WEST UNITY – The Hilltop Cadets welcomed in the Pettisville Blackbirds for a round of BBC baseball on the evening of April 15…tax day. Those being taxed the most on this day were the denizens of the Hilltop dugout, as the back and forth battle swung wildly in the favor of the Blackbirds in the sixth inning, resulting in a 15-9 win for the visitors. The key to the contest proved to be the bugaboo that afflicted both teams on this night…errors.
Pettisville opened with a 3-0 lead out of the gate, and expanded it to 4-0 in the middle of the second. Hilltop solved Pettisville hurler in the home half of the second to tie the game at 4-4, but the Birds cashed in on single tallies in the third and fourth innings to reclaim a lead. Not to be undone, the Cadet Cadre answered with a pair in the bottom of the fourth to knock Miller out of the box, and retie the game at 6-6.
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Pettisville went back on top 7-6 with a run that chased Hilltop starter, Logan Brooker. Miklo Abner came on to shut down the Blackbirds, but the sixth inning proved to be the undoing of Hilltop. Pettisville batted around, and had plenty of help from the Hilltop defense that committed two costly errors in the top of the sixth. Two outs and four runs later, Abner was knocked out in favor of Nic Schieber, but the lefty was to fare no better. Before he could retire the final batter, the Blackbirds hit him up for four more runs to take a 15-6 lead into the seventh. The Cadets mounted a last ditch rally against Pettisville reliever Cam Norris, but the three runs they got across in the bottom of the seventh were simply too little and too late.
Miller went the first 3 2/3 innings for Pettisville, allowing 6 runs, 5 earned on 6 hits and 5 walks, striking out 5. Norris finished and gave up 3 runs, 2 earned on 2 hits, walking 5 and striking out the same.
Dustin Nofziger had an RBI on a triple and 2 singles for the Blackbirds, while Eli King had a trio of singles and 3 RBIs. Tate Kauffman and Tanner Rufenacht each had a pair of RBI base hits, and Jacob Roth had a single and a double.
Brooker took the loss for Hilltop, allowing 7 runs, 5 earned on 8 hits and 3 walks in 4 1/3 innings, striking out a pair. Abner was touched for 4 runs on 3 hits and 2 passes in 1 1/3 of an inning, and Schieber labored for 1/3 of an inning in which he was hit for 4 runs on 5 hits and a walk. Chad Champion finished with a scoreless inning in which he registered a pair of Ks.
Champion had 3 singles and 2 RBIs for the Cadets, Josh Phillips had a pair of singles and an RBI, and Abner lashed an RBI double. Collin Sabins had a 2-RBI single, and Schieber added a base hit.
Runs / Hits / Errors
Pettisville 15 – 16 – 5
Hilltop 9 – 8 – 6