|Miller Grove had more hits, but drops game two against Union Hill 10-7|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
May 21, 2005 - PARIS - In baseball's big three categories - runs, hits and errors - the Miller Grove Hornets led Union Hill in two of them at the end of the Class A regional quarterfinal game Friday. But, it wasn't the most important one.
The Hornets had more hits than Union Hill, but also more errors in a 10-7 loss to the Bulldogs that closed out the best-of-three playoff series at Hub Hollis Field.
Union Hill (21-5) will advance to play either Windthorst or Covington in the regional semifinals. Miller Grove ends its season at 15-6.
In a reversal of Tuesday's Game 1, in which the teams combined for just one error in a crisply-played contest, Friday's Game 2 saw the squads make a combined 13 miscues to go along with 19 hits, four hit batters and five walks.
"We got on the board, and we finally got to the guy with a big fourth-inning," said MGHS head coach Sam Panter. "As a matter of fact, we out-hit them, 10-9, then you look at errors, 9-4.
"We played a real good ball the first game. This game, they gave us every opportunity to win it - they made some bobbles - we pulled ahead, and we needed to hold them. But, we made some errors. In playoff baseball, you can't make the errors. You have to play solid."
Union Hill was able to erase Miller Grove's five-run fourth inning, spurred by the bottom of the Hornet batting order, by putting up six runs in the final three innings.
MG senior Frank Weaver, who came into the game with a 7-0 record, took the loss as he gave up eight runs, but only three of them earned, in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out 11 and allowed eight hits.
Weaver led the team at the plate with a 3-for-4 game. Younger brother James Weaver had one hit but reached base all four times on a walk, error and hit-by-pitch.
The Hornets were able to get to Union Hill starter Dallas Jones for six runs (four earned) on nine hits in four innings. They also scored an earned run against Brady Jones before Game 1 starter Shawn Hayes settled down the game with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief.
The game opened ominously for the Hornets when Hayes, who reached base safely in all five plate appearances, got on via on error - one of four the Hornets committed in the first inning. Brady Jones also reached on an error and both runners scored.
Miller Grove chipped away at the 2-0 deficit in the third when Whillock reached on a fielder's choice and scored when Cole Schoenky beat out a slow infield roller.
Union Hill, though, responded with two more runs in the fourth as the Hornets committed two more errors to go with hits from Union Hill's Brock Blair and Hayes.
Down 4-1 going into their half of the fourth, the Hornets had the best inning of the two-game series. B.J. Shoemaker and Allan Meadows started the rally with back-to-back one-out singles. Then, Heath Meadows, Yan Heijligers and Frank Weaver had consecutive run-scoring singles to tie the game at 4-4.
The Hornets took the lead when James Weaver rocketed a two-out single off the third baseman's glove, with two runs scoring following a throwing error. That put the Hornets up, 6-4.
But, Union Hill again came back, scoring a run in the fifth and then three in the sixth to go up, 8-6. The Bulldogs also tacked on two unearned runs in the seventh.
Miller Grove, though, didn't go down quietly. Whillock and James Weaver walked and Cole Schoenky was hit by a pitch to load the bases in the sixth, with Whillock scoring on a wild pitch. Then, in the seventh, pinch hitter Billy Giles singled with two outs, but it was the only runner to reach base against Hayes.
"I'm proud of my kids. They didn't give up," Panter said. "They came back and scored. We'd boot the ball, then we'd come back and make some good plays. We got after it - we didn't give up, so I'm proud of them."