Div. III East District number-one-seeded Hiland had little trouble winning their first two tournament games by 10 runs apiece, the Hiland Hawks baseball team winning its May 5 game 10-0 over Buckeye Trail, coupled with its 13-3 dousing of Martins Ferry on Tuesday, May 8.
However, the Hawks faced a long lay-over before its Monday, May 14 district semifinal contest with second-seed Edison, so head coach Chris Dages went looking for a capable foe in order to keep his team sharp between tournament games.
He found one in 14-9 Harrison Central, and the two teams knocked heads Friday, May 11 at Lehman Field at Hiland High School.
Dages made sure nobody’s arm got abused, sending six different pitchers to the mound. Every single one of those six found success in shutting down the Huskies offense, and all-told they allowed just one hit in the 7-0 victory.
“I was very pleased with the way all six of our guys threw the ball tonight,” Dages said after the win. “We threw strikes and looked good.”
Cameron Miller went a perfect first inning and finished off the Huskies with just nine pitches, striking out one. Damien Kandel struck out all three hitters he faced in a sizzling second frame while Ryan Hershberger threw the third inning and also struck out all three hitters he faced. Kyle Mast got dinged for the lone hit in the fourth inning but struck out a pair while Alec Yoder cruised through the fifth and sixth innings in perfect fashion, striking out a pair. Ricky Miller finished the game off in the seventh, working around a hit batter while striking out two. All told, the Hawks’ pitchers racked up 13 strikeouts in the contest.
At the plate Hiland managed just six hits but took advantage of walks and three Harrison Central miscues to produce a nice cushion on the scoreboard.
The Hawks went scoreless in the first but got rolling in the second, posting a three-spot without courtesy of a hit.
Casey Kalman, Kandel and Tyler Kline all walked around a pair of outs, but with two outs a walk to Michael Miller forced in a run and two more scampered home on a sharply hit ground ball to short off the bat of Andy Miller that went for an error.
Hiland failed to score in the third, but again a walk opened the door for a run in the fourth with Derek Burke drawing an opening walk and coming around to score on Hershberger’s single.
Hiland earned its final three markers in the sixth. Cordell Miller was hit by a pitch, and consecutive singles from Kandel and Burke plated a run. Michael Miller’s long double to the gap in left center scored the final two runs of the game.
“It’s a long stretch between sectional finals and district semis, and it was important for us to get a game so we can stay sharp,” Dages said. “I’m glad we were able to pick up a game against a quality team.”
In the win over Buckeye Trail, Kandel went six sparkling innings for the win, allowing just one hit, striking out eight while walking two.
At the plate Cordell Miller banged out three hits in as many plate appearances, scoring three times while driving in a run. Michael Miller, Hershberger, Kandel and Kline all ripped a pair of hits while Cameron Miller drove home a pair of runs.
Hiland got everything it needed to put away the Warriors by posting a seven-run second inning.
Martins Ferry proved to be much more capable at the plate, but the result was similar to Hiland’s opening win over Buckeye Trail in a 13-3 victory.
Cordell Miller went the distance for the Hawks, picking up the win. He allowed three earned runs on 10 hits while striking out four and issuing a walk.
While Hiland bunched its runs against Buckeye Trail, it systematically pulled away from Martins Ferry.
The Hawks scored three runs in the first inning, the big blow being a two-run double off the bat of Cameron Miller. Hiland produced two more in the second when Andy Miller mashed a two-run home run.
Hiland plated three more runs in the third inning when Tyler Kline doubled, Michael Miller singled and Andy Miller doubled.
The Hawks effectively shut the game down in the fourth inning by scoring five runs. Kandel doubled home a run, and after Kalman reached on an error, Kline singled in a run and Michael Miller smoked a homer to left center.
Michael Miller and Andy Miller each collected three hits, both hitting home runs, while Michael Miller scored three times and drove home four and Andy Miller knocked in three runs.
Kline had two hits and scored three runs, and Kandel added a pair of hits while adding two RBI.