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Friday, June 10, 2016

Ladybirds eliminated from state tournament

Highlands unable to produce win on second day of tournament

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands left fielder Morgan Coffey (left) makes a catch while center fielder Brooke Dill gets in position during the state softball tournament Friday.
They stood two outs from another state tournament win with a four-run lead.

But then the unfortunate happened for the Highlands Ladybirds softball team (25-12 overall). In the winner's bracket of the state tournament, the 3rd Region champion Daviess County Lady Panthers scored seven runs on seven hits and two Highlands errors to rally past the Ladybirds for an 8-5 victory Friday morning at Jack C. Fisher Park in Owensboro.

Highlands then found itself facing the defending state champion McCracken County Lady Mustangs in the loser's bracket of the double-elimination tournament. McCracken County jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 6-2 victory ending the Ladybird season.

In the first game, Daviess County outhit Highlands, 11-6. Madeline Bowlds led the Lady Panthers going 3-for-4 with two runs scored with senior Lexie Mullen going 2-for-4 with a double, three runs batted in and one run scored and senior Taylor Brown going 2-for-4 with a run batted in.

Haley Coffey and Shelby Graybill had multi-hit games for Highlands. Haley Coffey went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored and Dutcher went 2-for-3 with a double and run scored.

Maci Simmons threw the first three innings before Paige Hill took over to pick up the win. Simmons allowed three runs and Hill one. The Ladybirds scored three unearned runs. Simmons struck out one and Hill struck out three.

Senior Bailey Spencer (23-11) took the loss in the complete game. She struck out one, walked one and allowed 11 hits, eight runs with four earned.

Daviess County scored first. Bowlds singled to left and advanced to third on a Highlands error. Lauren Johnson then flied out to Morgan Coffey in left allowing Bowlds to score to put the Lady Panthers up 1-0.

But Highlands came back to tie the game in the bottom of the first. Haley Coffey singled and moved to third two outs later on a Dutcher single and scored on a Daviess County error.

The Ladybirds took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the second. Josie Daley reached on a Daviess County error and Abby Rust ran for her. Rust moved to second when Zoie Barth reached on an error before Brooke Dill bunted them over. Haley Coffey then came up and singled Rust and Barth in to put Highlands up 3-1.

Highlands extended the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the third. Shelby Graybill stepped to the plate and belted her 10th home run of the season.

The Ladybirds added another run in the bottom of the sixth. Dutcher doubled and reached third on a wild pitch before scoring on a Daley ground out.

Things started off well for Highlands in the top of the seventh when Spencer got Phelps to ground out to Barth at third. But Brittany Whistle started the rally with a single and Bowlds did the same before Daviess County loaded the bases on a Highlands error. Whistle then scored on a Johnson single to make the score 5-2 Highlands.

With the bases still loaded, Mullen delivered a big blow with a double to right center to tie the game at five. Taylor Brown then singled Mullen home to put Daviess County up 6-5. With two out, pinch-runner Keeley Falloway scored from second on a Simmons triple before scoring on a Shelby Phelps single.

Highlands had one last chance in the bottom of the seventh. But Hill retired the Ladybirds in order to end the game.

In the second game, the Lady Mustangs doubled the Ladybirds in hits 8-4. Brooke Dill led Highlands going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Pitcher Hannah Ridolfi and Lindsey Carroll had two hits each. Carroll had two RBI and a run scored.

Ridolfi and Spencer pitched complete games. Ridolfi picked up the win striking out four, walking one and allowing no earned runs. Spencer allowed six runs with just four earned, two walks to go with no strikeouts.

McCracken County scored three times to open the game. Bailey Vick doubled and Abby Shoulders singled her home. Ridolfi then singled to advance Shoulders to second. Allie Vernelson ran for Ridolfi. Shoulders then scored on a Highlands error before Carroll singled Vernelson home.

The Lady Mustangs scored three more in the third to go up 6-0. Ridolfi singled withe one out and Vernelson again ran for her. Tori Humphrey doubled to right to score Vernelson and Carroll singled in Humphrey. Carroll scored McCracken County's last run on another Highlands error.

The Ladybirds came back with a run in the third. Dill singled before Haley Coffey reached on a fielder's choice and took second when Morgan Coffey walked. Haley Coffey then scored on a Lady Mustang error to trim the lead to 6-1.

Highlands scored its last run in the fifth inning. Dill singled and advanced to third on a McCracken County error. Morgan Coffey then grounded out to score Dill.

The Ladybirds graduate four seniors in Dutcher, Graybill, Haley Coffey and Spencer. All four will play college softball. The class helped Highlands rise into a region contender. Prior to two years ago, Highlands had never advanced to the region championship game. While in high school, the four also helped the Ladybirds to three straight 36th District titles.

Game 1:
Softball Box Score:                                   R  H   E
Daviess County (34-7)        100  000  7  -  8  11  3
Highlands (25-11)               121  001  0  -  5   6   5

Highlands pitching line:
Bailey Spencer (23-10), Complete game, one strikeout, 11 hits, one walk, eight runs, five earned.

Highlands leading hitters
Haley Coffey, 3-for-4, two runs batted in, one run scored.
Shelby Graybill, home run, one run scored, one RBI.
Brennah Dutcher, 2-for-3, double, one run scored.

Game 2:
Softball Box Score:                                         R  H   E
McCracken County (38-3)        303  000  0  -  6   8    3
Highlands (25-12)                     001  010  0  -  2   4    3

Highlands pitching line:
Bailey Spencer (23-10), Complete game, no strikeouts, eight hits, two walks, six runs, four earned.

Highlands leading hitters:
Brooke Dill, 2-for-3, one run.
Dutcher and Rachel Gabbard, one single each.
Haley Coffey, one run.
Morgan Coffey, one run batted in.

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