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The Hornets opened the 2021 baseball season with an impressive, 8-0 victory over McLean County at Vastwood Park’s Tommy Keown Field Monday. Hancock County pitchers Cole Dixon, Ryan Ogle and Brock Tindle combined to throw a no-hitter.
“Pitching was my major concern coming into the season so this performance was just what we wanted,” HCHS coach Brad Keown said.
The Hornets got on the scoreboard early when Dixon and Austin Volocko scored in the first inning. Dixon doubled and scored on a base hit by Sam Walz in the second, and HCHS added two more runs in the fourth when Drew Lyday scored on a hit by Hunter Severs, who later stole home to give the Hornets a 5-0 lead. The home team sent a runner home in the fifth before two more scored in the sixth.
The Hornets were active on the base paths as they stole eight bases as a team.
Dixon got the start on the mound and earned the win. He struck out three and walking two over five innings. Ogle had two Ks in one inning of relief, and Tindle had two Ks and one walk while pitching the seventh frame.
“Cole hadn’t thrown a lot of high school ball, but I told him we were going to have to utilize his arm and he bought in. He came to me on Saturday and said ‘coach I want the first game’. That means a lot and it shows he’s got the (right) mentality. He threw five strong innings for us, then Ryan Ogle came in and threw great. We brought in the freshman, Brock Tindle, to close out the game,” coach Keown said.
Grant Lovell was the losing pitcher for McLean.
Walz was 1 for 2 at the plate with three RBI and two stolen bases. Dixon was 1 for 2 with a double, two stolen bases and three runs scored, and Severs was 1 for 2 with one RBI. Volocko was 1 for 3 with one RBI, and Lyday was 1 for 3. Andrew Boutcher was 0 for 1 with one RBI, and Colin Johnson scored a run.
Volocko hits walk-off HR
Austin Volocko hit a walk-off home run during the Hornets 12-2 win in five innings over Ohio County here Tuesday. Hancock County improved to 2-0 on the season following the 10-run rule victory.
Ohio County led by a score of 2-1 after two innings when the Eagles’ pitcher did the Hornets a favor in the third. Deacon Addis walked Volocko then hit Sam Walz, and that’s when Hancock County began utilizing their speed on the base paths.
Volocko stole second and third base then scored on a wild pitch. Walz stole second and later put HCHS ahead 3-2 when he scored on a base hit by Logan Willis. Jake Frames made it 4-2 when he singled in Willis.
The score was unchanged until the fifth, when the Hancock County bats caught fire.
After a walk to start the frame, the Hornets collected three straight hits. An RBI single by Walz followed by back-to-back doubles by Willis and Frames.
Cole Dixon later kept the inning alive when he doubled in two runs with two outs. The score was 11-2 when Volocko came to the plate for the second time in the frame. The sophomore center fielder worked the count until he got the pitch he wanted then connected for a shot that cleared the left field fence for a walk-off homer via the 10-run rule.
“Austin got the pitch he wanted and absolutely mashed it. He cleared the fence by about 40 feet,” the coach said.
The Hornets swiped 11 bases on the night, giving the team 19 stolen bases on the season.
“I realized early on that we have a very quick team so I told them up front that we were going to utilize our speed and be aggressive on the base paths,” coach Keown explained. “It’s definitely been a focal point for us and the guys have bought in and really excelled.”
Walz earned the win on the mound in relief. Sam allowed one earned run on five hits, with two walks over four innings. Willis allowed one earned run on two hits, with one K and one walk in one inning pitched. Willis was pulled from the mound after getting his hand stepped on.
Willis was 3 for 3 with a double and one RBI, and Frames was 2 for 3 with a double and two RBI. Volocko was 1 for 2 with the home run, one RBI and three stolen bases, and Walz was 1 for 2 with two RBI. Dixon was 1 for 2 with a double, two RBI and three stolen bases, Drew Lyday was 1 for 3, and Andrew Boutcher was 1 for 3. Colin Johnson, Hunter Severs and Pax Lewko all scored one run each.
By Steve Wimmer