball, and Helton drove them in.
Carlinville made it relatively close in the sixth. Ayden Tiburzi doubled. With two outs, Costello and Tieman both singled, with Tieman’s hit driving Tiburzi and Costello home to revive Cavie hopes.Tuetken then took over for Grosenheider because of pitch-count issues and ended the threat with a three-pitch strikeout.
Those hopes were soon dashed in the Topper sixth. Eleven Toppers batted, but only two outs were recorded before the ten-run-lead/game over mark was reached. Smail doubled, Vogel walked, and the bases were loaded when the Cavies tried to force Smail at third on a Tuetken infield roller rather than throwing to first. Helton’s single scored two before Riggs doubled to left off Lonny Rosentreter, who began pitching as the sixth opened.
Grosenheider, who reached on an error, and Gavin Matoush, who was hit by a pitch, scored the last two runs, Grosenheider on a sacrifice fly by Smail and Matoush on a sharp single by Vogel as the Topper bench erupted.
The Toppers are now 11-7 and enjoying an eight-game winning streak with a trip to play Piasa Southwestern (in Brighton) slated for today, Thursday, May 27, weather permitting. No games are scheduled this Friday (graduation), Saturday and Monday (Memorial Day), so the next chance to see the Toppers play will be Tuesday, June 1,in Carlinville in a non-conference return battle. Wednesday, June 1, Vandalia will close out conference play with a visit here to make up a game originally scheduled for May 17. Of course, the current schedule is subject to change because of weather and other end-of-season considerations.
Regional play begins Friday, June 4, in Gillespie against the Miners.
May 25 at Hillsboro
Carlinville 100 002 3 4 2
Hillsboro 013 207 13 13 0
Carlinville IP R ER H K BB
Costello 2.2 4 4 7 4 2
Treman 2.1 2 2 2 4 0
Rosentreter 0.2 7 6 4 0 2
*Treman 1 HBP; Rosentreter 1 HBP
Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB
Grosenheider 5.2 3 3 4 5 2
Tuetken 0.1 0 0 0 1 0
*Grosenheider 1 HBP
Multiple Hits: Dillon Smail 3-4, Drake Vogel 3-4, Blaze Helton 3-4, Deklan Riggs 2-4. 2B: Carlinville - Henry Kufa 1, Ayden Tiburzi 1; Hillsboro - Dillon Smail 3, Drake Vogel 1, Deklan Riggs 1, Hayden Grosenheider 1. Runs: Hillsboro - Drake Vogel 3, Dillon Smail 2, Jace Tuetken 2, Deklan Riggs 2, Preston Lyerla 2, Hayden Grosenheider 1, Gavin Matoush 1. RBI: Hillsboro - Blaze Helton 4, Drake Vogel 2, Hayden Grosenheider 2, Dillon Smail 1, Jace Tuetken 1, Ian Malloy 1.
Record: Hillsboro (2-6, 0-3); Pana (7-2, 3-1).