Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Walz, Bluebirds benefit from run-ruling
But the Highlands Bluebirds baseball team had extra motivation to go out and play well. The Bluebirds wore orange uniforms in honor of freshman Brady Walz. Walz recently returned to school after battling Leukemia. All proceeds went to help him with his treatments.
Highlands did just that in a 10-0 five-inning run-ruiling of the Colonels on Tuesday at Highlands Park. The Bluebirds moved to 26-6 on the season. They also learned the loss to Henry Clay on April 11 turned into a 7-0 forfeit win.
"One of the greatest things about Highlands is the community," said Jeremy Baioni, Highlands Head Coach. "The Walz is a huge part of that. We talked to our guys. Brady would love to be out here playing, but he can't do it yet."
The community has shown a lot of support for Walz since his initial diagnosis last spring. The football team had an Orange theme during the game against Cincinnati Elder.
"It's been very nice to have the support of the Fort Thomas community with everything that I've been through," Walz said. "It's been very helpful. I was very excited to get back to school and everyone was very welcoming."
The Bluebirds avenged their only two 9th Region losses with the win. CovCath took two from Highlands, 15-5 in six innings and 5-4 in eight on May 2.
The domination began with junior pitcher Ricky Raisor and the error-free defense behind him. Raisor threw a complete game, striking out five, walking just one and allowing one hit. Raisor did not pitch well in the first game of the doubleheader 10 days ago.
"It felt pretty good," Raisor said. "I was going in there pounding the zone and staying down. Obviously in the game for Brady (Walz), it was great to win."
The Bluebirds scored four runs in the first inning and never looked back. They banged out 12 hits. Todd Ramey went 4-for-4 with a double, three runs batted in and a run scored. Alex Veneman went 3-for-3 with a triple and three runs scored and Conner Kreeger went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.
The first six Highlands batters reached in the first inning. Brady Murray led off with a double and scored when Kreeger singled. The Bluebirds executed three hit-and-run attempts in the inning.
"Coach (Baioni) has always said I'm the one who's going to get it started and everyone else is going to follow," Murray said. "I just tried to do what I could do. (The pitch) was outside so I stepped in on it and took it right past the third baseman."
Highlands extended the lead to 5-0 in the second. Veneman singled, stole second and scored when Ramey doubled.
"All the time we say if you give high school kids confidence, they can accomplish anything," Baioni said. "That really helped. A lot of times, we get down one or two runs, then we come back. We executed our game plan offensively."
The Bluebirds made it 7-0 with two more in the fourth. Veneman tripled and scored when Kreeger singled. Kreeger then scored when Ramey singled after stealing second.
Highlands finished the game in the fifth. Joseph Martin and Mark Walkenhorst scored on errors and Ramey singled in Veneman with the bases loaded to force the run-ruling.
Highlands takes on Dixie Heights on Wednesday. Game time is 5:30 p.m.
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