Hawks upset in regional
Despite a rather rough start to the season, the Prairie Central Hawks were able to turn things around and put together a solid 2018 campaign, which included being the inaugural Illini Prairie Conference champions.
This run of success came to an abrupt end Wednesday, however, as the second-seeded Hawks committed five errors en route to a 13-3 loss to the eighth-seeded Bismarck-Henning Blue Devils in the Class 2A Hoopeston Regional semifinals.
“We just picked a bad day to have a bad day,” Prairie Central head coach Luke Krippel said. “We just really didn’t play well, and it was bad timing as far as that goes. Things early didn’t go our way, and it just kept heading in that direction.”
After the Hawks and Blue Devils held a 1-1 tie going into the third inning, things began to go south for PC. Bismarck-Henning tagged Hawks’ starter Peyton Rigsby for four runs in the frame to take a 5-1 lead.
Two errors proved costly for the Hawks in the inning, as the Blue Devils only put together two hits to put up the four runs. The big hit was a two-run single by Chase Rademacher.
The Hawks were able to respond with two runs in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run shot by Billy Printz, making it 5-3. This gave the Hawks a glimmer of hope.
Rigsby left with a line of five runs (four earned) on six hits. He walked four and struck out three in three innings pitched. Printz would take over in the fourth for the Hawks.
The Blue Devils were far from done on the offensive end. They put one more on the board in the fourth. A walk followed by another single by Rademacher made it 6-3. An error the following inning led to another Blue Devil score, making it 7-3.
The sixth inning was disastrous for the Hawks. The Blue Devils erupted for six more runs on five hits, topped off by a solo bomb by Colten Arford to make it 13-3. The Hawks were again plagued by errors in the inning, committing two.
The Hawks were unable to muster anything in the bottom half of the inning despite singles by Rigsby and Ryan Rhoda. In fact, the Hawks were not able to get much of anything going against Blue Devils starter Wade Edwards, who finished the game with a line of three runs on seven hits, no walks and seven strikeouts.
“You have to tip your hat,” Krippel said of Edwards. “He was tough; he kept us off balance. Tip your cap to their defense too. We hit the ball hard and they made plays.”
Outside of the home run by Printz, the other run manufactured by the Hawks came on a first inning RBI single by Printz, scoring Carter Nowak.
The Blue Devils also scored in the first inning. After Arford hit a triple, he was brought in on a ground out the next play.
Printz threw the remaining three innings, yielding eight runs (six earned) on six hits. He walked three and struck out two.
The Hawks, who finished the season at 17-12, were led by Printz’s two hits and three RBIs. Rigsby also had a pair of hits. Rhoda, Nowak and Lito Macias each had one hit for PC.
The Blue Devils will advance to face the winner of Champaign St. Thomas More and Hoopeston in the Hoopeston regional championship on Saturday.