Gillespie's baseball team brought a 1-5 South Central Conference record with them to the Hillsboro Sports Complex Monday, April 29, but they also brought a bearded left-handed pitcher with a curve ball and control as their starting pitcher. That was enough as the Miners won 9-1 after jumping to an early lead.
Bryce Higginbotham scattered four hits -- a single to Landon Carroll in the first, a single by Jace Tuetken in the third, and singles by Griffin King and Kaden Lemon in the sixth. One was eliminated from the base path as he was picked off first; another by a ground ball double play. King scored on an error on a ground ball to second by Jordan Gregg; no other Topper reached third. Gregg was walked in the fourth while Tanner Mullen reached on an error in the fifth, but the Toppers never bunched the runners necessary to mount a big inning.
Gillespie didn't have that problem, though, especially not in the early going. They didn't have a hit until eight-slot hitter Preston Kaylor singled in a run in the second, but Joey Carter walked (and was stranded on third in the first) and Zane Cunningham and Frankie Barrett walked in front of Kaylor's one out hit in the second. Designated hitter Ryan Reid also singled following Kaylor before Joey Carter was hit by a pitch.
Trenton Segarra forced Reid at third for the second out of the inning, but Cameron Hailstone and Higginbotham both singled as seven of the first nine batters in the Miners' second reached base. When Topper starter Brock Bellaver walked Cunningham to load the bases, sophomore Owen Anderson came in to pitch. Collin Johnson battled with Anderson, fouling off a 3-2 pitch before striking out. Still, the Miners were up 5-0.
The bottom of the order provided insurance for Gillespie in the third, Barrett walked, Kaylor singled, and Reid sacrificed them to second and third. Carter singled Barrett in, then stole second and scored with Kaylor on Segarra's double, Anderson then retired the next five batters, but it was 8-0 after four.
Jude Bertolino worked the last three innings for the Toppers, surrendering only one run in the seventh. Johnson walked leading off then and scored with two outs when Reid doubled to deep centerfield.
Games against Greenville there (Tuesday) and Staunton here (Wednesday) were washed off the schedule. The Piasa game scheduled for tomorrow (Friday) afternoon is in doubt as the diamonds are soaked.
Make-up dates will be announced later. The next date on the schedule at press time is May 7 at Litchfield.
April 29 at Hillsboro
Gillespie 053 000 1 9 9 2
Hillsboro 000 001 0 1 4 2
Gillespie IP R ER H K BB
W-Higginbotham 7 1 0 4 4 1
Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB
L-Bellaver 1.2 5 5 4 2 4
Anderson 2.1 3 3 4 1 1
Bertolino 3 1 1 1 3 1
*Bellaver 1 HBP
Multiple Hits: Gillespie - Ryan Reid (2-3), Preston Kaylor (2-4). 2B: Gillespie - Trenton Segura 1, Ryan Reid 1.
Records: Hillsboro (9-8, 4-3); Gillespie (11-9, 2-5).