Riggs No-Hitter Leaves Jays Blue

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A morale boost was needed; on the last day of April, Hillsboro’s baseball team was short-gamed in Virden by an undefeated North Mac squad, 18-7, despite jumping to a 4-0 lead and scoring seven runs. Showing resiliency, the Toppers bounced back on Saturday, May 1, as freshman lefthander Deklan Riggs no-hit the visiting PORTA Bluejays in a complete game 5-1 victory.

Riggs, who had pitched only a third of an inning this spring, saved the Topper pitching staff; his fellow hurlers had been averaging less than three innings per man per outing as Hillsboro entered Saturday’s game with a 1-2 record. PORTA was 5-3 coming to town. The Bluejays scratched out their run  in the top of the first as their first two batters walked. After Dane Degroot reached, he stole second before starting pitcher Wyatt Mahoney walked (Riggs would walk only one more batter, in the sixth; and he hit Mahoney in the third). Degroot scored when a pickoff play at first went awry for the only Topper error of the contest. Mahoney’s courtesy runner was stranded on third when Riggs struck out the number five batter.

He also struck out the three batters he faced in the second and the first he saw in the third; those five consecutive strike outs set the tone for the 11 he would record. The last out was a ground ball to second baseman Dillon Smail.

All the Topper runs came in the bottom of the first. Drew Willman doubled down the third base line as the lead-off hitter. Smail singled Willman to third; then Smail advanced to second without a throw as the Jays were apparently afraid of a double steal. Drake Vogel singled in Willman with the tying run, and then he advanced to second unchallenged because Smail was perched on third.

Jace Tuetken reached on a fielder’s choice after Smail scored what became the winning run(though there was no one out in the first) on a passed ball. After a strike out, Hayden Grosenheider tripled Tuetken home with run four; with two outs Riggs doubled in the last run of the contest.

The Bluejays stranded three runners; Hillsboro left seven on base. Vogel and Grosenheider each had two of the Toppers’ eight hits.

Friday’s late afternoon trip to Virden began well but turned sour quickly once play began on the Panthers’ all-turf field. A double by Smail with one out followed by a Vogel home run over the deep left-center fence gave Hillsboro a quick two-run lead. Tuetken then banged a triple into the right field corner; with two outs, Blaze Helton coaxed a walk and courtesy runner Preston Lyerla moved to second without a throw. Both Tuetken and Lyerla scored on a Riggs single.

North Mac tied the game in their half of the first, collecting four hits, including a two-run home run by Panther starting pitcher Kaden Brown. The assault continued in the second; after one out, the home team batted around again, scoring six times before Helton threw out a runner trying to steal second. In the third they sent nine men to the plate before Owen Anderson came in to pitch. By then they had plated five more runs, proving their undefeated record wasn’t an accident; their last three runs came in the bottom of the fourth. By then they had 18 runs, 16 hits, reached on four errors, and were gifted by five walks and two hit batsmen.

The Toppers scored in the third when Tuetken singled and scored on a double by Gavin Matoush. They added their last two in the fourth when Anderson singled and Smail walked in front of Tuetken, who drove both of them home.

Konnor Kirk threw a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fifth with the Toppers in need of two runs to nullify the ten run mercy rule. The win moved the Panthers’ record to 5-0 while dropping the Toppers to 1-2.

The win over PORTA made the Toppers a .500 team. The schedule for this week, weather permitting, includes home games against Gillespie this afternoon, Monday, May 3rd, at 4:30; Tuesday at Vandalia at 4 p.m.; Wednesday at Springfield Lutheran at 4:30; and Thursday at Roxana. Next Saturday, May 8th, a junior varsity doubleheader against Staunton is scheduled for here at 10 a.m.

April 30 at Virden

Hillsboro 311 20 7 7 3

North Mac 465 3x 18 16 1

Pitching Statistics

Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB

Willman 1.1 5 5 5 1 2

Matoush 1.1 9 5 7 1 1

Anderson 1.1 3 2 4 0 0

*Matoush 2 HBP

Hillsboro Batting Statistics

Multiple Hits: Jace Tuetken 3-3. 2B: Dillon Smail 1, Jace Tuetken 1, Gavin Matoush 1. 3B: Jace Tuetken 1. HR: Drake Vogel 1. Runs: Dillon Smail 2, Jace Tuetken 2, Drake Vogel 1, Owen Anderson 1. RBI: Drake Vogel 2, Jace Tuetken 2, Gavin Matoush 1, Deklan Riggs 1.

May 1 at Hillsboro

PORTA 100 000 0 1 0 2

Hillsboro 500 000 x 5 8 1

Pitching Statistics

Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB

Riggs 7 1 0 0 12 3

*Riggs 1 HBP

Hillsboro Batting Statistics

Multiple Hits: Hayden Grosenheider 2-2, Drake Vogel 2-3. 2B: Drew Willman 1, Deklan Riggs 1. 3B: Hayden Grosenheider 1. Runs: Drake Vogel 1, Hayden Grosenheider 1, Drew Willman 1, Dillon Smail 1, Jace Tuetken 1. RBI: Drake Vogel 1, Hayden Grosenheider 1, Deklan Riggs 1.

Record: Hillsboro (2-2).

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