|Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands seventh-grade second baseman Rachel Gabbard makes a play in Thursday's 9th Region championship game. Gabbard had a key two-run double to lift the Ladybirds to their first-ever region championship, 8-7 over Notre Dame.|
|Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands junior Payton Leighty makes a catch in the championship game.|
|Allen Ramsey Photo. Highlands sophomore Bailey Spencer delivers to the plate in the regional championship game. Spencer came back nine days from Appendix surgery to help Highlands to the title.|
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS – One giant mountain stood in the way of a trip to the Commonwealth’s version of the softball promised land.
The Highlands Ladybirds had taken care of the other 9th Region powers. But they needed to figure out a way to end a six-game losing streak to the defending region champion Notre Dame Pandas to nab their first 9th Region crown in their first-ever appearance in the title game. That included a 3-0 Panda win in last year’s 9th Region semifinals.