Memorable Hillcrest career for Eli Ours

By Paul D. Bowker
Posted 7/23/21

LISBON

Not long after Hillcrest Academy’s season-ending loss in a district championship game on July 17, Eli Ours looked senior classmate London Schrock in the eyes.

And they …

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Memorable Hillcrest career for Eli Ours

Posted

LISBON

Not long after Hillcrest Academy’s season-ending loss in a district championship game on July 17, Eli Ours looked senior classmate London Schrock in the eyes.

And they hugged.

And then, player by player, Ours hugged and greeted the rest of his teammates. For the last time.

Parents stepped onto the baseball field at Lisbon City Park and took group photographs for their electronic scrapbooks.

Ours, a multisport athlete at Hillcrest and certainly one of the school’s top student representatives, wandered from picture to picture and chatted with his teammates in the final act of a high school athletic career that began when he was in the eighth grade.

“Every sport, not just baseball, he’s kind of the standard,” said Noah Miller, a Hillcrest junior who is one of the many underclassmen who look up to Ours. “I thoroughly enjoyed playing with him. Those are some big shoes that we’re going to have to fill for next year.”

A 4-2 loss to Lisbon in the Class 1A playoff game had left Ours contemplating his future at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and his unforgettable years at Hillcrest Academy.

“The last four years at Hillcrest has just been amazing, both in the classroom and on the basketball court and the soccer field and baseball diamond,” Ours said. “It’s just really a great community and great people to be around.”

Ours was a Raven until the final moment. For the second time in six days, he pitched the entire ballgame for Hillcrest. He gave up just five hits and two earned runs against a Lisbon squad that had scored 23 runs in its first two tournament games. He was one of two Ravens to get two hits.

But after this game, there were no tears. It was almost a celebration for the Ravens, who had defeated English Valleys and North Cedar earlier in the week to reach Saturday’s district title showdown. It was a final Hillcrest game not only for Ours, but for London Schrock, the oldest of three brothers in the team’s starting lineup. London Schrock had a .405 batting average, trailing only sophomore brother Luke’s .407 average.

At the center of it all was Ours, a soft-spoken leader who first became a part of the Ravens lineup as an eighth-grader in 2017.

“He’s been that guy that’s been a big part of what we do for a long time,” said Hillcrest head coach Danny Hershberger. “He’s played varsity since his eighth-grade year, he’s been batting in the top of our order, first or second, for the last four years. Just an excellent kid. A great leader for us.”

Eli’s legacy will remain alive on Hillcrest’s athletic fields, and in the school’s hallways, for a long time.

He didn’t miss a start in three years with the boys soccer team, and was on two teams that made it to the state tournament.

In basketball, he led the Ravens in scoring the last three seasons and totaled 1,185 points in four years. He played in every game over those four years and missed just four starts while being coached by Dwight Gingerich.

“Playing basketball for Dwight is, it’s awesome,” Ours said. “He is one of the best coaches in the state.”

And in baseball, Ours never missed a start in four years. He hit over .300 in all four high school years after making his debut in 2017 as an eighth-grader. As a pitcher, he had 10 wins, including a perfect 5-0 record as a sophomore in 2019.

“I couldn’t be more proud of him, and what he’s been able to accomplish in his career here,” Hershberger said.

“He’s such an amazing player on the field and he’s such an amazing role model off the field,” Miller said. “He’s been through the motions so many times. He’s one of the main leaders, if not the leader of the team.”

At the end of a night, Ours was always a competitor. And he was always a proud Raven. There has never been a doubt about that.

What would he say to a student thinking about attending Hillcrest?

“I would definitely tell them yes,” Ours said. “We would love to have them here and I think they would love it.”

A proud Raven indeed.

News columnist Paul Bowker can be reached at bowkerpaul1@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @bowkerpaul.

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