|Juett No-Hits Bulldogs|
|PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior Brennan Haigis sets up prior to a pitch against Holmes on Monday.|
When it ended, the scoreboard blinked 1 then 1 signaling 11 runs scored in that inning. That's all the Highlands Bluebirds baseball team (12-4 overall) needed to knock off the 5-10 Covington Holmes Bulldogs, 11-1 in a 9th Region game Monday at Highland Park in five innings. The Bluebirds moved to 5-0 in region play with the victory.
"We've always wanted to get off to a fast start," said Jeremy Baioni, Highlands Head Coach. "I think the best thing about it was we didn't swing at bad pitches. We still had great approaches. If he threw four balls, we walked. If he threw good pitches we could hit, we took good swings at them. Regardless of the pitcher and his ability or the team you're playing and their ability, if you take good approaches, you're going to have a good chance (for a hit). We had good approaches again (Monday)."
Highlands senior Tanner Juett threw a no-hitter striking out 12 and walking two to pick up the win. The Bulldogs earned their lone run in the top of the fourth.
Highlands did not make any errors in the game. But Holmes made one in the bottom of the first. It led to some more runs while a Holmes player laughed at his teammate who made the error.
"It's something that we stress to them," Baioni said. "It's baseball. Hitting and fielding are some of the toughest things you're going to do in your life. We tell our guys all the time, 'Nobody's perfect.' Guys are working hard all the time. When you truly play as a team, you truly want success as a team. The best way to handle that is when something goes wrong, be the guy to pick someone up. We've had a lot of talk about that, especially at the plate when things don't go our way. There are a lot of things to do besides getting a hit. You can tell the guys in the dugout what you saw so they'll be more prepared when they get in the batter's box. You can say to yourself, 'You didn't get a hit so now you're going to play that much harder on defense trying to help our team trying to help our pitcher keep runners off base.' When you have that cohesiveness and you have guys playing for each other, you can really be successful."
Highlands batted .454 (10-for-22) in the victory with four walks. Junior Ethan Kavanagh had a three-run double to go with two runs scored and a stolen base. Senior Bryce Ziegler went 2-for-2 to lead the Bluebirds. Juett, senior Steven Grimme and senior Trey Gabbard had two runs batted in each with senior Cooper Schwalbach and junior Nate Gesenhues scoring two runs each.
Some reserves saw some action later in the game. Juniors Brennan Haigis and Luke Weidner had at-bats later in the game.
"That's where all your work pays off," Weidner said. "You only get so many opportunities, especially in baseball. You definitely have to take advantage of them."
Highlands plays host to Scott (6-7) in non-region play Tuesday. Game time is 5:30 p.m.