Thursday, April 19, 2018
But the Bluebirds (11-4 overall) took care of business Thursday with two more 9th Region wins moving to 5-0 in region action including 3-0 against 35th District teams. They defeated Covington Holmes, 14-1 then Covington Holy Cross, 13-0 both in five innings.
"It's necessary to get into a rhythm," said Jeremy Baioni, Highlands Head Coach. "It's been tough for our guys to get in rhythm at the plate and really for our pitchers too. Pitching one day a week and six, seven days in between starts is really difficult too to get into that rhythm so being able to play consecutive days and multiple games is really good. You saw what happened to us in Myrtle Beach when our guys were able to progress when they were able to get more swings against live pitching."
A number of players have stepped forward this year after waiting their turn for a few years. One example is junior Kyle Winkler.
"I think Coach Baioni and the Highlands program does a good job of developing players throughout the four years they play at the high school level," Winkler said. "By the time you get to your senior year, you're just ready to play at the highest level possible."
Highlands faces Covington Catholic (9-4) on Friday at Great American Ballpark. The game starts at 8 p.m.
Highlands 8, Cincinnati McNicholas 7:
The Bluebirds (7-2 overall) found themselves up 5-0 early before McNicholas rallied to go up 7-5 entering the bottom of the seventh. But Highlands rallied to win the game and nabbed its fifth straight win. Senior Brooke Dill had a sacrifice fly to win the game.
Highlands Head Coach Rob Coffey said the Bluebirds learned two big lessons in the win. They were keeping the petal to the medal when leading and to not go into cruise control when playing well.
"It was a really exciting game," Coffey said. "You have to remain focused or in this game, things will come back to bite you and they almost did (Thursday). McNich is a good team. It was nice to come back and answer the bell after we lost the lead."
McNicholas outhit Highlands, 12-11. Sophomore Abby Rust moved to the lead-off spot and led Highlands with four hits including a double and a run batted in. The Bluebirds also saw senior Ella Grimm record two hits including a double and eight-grader Anna Greenwell record two hits including a double and run batted in. Eight-grader Addie Mack added a triple and two runs batted in.
"We came into the seventh inning with a very enthusiastic attitude," Mack said. "Ella Grimm started off the inning with a double. I really think that kept us going. So I think if we just keep our enthusiasm up, that's how we will win games like that."
Eight-grader Gracie Schlosser threw a complete game for Highlands. She struck out three and walked one.
Highlands overcame two fielding errors in the win. The Rockets committed none.
Highlands takes on Bourbon County (9-6) on Friday. Game time is 5 p.m.
Campbell County 4, Highlands 1:
The Bluebirds could record another big win over a county rival on consecutive days.
The Highlands girls take on Notre Dame at Tower Park on Friday. Match time is 4 p.m.