|Bluebirds Open Doc Morris Invitational with Impressive Win|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands sophomore Ethan Kavanagh digs in to make a play on the ball against Beechwood on Thursday. Highlands beat the Tigers, 9-6.|
But the visiting Highlands Bluebirds (7-3 overall) held on for the 9-6 9th Region victory over the Beechwood Tigers (8-3) on Thursday to start the Doc Morris Invitational. Highlands has won seven straight and moved to 2-0 in 9th Region action with the victory.
"You just have to stay relaxed," said Joe Steiden, Highlands senior. "I think we played a little tense in the field (Thursday), but we got lucky with a couple calls. You just have to stay loose when you're up like that in a difficult situation."
The Bluebirds outhit the Tigers, 13-7. Junior Kyle Winkler provided a big blow with a three-run home run in the top of the seventh to give Highlands a 9-4 lead.
"It's a great start to the (invitational)," said Jeremy Baioni, Highlands Head Coach. "Beechwood is one of the top teams in the region. They're swinging really well, playing good defense and they're pitching is good enough. It was really good to come out and put some runs on the board. We have some guys swinging well."
Steiden had another big game going 3-for-4 with a double and run scored and sophomore Ethan Kavanagh went 2-for-4 with a home run, a run batted in and two runs scored. Junior Bryce Ziegler also went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored and junior Trey Gabbard had two RBI. Senior Sam Hennigan added a triple for the Bluebirds.
Junior Grady Cramer started the game throwing five innings picking up the win. He struck out two. Sophomore Collin Hollingsworth pitched the last two innings.
"I'm really proud of the way our pitchers battled," Baioni said. "We didn't necessarily have best stuff. But they kept us in position to win the game."
Highlands takes on Lexington Tates Creek on Friday back at Beechwood. Game time is 5:30 p.m.