The Hiland Hawks baseball team continued to make a statement that they again have every intention of ruling the roost in the Inter-Valley Conference.
The Hawks squared off with one of their main challengers in the IVC South in Ridgewood on Monday, April 22, hosting the Generals at Lehman Field. Hiland dominated in every phase of the game, getting a combined two-hitter from Ryan Hershberger and Andy Miller while the offense pounded out a dozen hits in handing the Generals an 8-0 defeat.
Neither team pushed across a run in the first inning, and after Hershberger bore through a perfect second frame, the Hawks came in and went to work. Kevin Borntrager doubled to open the inning and was sacrificed to third by Kobe Shetler and came home on Ricky Miller’s sacrifice fly. Shetler, who had reached when Ridgewood’s defense failed to make a play on his bunt, moved around to score on consecutive singles from Tyler Kline and Hershberger to make it 2-0.
Moments later Andy Miller’s single to center would plate both Kline and Hershberger to make it 4-0, but after Casey Kalman doubled to move runners to second and third, Drew Yoder popped out to finish the inning.
Hershberger danced around a walk and an error in the third inning to keep the Generals off the board and another error in the fourth inning to keep the Hawks ahead 4-0. In the bottom of the fourth Hiland would add to its lead.
Brett Miller grounded out before Kline laid down a perfect bunt single. Hershberger flew out, and Andy Miller was hit by a pitch, allowing Kline to race home on Kalman’s RBI single to center. A 5-0 lead would become 6-0 one batter later when Drew Yoder slashed an RBI single to left.
Gabe Tingle would finally get Ridgewood’s first hit in the fifth inning on a single to right field, but Hershberger would easily erase the Generals. Hiland went down quickly in the bottom of the inning, and Andy Miller took over mound duties for Hiland and promptly gave up a double and a walk with nobody out. Just as quickly as he had gotten in trouble, he got out of it by sandwiching a routine ground out around a pair of strike-outs to maintain the 6-0 lead.
Hiland tacked on two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning when Hershberger, Andy Miller and Kalman hit consecutive doubles.
That would be more than enough for the Hawks as Andy Miller cruised through the seventh inning and improved the Hawks’ season record to 12-1 on the season while they remain perfect in the IVC South.
Hershberger went the first five innings, allowing just one hit while striking out six and walking one. Miller finished up by twirling two innings of one-hit ball, striking out three and walking a pair.
Kalman slammed three hits, driving in a pair including whacking a pair of doubles, while Andy Miller drove in three runs on two hits. Tyler Kline added three hits and scored twice while Hershberger added two hits. Hiland’s top-four batters went an impressive 10-of-14 at the plate on the night to do most of the damage against loser Chase Mine, who hurled six innings, allowing eight runs, four of those earned, on 13 hits. He struck out two and did not allow a base on balls.
Andy Miller continues his torrid pace at the plate, where he is now hitting a white-hot .625 on the campaign. He has 25 hits in 40 at-bats, having scored a team-high 21 runs while driving in a team-high 22. Kalman has driven in 21 runs and boasts a strong .447 batting average while Kline is hitting a robust .515 with 16 runs. Logan Miller is batting .563, and Hershberger is hitting .386 with 20 runs and 12 RBI.