|Bluebird Softball Snaps Three-Game Losing Streak|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior Joe Steiden makes a catch in a recent game.|
The game-winning run came in the bottom of the fifth inning after both teams scored once in the third. All three runs were earned. The Bluebirds moved to 8-1 against 9th Region opponents.
"It's always good to win close games," said Jeremy Baioni, Highlands Head Coach. "Preparing for the district and region tournaments, you expect and anticipate a lot of close games. It was good to play good enough defense to keep a lead until the end. That's a really good team. They swing it really well and are aggressive at the plate. When they put it in play, they put it in play hard."
Senior Drew Rom out-dualed senior Evan Schlinger for the win. Rom struck out 14 and walked just one. Schlinger struck out five and walked two.
Beechwood junior John Odom went 2-for-3 to lead all hitters. But senior Tyler Gulley and junior Cooper Schwalbach had doubles for Highlands. Schwalbach scored one and hit one in. Junior Kyle Winkler scored the other one and senior Sam Hennigan had the run batted in. Hennigan and junior Chris Bridwell also had hits.
"(Schlinger) was throwing a lot of junk. He was throwing a lot of curve balls so we had to stay back," Gulley said. "It was a little tough at first. But toward the end, we started piecing some hits together."
Highlands plays host to Scott (5-11) on Tuesday. Game time is 5 p.m.
Highlands 12, Simon Kenton 11:
The Bluebirds (9-6 overall) escaped a bases-loaded situation with one out in the bottom of the seventh to snap a three-game losing streak in Independence against the host Lady Pioneers (11-4).
"We didn't play as well this weekend," said Rob Coffey, Highlands Head Coach. "We played some good teams this weekend. When you're not focused and ready, they're going to make you pay. We talked to them before the game (Monday). We said we have to get back on the right track. We got too good of a team and we're playing too well to let this take us down. The girls really responded."
Seventh grade pitcher Kennedy Baioni took over after eighth grader Gracie Schloser faced two batters before coming out with an injury in the first inning. Baioni got freshmen Macy Krohman and Haley Perry to pop out to end the game. At the plate, Baioni singled twice and drove in one.
Baioni faced 38 batters. She allowed 14 hits, walked two and struck out three.
Highlands outhit Simon Kenton, 18-15. Junior Rachel Gabbard led the way with five hits and three runs batted in. Senior Josie Daley had a home run, double and RBI with eighth grader Addie Mack hitting a home run, double and batting in two. Freshman Caroline Class had two hits including a double and drove in one.
"Being a part of the team, you want to give every effort to get on at all times so you can have bas runners," Class said. "When you have base runners, that's more of a chance that people are going to score. If you want to just do it for yourself, then you're not going to help. It's pretty much a team effort."
Coffey said the Bluebirds could have avoided the situation capitalizing better on opportunities. Highlands loaded the bases once with no out and had two lead-off doubles that did not come around to score during the game.
Highlands travels to Cincinnati Turpin on Tuesday. Game time is 5 p.m.