As all of us were dodging raindrops throughout the week, the Hillsboro junior varsity baseball team got in two games, one on Monday, and the other on Wednesday. The Hawks lost at Webster Groves Monday, 4-2, but rebounded to take a 5-3 decision at home over Windsor on Wednesday. Hillsboro is now 8-6 on the season.
“Maybe we had another case of the Mondays,” said JV coach Chris Grewe after the loss to the Statesmen. “Offensively, we struggled a bit, only getting four hits. The pitching tonight was very good. They were throwing strikes, it was just a couple of untimely errors that did us in. We had our chances offensively, we just couldn’t get that big hit. Webster Groves’ pitchers did a good job of keeping us off balance.”
The Hawks took the lead in the first inning, scoring their only two runs of the game. Connor Jenkins led off with a single. After one out, Jase Stewart coaxed a walk. Max Hildebrand came in to run, and both runners advanced a base when Eli Epley walked. Kyle Cozort then delivered a two run base hit to left to give the Hawks an early 2-0 lead.
Webster Groves would come back to tie the game in the bottom of the second. Cozort, who was pitching, would exit the game after the inning. “Kyle gave me two quality innings,” said Grewe. “This was a tune up for him, since he is scheduled to start for me on Friday against Festus.” Cozort’s two runs allowed were both unearned. He gave up two hits and one walk. He struck out two.
Epley came in for three innings, and Jenkins threw one inning. The Statesmen scored the eventual winning run in the fourth inning, and added an insurance run in the fifth. Offensively, Cozort had two hits, while Jenkins and Gabe King added one hit each.
No doubt, the Hawks wanted to get back on the winning track, and on Wednesday, there was no better time than against a conference rival, Windsor. Coach Grewe put the ball in the hand of Zach Schneider to pitch against the Owls. And pitch he did. He went six innings allowing just five hits. The Owls got to him for three runs in the fifth inning, but that was it. Schneider would strike out four and walk just one. “I thought Zach threw well last night, especially against a team that can hit,” Grewe said. “Zach and Jase did an outstanding job of keeping them off balance.”
The Hawks took the lead in the third. King ripped a triple to center scoring Jacob Taylor who had walked. Cozort delivered a run scoring single as King trotted home to make it 2-0. And then in the fourth, the Hawks increased the lead to 5-0, thanks to a sacrifice fly by Cozort, and a Jenkins two-run single. “The boys took a great approach and put the ball in play,” Coach Grewe commented. “They hit the ball hard last night. When you do that, good things usually happen.”
After that three run bump in the road in the fifth, Schneider took care of the Owls in the sixth, and then King came into the game in the seventh, worked around a walk, and struck out the final batter to preserve the win. Grewe noted the defense played well too. “Defensively, the boys made the plays. Zach Whaley made some unbelievable grabs in center, taking away hits from several players.”
Jenkins led the way with three hits and two RBI, while King, Cozort, Noah Shuman, Schneider, and Whaley each had a hit as well. “I am very pleased with how far they have come,” said Grewe. “These 12 boys have really come together and are playing good baseball despite a few bumps. I wish the season had a few more weeks to see how much better they could get.”
The way the weather is going, who knows how many games are left. At this time, the Hawks are scheduled to meet Festus at home tomorrow.