It was a tough afternoon for the Washington Blue Lions as they hosted the Hillsboro Indians in a Division II Sectional championship game Thursday.
Hillsboro won the game, 14-4 in five innings.
Washington finishes the season as co-champions of the Frontier Athletic Conference with a record of 7-3. The Blue Lions end the year 15-7 overall.
Washington had eight errors that were hurtful to their cause, while the Indians played error-free baseball.
The Indians exploded in the top of the second inning, after falling behind 1-0, for 12 runs. Ethan Watson started the inning with a ground out and it appeared that Hillsboro would be retired in order as they were in the top of the first.
In the first for Washington, with one out Eli Ruth and Tyler Rood walked. Kenny Arboleda drove in Ruth with a single.
However, the Blue Lions committed three straight errors. Jared Thompson, Luke Magulac and Hayden Haines consecutively reached base on errors.
The third error of the inning allowed Thompson to score and Magulac to advance to third. Haines stole second during Dylan Boone’s at bat to put runners on second and third.
Justin Scott was next up for the Indians and continued Hillsboro’s offensive attack with a single that scored Haines. Boone advanced to third on the single after taking second earlier in the at bat.
Mason Stanley, Payton Bell and Kelton Anderson singled in succession to keep the hit parade going. Boone and Stanley each scored before Watson came to the plate for the second time in the inning with the Indians now leading 6-1.
Watson made the most of his second opportunity of the inning and crushed a line drive to center field for a base clearing triple that extended the Hillsboro lead to 8-1.
The Indians kept it rolling as Thompson singled, Magulac and Haines tripled in succession and Boone singled as Hillsboro chased Barrett after less than two full innings of work.
Kenny Arboleda relieved Nick Barrett and got Scott to fly out and Stanley to strike out to end the inning for the Blue Lions who now trailed 12-1 entering the bottom of the second.
Washington head coach Mark Schwartz talked about his team’s lapses on the defensive side of the ball against the Indians after the game and congratulated Hillsboro on their victory.
“In every game we have had an inning where our defense hasn’t been the greatest and we have been able to fight through it this year. Today, we just couldn’t battle through it and it just caught up with us against a good Hillsboro team. They hit the ball well and they hit some little bloopers here and there. You will have that in baseball sometimes so, hats off to them”, said Schwartz.
Hillsboro coach Matt Garman talked about the second inning avalanche of runs by his team after the game and the performance of Ethan Humphries on the mound.
“We talk to the guys a lot in practice about hitting, about how in the early season when you are in the gym because of the weather and it feels like you can’t get outside. There are two things you can do that directly translate to the field. One is swing the bat and two is throw off the mounds. I think you saw both of them click tonight. We are a really confident hitting team and we feel like at any time we can explode. A 12-run inning is another thing. We hit the ball really well in that inning,” Garman said.
Hillsboro added two more runs in the third and fourth inning to reach their total of 14.
In the third for Washington, George Reno singled and Ruth followed with a single.
Arboleda singled to score Reno.
In the fourth for Washington, Ryan Schwartz singled and Eli Lynch grounded into a fielder’s choice.
With two away, Reno hit a triple that scored Lynch.
In the fifth for the Blue Lions, Nick Barrett hit a triple and scored on a single by Austinn Fore.
Humphries was the winning pitcher for Hillsboro. He pitched five innings with eight hits and four earned runs with four strikeouts and three walks.
Nick Barrett started and absorbed the loss. He pitched 1.1 innings with 10 hits and 12 runs (none earned), no walks and no strikeouts.
Kenny Arboleda pitched 3.2 innings with four hits and two runs (one earned) with three strikeouts and no walks.
Notes: For the Blue Lions, Nick Barrett, Kenny Arboleda and Tyler Rood were named First Team, All-FAC for 2018. They are joined on the all-conference team by Connor Mathis and A.J. Corbin of Chillicothe, Kelton Anderson and Luke Magulac of Hillsboro, Caleb Haller of Jackson and Heath Cockerill, Drew Batson and Player of the Year Brady Wallace of Miami Trace.
Those players will be honored at the FAC spring sports banquet on May 21.
Offensively for Washington:George Reno, 2-3, 1 run, 1 rbi, 1 3b; Eli Ruth, 1-1, 1 run, 2 bb, 1 sb; Tyler Rood, 0-2, 1 bb; Kenny Arboleda, 2-3, 2 rbi; Nick Barrett, 1-3, 1 run, 1 3b; Austinn Fore, 1-3, 1 rbi; Ryan Schwartz, 1-3; Eli Lynch, 0-3, 1 run; Grant Patterson, 0-2. LOB: 7.
Offensively for Hillsboro: Stanley, 1-4, 1 run, 1 rbi, roe; Bell, 2-4, 1 run, 1 rbi; Anderson, 1-4, 2 runs, fc; Watson, 3-4, 1 run, 1 rbi; Thompson, 1-4, 2 runs, 1 rbi, roe; Magulac, 1-4, 2 runs, 1 rbi, roe, 1 3b, 1 sb; Haines, 2-3, 3 runs, 1 rbi, 2 sb, roe; Crum, 0-1; Boone, 2-3, 1 run, 2 rbi, 1 sb; J. Scott, 1-3, 1 run, 1 rbi. LOB: 5.
H 0(12)1 10x x — 14 14 0
W 101 11x x — 4 8 8
Ryan Applegate is the sports editor of the Hillsboro Times-Gazette