There were baseball lessons to be learned in Brighton Tuesday afternoon, June 1: The team with the best record doesn’t always win; the team which executes fundamentals better than the other most likely will win; and the pitcher who pitches to contact, trusting his defense to make the plays while keeping his pitch count down, still has a place in the current throw-as-hard-as-you-can atmosphere.
Piasa Southwestern, who plays their home games in Brighton some five miles south of the school, came into the game with a 7-20 overall record, 2-6 in conference play. Hillsboro was 11-7, 4-3, and riding a nine game winning streak while preparing for Regionals tomorrow, June 4, in Gillespie.
The Birds started a slight right-hander, Cole Schuchman; the Toppers’ pitcher was leftie Deklan Riggs, a freshman who deserved a better fate than he was given in this game. The game was scoreless, despite the Toppers threatening in the second, third, and fourth innings, until the hosts scored three without the benefit of a hit.
In the fourth their lead-off hitter, Brady Salzman, struck out (Riggs’ fourth) but reached base as the third strike was in the dirt for a wild pitch. The second batter reached on a fielder’s choice and the third walked, loading the bases with no one out.
John Watts then laid down a squeeze bunt which the Toppers misplayed, allowing two runs to score while no outs were recorded. When Riggs reloaded the bases with another walk, Hayden Grosenheider was called in from centerfield to pitch. The senior, perhaps prepping for a start against Gillespie Friday, walked in a run but then struck out the side.
The Birds combined a double by Salzman and a single by Colin LeMarr to add a run in their fifth; Hillsboro made it 4-1 in the top of the sixth as Piasa committed their only error.
Drake Vogel reached when a hard shot directly at the shortstop was misplayed; Vogel promptly stole second. With two out, Riggs singled him home.
The Birds removed all doubts about the outcome with a four hit, one Topper error outburst in their sixth that resulted in three more runs.
The Toppers had eight hits, (two each by Riggs and Grosenheider and one by Dillon Smail, Jace Tuetken, Ian Malloy, and Drew Willman) but Schuchman scattered them. He also walked no one, usually staying ahead in the count and unrattled by the occasional extra-base hit he surrendered.
The Toppers finished conference and regular season play by hosting Vandalia yesterday, Wednesday, June 2. Regional play begins versus Gillespie there tomorrow, Friday, June 4.
June 1 at Brighton
Hillsboro 000 001 0 1 8 4
Southwestern 000 313 x 7 7 1
Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB
Riggs 3 3 2 1 4 3
Grosenheider 2 1 1 2 5 1
Willman 1 3 2 4 2 0
S’western IP R ER H K BB
Schuchman 7 1 0 8 3 0
Multiple Hits: Hillsboro - Deklan Riggs 2-3, Hayden Grosenheider 2-3; Southwestern - Rocky Darr 2-4, Brady Salzman 2-4. 2B: Hillsboro - Dillon Smail 1, Jace Tuetken 1; Southwestern - Brady Salzman 2. 3B: Hillsboro - Hayden Grosenheider 1. Runs: Hillsboro - Drake Vogel 1. RBI: Hillsboro - Deklan Riggs 1.
Records: Hillsboro (11-8, 4-4); Southwestern (8-20, 3-6).