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Prep baseball: Hinckley-Big Rock's season ends with loss in regional semifinals

BIG ROCK – Every baseball game has a story to tell. For the players on the Hinckley-Big Rock baseball team, they just did not get the hits.

The Royals lost to Elgin Academy, 16-1, in the Hinckley-Big Rock Class 1A Regional semifinals Wednesday.

“The competition was really good,” senior center fielder Spencer Brown said. “We came out and tried to play good, but they kind of got the best of us today. They hit the ball well.”

Hinckley-Big Rock ends its season at 7-13. In the past three years, the Royals had five wins combined.

Coach Matt Olsen said the team is a developing program and much of the credit for building it up goes to the seniors.

“That’s a testament to those seniors and their leadership,” Olsen said. “That’s going to be instilled in our younger players as we move forward. I’m proud of them.”

In the first inning, Christian Rodriquez, Ethan Plantz, Reece Zonts, CJ Carani and Colin Konicek all came home on singles to put the Hilltoppers ahead, 5-0.

Ethan Hill hit a three-run home run for Elgin Academy in the second inning for an 8-0 lead.

“Their player hit a bomb over the fence,” Brown said. “There’s not really anything you can do about that.”

Even down by eight runs, the players said the Royals never gave up.

“You can’t quit,” senior first baseman Brian Bohannon said. “You have to be able to put your head back in the game,” Bohannon said.

Four more runs in the third and fourth innings clinched the win for the Elgin Academy.

Rodriquez was their leadoff and hit 4 for 4, had four runs scored and four stolen bases. Connor Bullard scored the only run for H-BR in the fourth inning. He came home on an error by their third baseman.

Hunter Swanson went 2 for 2 and had 1 RBI for Hinckley-Big Rock.

“They crushed the ball,” senior shortstop Tate Sanderson said. “For the most part, they found some spots.”

Richard Hintzsche, a freshman, pitched for the Royals.

“[Hintzsche] is going to be a good pitcher by the time he is a senior,” Olsen said. “Spencer Brown threw a heck of a game on Monday. He was ineligible to play due to pitch counts until Saturday.”

Tate Sanderson would have been the No. 2 pitcher for H-BR.

“Tate has been nursing a shoulder injury all week,” Olsen said. “He didn’t have it in him in the shoulder to go today.

“He wanted to play shortstop. He made the plays out there.”

Elgin Academy advances with a 22-4 record.

“Coming into the game, we knew they had a good record,” senior second baseman Cody Cleaveland said. “We thought we could pull off an upset if we hit the ball well. It just didn’t happen.”

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