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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Highlands Softball Beats Ryle to Open Regional Tournament, Moves onto Semi

By G. Michael Graham 

The Highlands Bluebirds softball team (16-10 overall) has had its issues in recent years hitting Ryle Lady Raiders senior pitcher Hannah Bishop.

Bishop held Highlands to a .087 (2-for-23) clip in a 4-0 Ryle win in the 9th Region championship loss at Veterans Park in Newport last year. Ryle went on to go 0-for-2 in the state tournament.

Highlands drew the 33rd District Runner-up Lady Raiders to open the 9th Region Tournament on Memorial Day at Dixie Heights. But this time, the Bluebirds batted .381 (8-for-21) against Bishop and manufactured three runs on their way to a 3-1 win over Ryle. Ryle had run-ruled Highlands, 16-1 on May 9 in Union.

Highlands saw three players go 2-for-3 against Bishop in freshman Anna Greenwell, junior Abby Rust and eighth grader Carly Cramer. Cramer tripled and had the game-winning single in the sixth inning with Greenwell scoring twice and Rust doubling.

"(Bishop) goes with the double outside, which is a hard pitch to hit, and then she comes high trying to get hitters to chase," Greenwell said. "We utilized all of our skills and abilities from all different spots in the line-up to scratch three necessary to get the much-needed victory vs. Ryle."

Eighth grader Gracie Schlosser threw a complete game striking out three and walking three. Highlands had two errors behind her compared to one for Ryle.

"We definitely played some great defense," said Milt Horner, Highlands coach. "(Seventh grader) Bailey Markus made a great catch in right field. Abby Rust made a couple good catches in center field. But to hold that team to one run after they scored 16 on us in three innings a couple weeks ago was a big turn-around. Gracie Schlosser had her best game of the year. One of the things we've been preaching to her is to own the mound and she's really done a great job of getting back from her (preseason injury)."

Ryle took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. But Highlands came back to tie it in the bottom of the fourth. Ryle left eight runners on base compared to four for Highlands.

Highlands takes on Dixie Heights (19-13) in the region semifinals on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Veterans Park in Newport. The teams split the two regular season meetings.

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