The Hillsboro varsity baseball team needed ten innings to dispose of the Festus Tigers Friday. Those extra frames were worth it as the Hawks kept hopes alive of winning their second large school title in three years with a 5-2 ten inning victory over Festus. The game was played at Windsor High School because of wet field conditions.
The Hawks found themselves down 2-0 late in the game after Festus scored single runs in the first and fourth innings. The Hillsboro offense just couldn’t get anything going. Michael Brewer had a two out double in the first inning, which was the only hit the Hawks would muster in the first five innings. Christian Hancock reached on an error in the fourth, and Dayton Hoelter walked in the fifth, but that was it up to the sixth inning.
But in the top of the sixth, the Hawks finally broke through. After Mark Moore flew out to lead off, Logan Warren walked to give Hillsboro a baserunner. Brewer walked on six pitches to put runners on first and second, and then Hancock singled to load the bases. Hayden Voyles went down on strikes, but Isack Hamilton came up and doubled to left, scoring both Warren and Brewer to tie the game. “I was looking to get a pitch to drive,” Hamilton said. “Being deep in the count (3-1), I found any pitch and made it happen.”
Neither team had many opportunities after that. The Hawks had two on with two out in the top of the eighth, but nothing came of that. It wasn’t until the top of the tenth that Hillsboro found an opening and broke through. Warren led off with a walk, and Brewer then did the same. Hancock would single, allowing Warren to score the go ahead run, and Brewer to move to third. Festus would then intentionally walk Voyles, and Hamilton would come back and make them pay with a single to left. Brewer crossed the plate to make it 4-2. After a pop out and a strikeout, Grant Beck coaxed a walk to force in Hancock, and it was 5-2 Hillsboro.
Festus did get the tying run to the plate in the bottom half of the inning off Warren, who came in to relieve Brewer in the sixth. A hit batter and a base hit put runners on first and second with one out. But Warren got a fly out to Moore in center field, and then a swinging strikeout to end the game. “I was just trying to do my job of filling up the strike zone,” said Warren. “If they hit it, I knew my team had my back.”
The win gives Hillsboro a 10-4 record, but an unblemished 3-0 mark in conference. A win Monday at home against Perryville will clinch the conference title. “It puts us in a good spot going forward to win quite a few games,” Hamilton said of the victory.
Hillsboro’s pitching was outstanding. Brewer started and had a few control issues, but threw a strong five innings allowing just two hits, two runs, and three walks. He hit two batters and struck out nine. Warren was stellar in relief, going five innings, allowing five hits but no runs. He struck out four and walked just one. He also hit two batters.
Offensively, Hancock and Hamilton led the way with two hits apiece. Hamilton had three RBI and a double. Hancock drove in one run and also reached on an error. Brewer, Voyles, and Hoelter also reached safely with hits.
Hillsboro has three games in a row, weather permitting as always, to begin the week. The conference game at home against Perryville is tomorrow, and then the Hawks will travel to Park Hills Central for a contest Tuesday. On Wednesday, Hillsboro will take on Jefferson, which could be a clash of large school and small school conference champs at GCS Stadium in Sauget, IL on Wednesday.