HILLMAN-The Hillman baseball team's struggles against Tawas on Monday can be traced to one thing.
The Tigers simply didn't hit the ball well enough.
Hillman managed 10 hits on the day to Tawas' 25 and lost to the Braves 7-1 and 13-0 in a baseball doubleheader at Hillman High School.
News Photo by James Andersen
Hillman’s Jordon VanPamel, right, makes contact with a pitch during the first game of a baseball doubleheader Monday at Hillman High School.
After being no-hit for nearly four innings in the opener, the Tigers got their first hit in the fourth inning when Mason VanPamel singled.
Michael Klein, Jordon VanPamel and Caleb Zimmer also had hits and Zimmer had an RBI.
Hillman's troubles at the plate were compounded by the fact that when the Tigers did get base runners, they couldn't score them. Twice in the opener and three times in the nightcap, Hillman left two runners aboard.
"That's the story of our season. We get two outs and we start a rally and we leave guys stranded," Hillman coach Rick Firman said. "I can't tell you how many times we've had bases loaded and scored maybe a run, but never (had) a big inning."
Tawas wasted no time scoring in the opener, knocking in two runs in the first inning and adding three more in the third inning, two of which came on a two-run double by Dan Howell.
The Tigers' lone run came in the fifth inning when Zimmer singled in Klein.
Tawas added its last two runs in the fifth inning.
Kyle Henigan took the loss for Hillman, pitching three innings and allowing five runs on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Henigan was relieved by Dylan Ross.
Jared Bielby earned the win for the Braves, striking out six and walking two with four hits allowed.
Tawas got off to a fast start again in the nightcap, building a 4-0 lead in the first inning. The Braves added four runs in the second inning, three in the third inning and two in the fifth inning.
Hillman got runners on second and third with no outs in the first inning, but Tawas escaped the jam after getting fly ball outs to shortstop and first base and Tyler Samuels fanned Henigan for the final out.
"We didn't play well at all, that's for sure. We're really struggling hitting the ball right now. We're hitting too many balls in the air and not enough on the ground," Firman said. "We need to hit them on the ground and make them make plays instead of catching pop-ups."
Bielby, Samuels and Jordan Vanderveen each had three hits for Tawas and Samuels and Hunter Walker each had three RBI.
Hillman stranded two runners each in the third and fifth innings, unable to give any run support to Mason VanPamel who started on the mound, allowing eight runs on eight hits with two walks and a strikeout before being relieved by Zimmer after two innings.
The Tigers' pitchers seemed to get more comfortable as the games went on, but the early offensive spurts by Tawas sank Hillman into holes it couldn't get out of.
I don't think we were comfortable with the strike zone in the first game early," Firman said. (We were) leaving a lot of balls up, not getting the outside corner, but that happens. You've got to adjust to what the umpire's giving you and we didn't make the adjustments and we paid for it."
Samuels pitched the first three innings for Tawas, striking out three and walking one while allowing three hits. Walker pitched the final two innings.
Klein led Hillman with two hits.