The Hillsboro Indians traveled to Athens on Thursday to take on the Circleville Tigers in the Division II Southeast District Final baseball game at Bob Wren Stadium. The Indians fell to the Tigers 4-3 in seven innings to bring their season to a close.
Hillsboro head coach Matt Garman reflected on his team and their season coming to an end in the District Finals.
“It was good for the kids to get this experience, we are kind of a young team. But, the seniors that we do have to say goodbye to were some pretty good seniors. On a personal level for me, I mean, being their JV coach for two years and then bumping up to Varsity with them the last two years, I have spent an awful lot of time with every single one of those guys,” said Garman.
Hillsboro looked to be on the winning track early as they loaded the bases in the top of the first inning. Luke Magulac drew a walk in the leadoff spot before Payton Bell and Kelton Anderson flied out to left field and center field respectively for the first two outs of the inning.
Ethan Watson followed with a single to left field that advanced Magulac to second base. Jared Thompson was hit by a pitch in the following at bat to load the bases. However, Hayden Haines flew out to center field in the next at bat to end the inning and strand all three runners for the Indians.
In the bottom of the first the Tigers loaded the bases as the Indians committed two errors in the inning. However, starting pitcher Ethan Humphries got out of the jam without allowing a run.
Hillsboro plated their first run of the night in the top of the second inning as Dylan Boone crossed the plate on a double by Magulac to give the Indians a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second inning it was Circleville was at it again as they loaded the bases for the second time in the game. This time however, the Tigers plated one run before the Indians were able to end it with a 4-6-3 double play.
In the top of the fifth Hillsboro took the lead 3-1 as Grant Crum and Boone each scored. Magulac drove in Crum on a single and Boone scored when Bell was hit in the helmet by a pitch with the bases loaded.
The Tigers added runs in the fifth and sixth innings to tie the game at 3-3 heading into the seventh and final inning.
Hillsboro was unable to get anything going in the top of the seventh as they went down in order. Circleville on the other hand was able to put a man on base with a walk and he advanced to second on a wild pitch and then third on a sacrifice. The Indians elected to intentionally walk the next two batters to load the bases. A sacrifice fly ball ended the game as the man on third tagged up and scored for the final run.
Garman summed up the game by saying, “I look at this game and it was kind of a microcosm of our season. We didn’t have our best stuff offensively; we didn’t have our best stuff defensively. Pitching, we kind of hung in there a little bit but, it certainly wasn’t our best night pitching. But, we found a way to stay in it; we clawed and scratched and it was a real gritty night tonight for my guys. Unfortunately, we were just one swing of the bat away from this being a different outcome and, you know, that stinks.”
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.