GREENFIELD — The Hillsboro Indiand varsity Baseball team traveled to Greenfield on Wednesday and took on the McClain Tigers at Mitchell’s Park in a Frontier Athletic Conference and cross county rivalry matchup that saw Hillsboro win 4-2 in seven innings and put themselves in position to win the FAC title with a 7-1 league record and only two FAC games left on the schedule.
“Everything is right in front of us,” said Hillsboro Head Coach Matt Garman. “The two teams that could maybe share or take something from us we have on the schedule left with Trace and Greenfield. So, we know what the task at hand is. We’ve got to show up and beat Trace on Monday and if we do that the rest will take care of itself. That is our only focus.”
Hillsboro’s Luke Magulac pitched seven strong innings against the Tigers and allowed two runs on four hits, walked two and struck out nine to earn the win against his cross county rivals.
Magulac got into a jam in the bottom of the first inning when the Tigers loaded the bases after Magulac walked John Salyers and then hit Cody Pollock in the next at bat. He ended the inning when he caught Garrison Banks and Austin Booth looking at strike three in consecutive at bats.
“Luke plays around a little bit and he knows he needs to stop. He gets a little bit too cute sometimes and walks a guy here or there but, he does it because I think he knows he’s got the stuff to get the strikeouts to get out of jams like that,” said Garman. “He has been getting better at it since the beginning of last year to this year. But, that was an example of that. He got himself in a little trouble early there but he’s got enough stuff that he can get out of it and the guys behind him don’t panic and know that we are always just one play away from getting out of an inning.”
Dylan Boone led off the top of the second inning with a double to left field and advanced to third on a ground out by Ryan Scott in the following at bat before scoring on a sacrifice fly ball to right field by Brennen Priest that put Hillsboro on top 1-0.
Eric Anderson drove in Wyatt VanDyke in the bottom of the second inning with a line drive double to right field that tied the game at one run apiece after two innings.
Grant Crum led off the top of the fourth inning with an infield single that Garrison Banks was unable to handle at short stop for the Tigers and Dylan Boone drew a walk two batters later to put runners on first and third after Crum stole second.
Brennen Priest drove in Crum and Boone with a line drive double to left field that gave the Indians a 3-1 lead.
John Salyers drove in VanDyke with a hard ground ball to left field in the bottom of the fifth inning that brought the Tigers within a run at 3-2 but the Tigers were unable to get any closer.
The Indians added the final run of the game in the top of the sixth inning when Magulac took a start turn at the plate and singled on a hard ground ball to short stop that plated Boone, who reached base earlier in the inning when he was hit by a pitch, and provided the final margin of victory for Hillboro.
Magulac and the Indians retired the Tigers in order in both the bottom of the sixth and bottom of the seventh innings to secure the FAC win and at least a share of the FAC regular season title.
“The difference in the game was clutch hitting. We had bases loaded and couldn’t capitalize. A couple times we had first and second, couldn’t capitalize. But they did,” said McClain Head Coach Rich Bunner. “It was 3-2, they come back, got a couple hits, scored timely runs, I mean I think that is the difference in the ball game. Matt does a great job with them. Great defense and some great pitching. Probably the best around here.”
Ryan Applegate is the Sports Editor for The Times-Gazette. Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.