Hillsboro Takes Two From Nokomis In Diamond Double Dip

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Those who attended the Nokomis at Hillsboro baseball doubleheader Saturday afternoon, May 22, could have been exposed to several types of entertainment. A girls’ soccer match began at 11 a.m.; girls’ softball began at 1 p.m.; the first game first pitch of the baseball contests came shortly after 1 p.m.; and an aerial show of sorts (a low-flying crop duster loop-turned just west of the field, a helicopter was visible in the distance as it flew to a site to the southeast of the diamond, and a small engine plane seemed to fly over the concession stand as the afternoon ended) was an added attraction.

The happiest occurrence for Topper parents and baseball fans, though, was Hillsboro’s success on the diamond. The 7-6 and 10-7 wins over a scrappy Redskin team meant the Toppers are two games above .500 (9-7) for the season, have extended their winning streak to six, and once again found solutions to problems that defeated them in the early season.

In the opener Nokomis used a five-run third inning to jump to a 6-1 lead. Brenton Lyons was hit by a pitch and stole second as the lead-off batter; an error on a ball hit to second moved Lyons to third, and he scored on a ground out by Cooper Bertolino.

The Toppers answered immediately as Dillon Smail walked leading off, moved to third on a single by Drake Vogel, and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by clean-up hitter Blaze Helton.

Both starting pitchers (Hunter Broers for Nokomis and Jace Tuetken for Hillsboro) breezed through the second, but Tuetken lost his command of the strike zone as the third inning began. After walking Austin Thornton, Lyons, and Elisha Aumann, Tuetken went to third, Devin Speiser moved from third to short, and Drake Vogel came to pitch in the no one out, bases loaded situation.

The three ‘Skins who walked scored, as did Landon Engelman, the first batter Vogel faced (he walked). Then Bertolino collected his second RBI with a sacrifice fly. Another fly ball out followed, but the fifth run of the inning scored when Ryan Eisenbarth singled in front of a double by Broers.

Vogel pitched the last four innings of the game as well, shutting out the visitors while issuing only one hit, a single by Cade Johnson, and two walks. That performance gave him the mound win when his teammates edged back into contention.

Both Smail and Vogel scored in the bottom of the third as Delkan Riggs singled to left to collect the RBIs. Another run came in the fourth with two outs as Vogel doubled and scored on a Tuetken single. That would be Broers’ last inning of work; his team still held a 6-4 lead.

That changed in the fifth, again with a two-out rally. Heyden Grosenheider walked, then moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a Speiser single. Drew Willman muscled up to drive the ball into the right-center gap. The ball was misplayed slightly when the right fielder went to pick it up.

Grosenheider and Speiser had already scored to tie the battle, and Willman was sent home with the winning run because of the bobble.

Vogel retired six of the last seven batters he faced; the Toppers stranded the bases full in their sixth, but the win had been secured.

The second game wasn’t quite as close late, but it was tied 5-5 entering the bottom of the fifth and 6-6 after the top of the sixth. It too required a relief performance from an infielder who had pitched in only one other game this season.

Topper starter Gavin Matoush was very effective until the fourth, surrendering no runs, one hit, and one walk. After three innings Hillsboro was ahead, 5-0. Smail and Vogel each scored in the first though the Toppers had no hits off Nokomis starter Elisha Aumann, who walked two and hit Vogel in the first. The next two came in the second as Smail hit a two-run home run over the left field fence; it scored Willman, who had walked, and was the Toppers’ first hit of the contest -- but Smail’s second home run of the season.

When Tuetken doubled and scored (after ground ball outs to short by Helton and Ian Malloy, whose grounder earned the RBI), a less-spirited group than Nokomis might have given up. Instead they came out swinging their bats with a purpose.

Nine men went to the plate, and four (Engelman, Matthew Ulrici, Eisenbarth, and Broers) scored, all with two out. The Toppers couldn’t answer in their fourth, and Nokomis went ahead in the fifth.

Aumann doubled leading off, but he was thrown out trying to steal third (Preston Lyerla to Tuetken). A single by Engelman brought Smail to the mound in relief. Bertolino singled off him, moving Engelman to third, and Ulrici’s sacrifice fly to right scored Engelman with the tying run.

Singles by Smail, Vogel, and Helton in the fifth put Hillsboro ahead, 6-5; Nokomis tied it again as Aumann walked and scored on a two-out double by Engelman.

The seemed to inspire the Toppers offense to have their biggest inning of the day. Matoush singled; pinch-running for him, Heyden Grosenheider stole second, and after Karter Lipe, pitching in relief, garnered a strikeout, Willman singled Grosenheider home with the go-ahead run. With two outs Smail walked; then Vogel provided insurance with a home run over the left field fence that made it 10-6.

With two outs in the seventh a walk to Eisenbarth and a double by Broers that scored pinch-runner Gavin Lipe ended the scoring and an entertaining afternoon.

Conference play for Hillsboro continues this afternoon when Litchfield comes to call for a 4:30 first pitch; Carlinville will make up the game cancelled by weather on April 29th tomorrow, Tuesday, May 25th, again at 4:30.

May 22 at Hillsboro

Nokomis 105 000 0 6 3 2

Hillsboro 102 130 x 7 9 1

Pitching Statistics

Nokomis IP R ER H K BB

Broers 4 4 4 7 2 4

Eisenbarth 2 3 0 2 0 3

*Broers 1 HBP; Eisenbarth 1 HBP

Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB

Tuetken 2 4 3 0 3 3

Vogel 5 3 2 2 2 3

*Tuetken 1 HBP

Batting Statistics

Multiple Hits: Hillsboro - Drake Vogel 3-4. 2B: Nokomis - Hunter Broers 1; Hillsboro - Drew Willman 1, Blaze Helton 1. Runs: Nokomis - Brenton Lyons 2, Elijah Aumann 1, Landon Engelman 1, Ryan Eisenbarth 1, Austin Thornton 1; Hillsboro - Dillon Smail 2, Drake Vogel 2, Hayden Grosenheider 1, Devin Speiser 1, Drew Willman 1. RBI: Hillsboro - Cooper Bertolino 2, Hunter Broers 2, Landon Engelman 1, Ryan Eisenbarth 1; Hillsboro - Deklan Riggs 2, Drew Willman 2, Jace Tuetken 1, Blaze Helton 1.

May 22 at Hillsboro

Nokomis 000 411 1 7 11 1

Hillsboro 221 014 x 10 8 1

Pitching Statistics

Nokomis IP R ER H K BB

Aumann 4 5 3 2 2 3

Johnson 2 5 5 6 2 1

*Aumann 1 HBP; Johnson 1 HBP

Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB

Tuetken 2 4 3 0 3 3

Vogel 5 3 2 2 2 3

*Matoush 1 HBP

Batting Statistics

Multiple Hits: Nokomis - ; Hillsboro - Dillon Smail 2-2, Drake Vogel 2-4. 2B: Nokomis - Landon Engelman 2, Elijah Aumann 1, Ryan Eisenbarth 1; Hillsboro - Jace Tuetken 1. HR: Hillsboro - Dillon Smail 1, Drake Vogel 1. Runs: Nokomis - Landon Engelman 2, Elijah Aumann 1, Matthew Ulrici 1, Gavin Lipe 1, Hunter Broers 1; Hillsboro - Dillon Smail 4, Drake Vogel 2, Drew Willman 2, Jace Tuetken 1, Hayden Grosenheider 1. RBI: Nokomis - Landon Engelman 1, Matthew Ulrici 1, Cade Johnson 1; Hillsboro - Drake Vogel 3, Dillon Smail 2, Blaze Helton 2, Ian Malloy 1, Drew Willman 1.

Record: Hillsboro (9-7); Nokomis (3-10).

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