Lane sends Hillsboro home

Tiger teammates love Colten Lane, as evidenced by their reaction to his first varsity home run to ice the Hillsboro win. The senior followed with a two-hit, four-RBI performance at Millsap.

After opening district against the three toughest squads on the schedule, Tiger baseball jumped on a plus-matchup at home March 27.

Glen Rose (5-5-3, 2-3) scored in four of five innings to get a 13-2 run-rule win over Hillsboro. The Tigers finished with more hits (9-3) and fewer errors (2-7).

"We're going to have to keep playing good," said coach James Evans. "We still have our backs against the wall. That was a good outing coming off the game against Grandview. I'm proud of our kids.

"We put pressure on them playing small ball, getting bunts down, and that was good to see. We played a good defensive game, especially later on."

Top hitters were Chance Nabours (2 singles, 2 RBIs), Hayden Holder (2 singles, 2 RBIs) and Drayton Williams (2 singles, RBI). They were the first two hits of the season for Holder, who recently made his season debut.

"Our confidence didn't drop, because we knew we were facing three pretty good teams," Holder said. "This did boost our confidence though. We've been working a lot on trying to get our bats going. It's good to see results."

Other offensive contributors were Colten Lane (HR, 2 RBIs), Dylan Hammond (single, RBI) and Layne McAnear (single, RBI). Lane's homer, the first of his varsity career, cemented the run rule in the home fifth.

"That was the funnest ending to a game that I've ever played in," Holder said. "(Lane) deserves it."

Jayton Dillard (5 IP, 2 R - 1 ER, 3 H, 2 W, 7 K) dominated on the mound.

"Dillard was solid on the mound," Evans said. "He was spotting it up, making it easy for the coaches to call pitches."

Dillard fanned three of four batters he faced in the Hillsboro first. Glen Rose made it 5-0 in the home first thanks to Dillard (walk), Hammond (safe on error), McAnear (RBI single), Preston Shuffield (safe on error), Nabours (RBI single, second run on error) and Holder (RBI single). Both of Holder's hits were infield singles where he beat the throw.

"Hayden has been working hard in rehab trying to get back to playing," Evans said. "He's a senior and he wants to be a part of this."

"It's just good to be back and be able to run well," Holder said.

While Dillard fanned three more in the second, a walk, two hits and the only two Tiger errors made the score 5-2. Glen Rose didn't score in the home second, as a runner was thrown out for the second-straight inning.

"I don't think we're getting the jump off the pitcher like we're supposed to, but we can fix that," Evans said.

Dillard retired the side in the third by letting his defense work. Glen Rose made it 8-2 in the home third on a Williams single, Lane reaching base via an error after a bunt with a run scoring, a McAnear walk, a Nabours RBI single and a Holder RBI groundout.

"Chance did a good job at the plate," Evans said. "He put the ball in play with runners in scoring position. That's key."

Catcher Williams threw a runner out at third on a Lane tag in the fourth, as Dillard only faced three batters once again.

"Jayton struggled against Peaster, so I thought he did really well in this one," Holder said.

The Tigers went up 9-2 in their fourth with a Hammond single and a Williams RBI single. In the Tiger fifth, a Holder single, a Hammond RBI groundout and Camron Rush (safe on error) scoring on a throwing error made it an 11-2 game with Lane stepping to the plate.

Lane smashed a two-run shot to left-center and high-fived Evans at third base on his way home with all the Tigers waiting to finalize the score.

The Tigers headed to Millsap March 30 and emerged with a 16-3 victory. Glen Rose finished with more hits (14-6) and fewer errors (2-7).

"We came out swinging the bat, including our guys off the bench," Evans said. "We executed small ball and did a good job moving runners."

Glen Rose led 4-0 through one inning and made it 9-0 in the fourth. Millsap plated two in the sixth on a two-out Tiger error, but Glen Rose came right back with five in the seventh to finish strong.

Shuffield (5 IP, 1 R - 1 ER, 4 H, 4 W, 5 K) got the start, as Lane (2 IP, 2 R - 0 ER, 2 H, 1 W, 3 K) sealed the deal.

"They did really well," said Dillard. "Preston had a good showing, and then Colten closed it for us."

"Shuffield pitched a good game and kept them off-balance all night," Evans said. "He spread out their hits and was pretty dominant. Colten got a little bullpen work."

After he moved to right field, Shuffield caught a fly ball and fired a strike to second for a double play.

"Guys were talking to make sure Preston knew the situation," Evans said. "We did a good job communicating."

Dillard led the offense with a triple, two singles and three RBIs.

"It was good timing with guys on second and third to drive in those runs," Dillard said of his two-RBI triple. "I'm starting to see the ball and working on it in practice."

"Dillard had a big night at the plate," Evans said. "He's a good leadoff."

Coming off his home run game, Lane hit a triple and a single with four RBIs.

"Colten is in a good place offensively right now," Dillard said.

"Colten had a great night at the plate," Evans said. "He's keeping his bat hot."

McAnear had three singles with an RBI.

"McAnear has been doing a good job making contact, and he's finally getting them to drop in there," Evans said.

Nabours, Trey Yocham, Holder and Gus Stoner each finished with a single and an RBI. Other hitters were Hammond (single), Williams (single), Shuffield (single) and Gage Costello (single). Stoner and Costello don't get to bat in most games.

"It really builds the team up and gives us more options if we ever have (an injury) happen," Dillard said.

"Those guys are doing a good job when they get a chance to bat," Evans said.

Although the Tigers made a couple of miscues in the field, Evans is seeing more consistency.

"We made all the routine plays outside of an error in the first," he said. "They did a good job."

The Tigers will now host Rio Vista April 3 at 6:30 p.m. following the 4 p.m. JV White game.

"We can still play better on defense," Dillard said.

"We still have to improve every day, but we're getting better at run production," Evans said. "We need to keep steady defense and have the pitching stay strong. No matter who we're playing, we're going to play our best game."