PORTER TWP. | Boone Grove relief pitchers Jon Hogg and Dean Hill did their best work with the bases loaded.
Hogg got a pop-up to escape a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning, and Hill got a strikeout and a ground out to get out of a bases-loaded situation in the sixth to help Boone beat Kouts 5-3 in Porter County Conference play Friday.
"Both were very huge," Boone coach Rollie Thill said of the relievers. "They've been around sports a long time. They know they need to come in and do a job, and they did."
Ahead 4-3 in the fifth, Hogg came on in relief after Jared Thill walked Andrew Birky with two out to force in the second run of the inning. Hogg needed just two pitches to end the inning, getting Jon Frame to pop up to catcher Jason Sawa.
In the sixth, two walks and an error on a sacrifice bunt loaded the bases with one out. Hill came in and struck out Dan Cullison looking on a 3-2 pitch and got Max Everaert to ground out to first. Hill worked a perfect seventh inning to get the save.
"We had our chances definitely there," Kouts coach Matt Weston said. "We had the heart of the order up, and just one more hit would have made the difference. But you have to give Boone credit. They made the pitches and the plays."
The Wolves (6-2-1, 1-0 PCC) put up three runs in the fourth inning to take a 4-1 lead after the Mustangs had tied it in the top of the inning. Thill singled to shallow right to score a run. The other two runs scored when Hill hit a ground ball to short, and the Mustangs couldn't turn a double play. The throw from Cullison went past Frame and allowed the third run to score.
"When a team scores on you, you've got to come back at them," Thill said. "We've just got to be able to come back at them, and we did."
Thill struck out nine in 4 2/3 innings to earn the win for Boone. He allowed just four hits.
Sawa, Hill and Thill each had two hits to lead the Wolves. Hill drove in two runs.
"We had a lot of guys do a lot of different things at different times in the game," Thill said.
Jake Bekelya reached base three times, including a double, to lead the Mustangs (3-4, 1-1 PCC). Frame had a run-scoring double in the fourth inning.
Everaert gave up five runs on eight hits in taking the loss. He struck out 12 in six innings.