Hillman-Alcona game called early due to rain

LINCOLN-The Hillman and Alcona boys baseball teams likely fully understood the axiom “when it rains, it pours” on Monday when heavy, constant rain caused the first game in a doubleheader to be called in the top of the sixth inning.

Alcona earned the win, as it was up 3-1, but Hillman (16-3) had a man on second base and no outs when the game was called.

“There were a few things we could have done better in the early innings, but we played pretty good,” Hillman coach Rick Firman said. “(Alcona’s) a good baseball team and we held our own. I think we had a chance in the sixth, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

Both teams were offensively successful in the first inning, with Hillman scoring its sole run and Alcona scoring twice.

Hillman scored after Mason VanPamel drew a walk and was doubled to third base by Ty Jones. Kyle Henigan was then intentionally walked to load the bases.

David Julka drove in VanPamel with a walk to put Hillman up 1-0.

Alcona (17-3-1) answered back in the bottom of the first inning when Carson Jamieson reached second base on a fielding error. He advanced to third after a balk and Brock Franklin walked to put runners on the corners.

Nathan Fettes drove in Jamieson to tie the game 1-1. Nathan Swinson was then hit by a pitch to load the bases after which Chad Cole drew a walk to drive in Franklin and give Alcona a 2-1 lead.

The middle innings saw a pitching duel between Jamieson and Jones. Jamieson pitched a complete game for the win. He gave up five hits, walked four and struck out eight.

Jones gave up four hits, four walks and struck out nine, including three in the fourth inning.

Beyond Hillman’s error in the first inning, both teams played consistent defense. Especially notable for Hillman were two second base throwouts by Hillman catcher Dylan Steinke.

Alcona’s defensive highlights included a bases-loaded double-play in the fourth inning that stymied Hillman’s rally.

Alcona took a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning when Franklin tripled and was driven in on a sacrifice fly.

Franklin was 2-for-3 for Alcona. Nathan Fettes was 2-for-3 with an RBI while Brock Franklin drew two walks.

The rain started to come down hard during the fifth. Hillman’s David Julka hit a single with no outs and advanced to second on a passed ball. The next batter, Trenton Hopp took two balls before the rain intensified and the home plate umpire called for the rain delay.

Jones led Hillman at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two singles and a double. Julka hit a single and had an RBI walk. Henigan drew three walks.

Both teams fled to the dugouts to stay dry as Alcona coach Terry Franklin brought out rakes and brooms to combat the ever-growing puddles.

After about half an hour, the game was called, leaving two disappointed teams that were ready to finish the game in the harshest conditions.

“If I was them in that situation, I would feel the same way. I would want to wait and that’s why we did. We got out the quick lime to see if it would let up, but it never did,” Franklin said. “It was just a great game, good fundamentals, people putting the bat on the ball. Its just one of those games that gets you better.”

Hillman travels to Atlanta on Thursday while Alcona goes to Fairview the same day.

Eric Benac can be reached via email at ebenac@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.