Cleveland Indian ace Corey Kluber is known in the baseball world as Klubot because his precision, talent and ability to mow hitters down appears to be almost robotic in nature.
Kluber’s got nothing on the Hiland Senior League (15 and 16 year olds) baseball hurlers.
A bevy of Hawks tossed goose eggs all over the year in the round robin games at the Peru, Illinois central regional. The Hawks faced Kentucky Central in both teams’ opener on Saturday, July 22, and the trio of Ryan Hershberger, Tyler Kline and Kevin Borntrager all threw two quality innings in stopping Kentucky 5-0.
In the game versus Kentucky, Hershberger drew the opening start and twirled two scoreless innings, allowing two hits while striking out one and not walking a hitter. Kline then came on and continued the string of zeroes with two and two-thirds sparkling innings of relief in which he allowed just one hit, walked a pair and struck out one.
The Hawks would finally get to Kentucky reliever Braden Mays in the third when Andy Miller walked, stole second and scored on Hershberger’s single to center. Hiland got three more in the next inning to put some distance between itself and Kentucky. Ricky Miller and Drew Yoder put together walks around a pair of outs, and after Yoder stole second, both scampered home on Kline’s single with Kline taking second on the throw home. Andy Miller and Hershberger then drew walks before Casey Kalman was hit by a pitch, forcing home Kline. Hiland got its fifth run of the game in the sixth when Kline walked and moved around the bases on a pair of balks and a wild pitch.
While Hiland was scratching out five runs on just three hits in the game, the Hawks’ mound men continued to shine throughout. Borntrager relieved Kline with two outs in the fifth, and he too was dominant, twirling two and one-third innings of shutout baseball. He allowed a lone walk to reach base as the Hawks limited their walks, something they had not done well at state.
Game two saw a much stiffer challenge from Michigan, but the pitching was just as incredible in game two as it was in the opener.
This time it was Korrie “Bones” Hostetler toeing the rubber, and he threw what was conceivably his best game of the summer in the 2-0 victory.
Hostetler went five and two-thirds strong innings, scattering four hits and walking one while striking out two. Mike Shoup came in and tossed two-thirds of an inning, and Andy Miller closed out the contest strong for the save.
While Hiland’s pitching was dominant, so too was Michigan’s, a trio of hurlers limiting Hiland to just four hits.
The Hawks nicked starter and loser Nick Lambert for a single tally in the third inning. Kline was again the catalyst, singling to open the inning. He moved to second on Andy Miller’s walk, and Hershberger’s single loaded the bases. Kobe Shetler then hit into a double play, but Kline would score on the play to give Hiland the lead.
Hiland added a huge insurance run in the fifth off of reliever Joe Collins, and again it was Kline doing the damage. With one out Kline smoked a double to left, and after Andy Miller struck out, Hershberger slapped a single to right to score Kline.
With the win the Hawks improved to 2-0 in round robin play, setting themselves up nicely for the single-elimination portion of the tournament with a top seed.