Jones pitches Hillman baseball past Vikings
News Sports Editor
HILLMAN-Even on one of its worst days, the Hillman baseball team still found a way to win.
Ty Jones threw a six-hit shutout and the Tigers defeated Posen 7-0 in a predistrict game on Wednesday at Hillman High School.
The victory came despite some errors that left head coach Rick Firman less than pleased and advances Hillman (20-4) to a district semifinal on Saturday against Atlanta.
“We’re very fortunate, because we played horribly. That’s one of the worst games we’ve played all year and we’re lucky to get out of here with a win,” Firman said. “Luckily our starting pitching held up. We play like that Saturday and we’re in trouble.”
Hillman got off to a slow start, but took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning before scoring three runs in each of the next two innings.
David Julka gave Hillman a 1-0 in the fourth inning when he scored on a fielding error, one of several that the Vikings made in the game.
In the fifth inning, Mason VanPamel got caught in a rundown, but managed to score when a throw got by Posen third baseman Nathan Mulka. Later in the inning, Trenton Hopp gave the Tigers a few insurance runs with a two-run single to right field.
The runs backed up a solid outing on the mound from Jones, who struck out 11, walked none and hit one batter.
“I just kept wanting to dominate every hitter. Not at all. I just took it one batter at a time, not worrying about anything else,” Jones said.
Posen got runners on the corners in the second inning with one out, but Hillman managed to keep the Vikings off the scoreboard. Brandon Dietz, who took the loss for Posen on the mound was thrown out a home trying to score on a passed ball and Jones struck out Adam Pieczynski.
Dietz surrendered five runs on six hits with six strikeouts and seven walks in 5 1/3 innings before being relieved by Travis Sharpe.
The Vikings got runners on the corners again in the fifth inning, but were held scoreless. Posen stranded at least one base runner in every inning but one.
Mark Jakey led Posen with two hits and Hopp led Hillman with two hits.
Hillman added three runs in the sixth inning on two passed balls and an error. It was the mental errors however that Firman had a problem with. Hillman stranded nine base runners for the game including two in three separate innings. The Tigers also failed to take advantage of several walks and were caught in a few rundowns.
In the third inning, Hillman loaded the bases with one out, but Posen held the Tigers in check after Michael Klein was tagged out at third base and Dylan Ross struck out.
Nonetheless, Hillman was happy to walk away from Thursday’s game with a win and a matchup with its county rivals this weekend. The two squads shared the North Star League title this season.
“It feels good. The boys played alright, but we could play a lot better,” Jones said. “We’re coming together really good and just to get that first win under our belt is good just to keep moving on in the playoffs.”
The skillful pitching of Jones and Kyle Henigan has carried a young Hillman team a long way this season and Firman is confident his squad can back up solid pitching again this weekend.
“We live and die with it mostly. Our starting pitching, outside of one inning, has been good all year,” Firman said. “I expect good starting pitching on Saturday and hopefully we’ll play defense and we’re smart behind the plate.”
James Andersen can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.