Events didn't go as Hillsboro hoped in the semifinals of the Greenville Baseball Regional Thursday afternoon, May 16, as the host Comets defeated the Toppers 13-5. As a reward, the Comets faced Teutopolis' Wooden Shoes for the regional title Saturday; Greenville won the South Central Conference with a 8-0 record, then added victories over Vandalia and the Toppers in regional play.
Hillsboro finished the season with a 12-11 record; the Comets were 21-8 after Thursday's action.
Hillsboro scored first in Thursday's game as Kaden Lemon drew a four-pitch walk off Brock Nelson as the game began; Nelson had thrown a four-hit five inning shutout as Greenville won on May 6. Lemon took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a ground ball to second by Landon Carroll, and scored on a Griffin King sacrifice fly to right field.
Greenville tied it off Topper starter Tanner Mullen in the first. Lead-off man Drew Frey (and clean-up hitter Logan Doll) feasted on Topper pitching this season; Frey went four for five Thursday, Doll three for four. Frey doubled to open the Comet first, moved to third as Mason Johnson grounded out to second, and scored on Jonathan Barnes' sacrifice fly to center.
Greenville owned the game-deciding inning in the second, Mullen, usually a hit-a-spot centrol specialist, walked Hunter Gray and Nelson, the first two batters. Then he recovered to garner two strikeouts before designated hitter Grant McCullough singled to right; Frey then tripled to deep center field to drive in two. Johnson walked and stole second; Barnes double plated Frey and Johnson so it was 5-1, and Mullen's mound day was over.
Carroll, who hadn't fared well facing Greenville before, came to the mound; on a 1-0 pitch Doll launched a fly over the fence in left field. The second was the only inning in which the Comets batted around, but they did add on at least one run in each of the last four innings.
Hillsboro answered with three runs in the fourth and one in the sixth, but Nelson had the complete game win with 105 pitches thrown. In the fourth King singled and Jordan Gregg doubled; with two out, Jace Tuetken doubled them home. He scored when Brock Bellaver singled.
The run in the sixth came when Nic Ondrey hit a high-velocity line drive over the fence in left center.
The Comets were shut out by the Wooden Shoes on Saturday, May 18, in the regional title game.
Season statistics for Hillsboro will be published in The Journal-News soon.
May 16 at Greenville
Class 2A Regional Semifinal
Hillsboro 100 301 0 5 5 3
Greenville 161 221 x 13 13 2
Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB
L-Mullen 1.2 6 6 4 3 2
Carroll 4.1 7 4 9 1 2
Greenville IP R ER H K BB
W-Nelson 6 5 5 5 5 2
Multiple Hits: Greenville - Drew Frey (4-5), Logan Doll (3-4, 3RBI). 2B: Hillsboro - Jordan Gregg 1, Jace Tuetken 1; Greenville - Drew Frey 1, Chad Stearns 1, Grant McCullough 1. 3B: Greenville - Drew Frey 1. HR: Hillsboro - Nic Ondrey 1; Greenville - Logan Doll 1.
Records: Hillsboro (12-11); Greenville (21-8).