Hillwood High School’s varsity baseball team played more games this year than ever before, and the lessons learned on the field over the long season paid off in the playoffs, as the Hilltoppers advanced to the district championship game, and then to the regional tournament.
“We were a really young team and played a lot of baseball (36 games) during the regular season,” coach Randy Harrell said.
“Our young players got to see some top-notch teams and they competed really well,” Harrell said.
Harrell said the freshmen and sophomores were the backbone of the team, and pointed out freshman Hal Page in particular.
“He was our most improved player. He’s the school’s starting quarterback and hasn’t played a lot of baseball, but he came in and worked hard from game one to our last game, I’ve never seen a player progress like he did,” Harrell said.
The coach also praised freshman James Galloway and sophomores Xavier Gilliam and Matt Coyle.
“These young guys carried our team. They had amazing years,” he said.
Harrell also said junior catcher Patrick Coyle played a huge role. “He led the team in batting and played great behind the plate. We have a really good group of experienced players returning,” Harrell said.
Three players who won’t be returning that the coach said will be sorely missed are seniors Rollie Hunt, Matthew Gibson and Connor Robinson.
“Rollie pitched in every big game for us. He showed you don’t have to throw 99 mph to win,” Harrell said. “And Matthew put his heart and soul into moving to short-stop and came up really big for us,” he added.
“Connor went 6-11 in the Districts, we couldn’t advanced without him.” Harrell said.
“The way these young men played this year really has me excited for the future,” Harrell noted.
Young Hillwood Team Finishes Year Strong