Story Matters

Story Matters

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Saturday Splits for Bluebirds

Highlands Baseball, Softball Win One, Loses One

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Grant Summers takes off in a recent game.
The Highlands Bluebirds baseball team made it to the championship game of the Coach Conner Classic on Saturday.

But the Cooper Jaguars scored five times in the bottom of the first and held on for a 6-5 victory. The Bluebirds (20-11 overall) are 13-3 in 9th Region action. Highlands had the tying run on third with two out but could not push it across.

"Really in the first inning, they didn't have to work very hard to score five runs," said Jeremy Baioni, Highlands Head Coach. "We walked five, hit a batter and gave up two singles. We definitely need to focus on pounding the strike zone more, especially early in the game. The first and second inning is when we get into trouble. After that, we cruise pretty well. But we battled back. We didn't have a great offensive day, but figured out a way to make it a ballgame."

The Bluebirds cut the margin to 5-4 in the sixth inning before Cooper scored once in the bottom of the frame. Both teams had six walks.

Highlands outhit Cooper, 10-8. Senior Joe Steiden went 2-for-2 with a stolen base and two runs to lead the Bluebirds. Senior Carson Fitters went 2-for-3 including a double and senior Tyler Gulley went 2-for-4 with three runs batted in, a double and run scored. Senior Drew Rom added a double.

Junior Grady Cramer came on in relief and pitched five-plus innings for Highlands. He struck out eight and walked one.

Highlands beat St. Henry, 7-3 earlier in the day for a second time this season. Senior Jackson Recht hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh to make the final score.

"We swung it okay," Baioni said. "Again early on, we didn't swing it well. But we stuck to the game plan and later in the game, got some key hits. We had a ton of guys contribute with big hits or defensively."

Both teams had seven hits. Junior Cooper Schwalbach went 3-for-3 with a double, triple, two runs scored and an RBI. Recht also went 2-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored. Fitters also doubled for Highlands and sophomore Ethan Kavanagh stole a base.

Senior Hunter Dreves pitched the first five innings to pick up the win for the Bluebirds. Dreves struck out 10, walked two and allowed six hits and three earned runs. Junior Tanner Juett pitched the last two innings striking out two and allowing just one hit.

"The bullpen's very important," Juett said. "There's been quite a few games the starters have gone five, six innings, but they really need (another) pitcher to go the last one or two (innings). The bullpen has been very helpful in allowing us to win some of the games that we've won. (The relievers) been holding scores and not allowing a lot of base runners."

Highlands plays at Simon Kenton on Tuesday. Game time is 5:30 p.m.

Oldham County 8, Highlands 2:
Highlands 8, Dixie Heights 3:

The Bluebirds (13-10 overall) split their two games at Dixie Heights.

Highlands fell behind 5-0 in the first game to Oldham County (29-3) and could not recover despite playing error-free softball to one error for the Lady Colonels.

"We actually played pretty well," said Rob Coffey, Highlands Head Coach. "If we'd have put the ball in play a little bit more against them, it would have been a much better game. We didn't get some key hits. They got some tough key hits late in the game to kind of put it out of reach."

Oldham County outhit Highlands, 14-5. Seniors Ella Grimm and Brooke Dill both had doubles and sophomore Abby Rust added an RBI single.

University of Louisville signee Elana Ornelas, a junior, led Oldham County with three hits including two doubles and two RBI. Sophomore Taylor Jackson added three hits and two RBI.

Oldham County freshman pitcher Kalee Rose allowed just one earned run, walked none and struck out three. Highlands eighth grade pitcher Gracie Schlosser also threw a complete game striking out one, walking one and allowing eight earned runs.

Highlands led 7-1 after the fifth inning against Dixie Heights (11-9). The Bluebirds outhit Dixie, 9-8. Junior Rachel Gabbard had two hits and an RBI and senior Josie Daley had a double and three runs batted in. Rust added two RBI on one hit.

"We started a little slow - didn't hit the ball well early on then caught up to their pitcher midway through the game and scored a couple off a couple nice hits," Coffey said. "We started attacking the ball a little bit more on offense. That's what we've been trying to promote. Our offense has kind of gone downhill in the last week or so. We needed to straighten that up and the girls responded."

Seventh grade pitcher Kennedy Baioni earned the win for Highlands. She struck out one and walked two pitching into the sixth inning before Schlosser came in and took care of the final four outs. Schlosser struck out three.

"Basically, we got a talk from Rob (Coffey) about different basic stuff and we got help from our teammates," Kennedy Baioni said. "The encouragement in the dugout throughout the game really helped everybody push through the hard times and end up winning against Dixie."

Highlands travels to Conner on Monday. Game time is 5 p.m.

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