The Hillsboro varsity baseball team returns seven players this season, three of them starting pitchers, as they look to improve on last season’s 10-10 record. Those seven players logged major time in the starting lineup last year, which bodes well for the Hawks this season.
“We have a pretty good group of returning players from last year,” said head coach Kevin Lucas. “Most of those guys started the majority of our games last year, so I think we are in pretty good shape. We also have a really good group of newcomers to replace what we lost from last year.”
Lucas is excited about the three returning starting pitchers coming back. Michael Brewer, Christian Hancock, and Ethan Eckrich return. Combined, the three started 12 of the 20 games last season. Brewer is headed to Southern Mississippi after graduation to pitch for the Golden Eagles. “We also return three outfielders in Hayden Voyles, Mark Moore, and Eckrich that started the majority of the games last season, but they will be challenged by Riley Jennings and newcomer Brendan McLaughlin for playing time,” Lucas notes. Moore hit .462 in 14 plate appearances in 2018
The Hawks only return two infielders in Brewer and Hancock, but they are very good ones. Brewer hit .429 with 20 RBI last season, while Hancock compiled a .920 fielding percentage and started five double plays. “Our other infielders that will be looking to battle for playing time are Grant Beck, Dayton Hoelter, Logan Warren, Garrett Pinkley, and Nolan Evans, so we will have to see who can win the battles for the open spots,” says Lucas.
Hillsboro returns Isack Hamilton behind the plate, and Lucas points out that Pinkley will also get some time there as well.
“I have some pretty high expectations with this group, but the key is going to be how well the newcomers adjust to the varsity level,” Lucas admits. “We have a few things to try and figure out early in the season, but I think we have a really good group of kids. They have been working hard and doing everything we have asked of them, even though most of our practices have been inside due to the weather.”
Lucas adds that the schedule is always pretty difficult, but he wants it to prepare the team for districts. He says the challenge will just be trying to figure out where everyone fit into the puzzle. That process starts quickly. Today, the Hawks will travel to Seckman for a Jamboree. Hillsboro will meet Seckman at 3:00 p.m., and then Farmington at 4:00 p.m. But the season starts for real on Friday at Parkway Central. The Hawks will take on the Colts at 4:15 to open the season. Then the Hawks will return to St. Louis on Saturday morning to battle at Parkway North. First pitch is scheduled for 10:00 a.m.
For a look at the Hawks’ complete schedule, please follow this link: 2019 Hillsboro Baseball Schedule