Next school year, Lakota East senior Evan Hills had planned to be attending the University of Cincinnati as a student majoring in education. However, after witnessing Hills strikeout 11 batters in a complete game against Princeton earlier this month, the senior pitcher was offered a spot on the UC baseball team.
“After watching me pitch against Princeton where I had around 11 K’s, they called me right away,” Hills said. “I visited and watched a UC/Louisville game and they offered a roster spot … I was already going to that college, so it was just a dream come true.”
Hills put in another dream performance this afternoon when he didn’t walk a single batter in a complete-game, 86-pitch performance against rival Lakota West. Hills’ performance led to his fifth win of the season and 4-1 win against the Firebirds.
“He is just a guy you can count on to keep you in games,” Lakota East head coach Ray Hamilton said of Hills. “He has huge upside. If you throw 30 pounds on him, now you are talking about a kid that is touching 90 – with that kind of stuff – I think that is what UC saw.”
Lakota West hitters didn’t see much to hit and managed to get on base five times in seven innings. Furthermore, not a single Firebird batter recorded more than one hit against Hills during the entire afternoon.
Meanwhile, Lakota East batters got on base five times and scored four runs in the bottom of the third inning. Senior Jesse Rait drove in the first two runs of the game with a single, which was followed by a two-run single by senior Mitch Geers two batters later. Both singles were ground balls through the middle of the infield.
In the top of the third, Lakota West had runners on second and third with one out and failed to score. Junior Kenton LeVay was tagged out near home plate after senior T.J. Belieu failed to make contact on a suicide bunt attempt. Later in the at-bat, Belieu popped out to the first baseman.
“We didn’t capitalize on opportunities early in the game and they did,” Lakota West head coach Bill Dreisbach said. “The effort was there, but I just think we need more of a killer instinct. I didn’t feel like we had that today. I felt like we just went through the motions.”
Dreisbach’s Firebirds will have another opportunity to show the Thunderhawks their killer instinct when the two teams meet on Monday, April 25, at Lakota West at 5 p.m.
With today’s win, Lakota East improves to 9-3 overall and 8-2 within the Greater Miami Conference. After the loss, Lakota West falls to 9-6 overall and 6-5 in the GMC.