|Softball Loses Tough One|
|PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands Head Coach Jeremy Baioni (blue jacket) holds a conference on the mound with the infield in the 4-2 loss to Newport Central Catholic on Monday.|
During the run of four straight 9th Region championships between 2015 and 2018, Highlands head baseball coach Jeremy Baioni could tell you the team's record in the region tournament.
But the domination of 36th District opponents became so routine it somewhat became an afterthought. That changed with a 4-2 loss to the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds at Highland Park. Both teams are 6-6 on the season.
Highlands had not lost to a district opponent since a 3-1 loss to NewCath in the 9th Region championship game May 31. That snapped a streak of 43 straight against district opponents including 13 in a row against the Thoroughbreds.
"They threw it really well," Baioni said. "That's a sign of a team that needs to figure some things out one through 24. Our approaches need to change. We need to be better from player one to coach 10. They were better than us (Tuesday). We have time to work on it. We're going to have no choice but to get better."
Both teams had five hits. NewCath junior pitcher Jake Wiles threw a complete game striking out seven while walking one and allowing two earned runs.
Senior Evan Rom started the game pitching the first four innings. Juniors Ryne Wiseman and Abe Hils also pitched. They combined to strike out 12, walk six and allow four earned runs.
Senior Owen Carris led the Bluebirds going 2-for-3 with a double and two runs batted in. Junior Jack Schneider also doubled and scored twice. Carris and senior Jason Noe had one stole base each.
"I think it goes back to our MO over the past three weeks," Baioni said. "We are not getting the big hit. When you get two on, you have to put the ball in play and challenge defenses. That's the biggest thing. We have time to figure it out. We're going to challenge some guys."
Highlands plays another county rival on Wednesday at Highland Park. The Bishop Brossart Mustangs come to town for a 5 p.m. battle.
Pendleton County 7, Highlands 6:
Highlands (11-3) led 6-4 in the top of the seventh, but could not seal the deal against the host LadyCats (10-3). The Bluebirds have lost two in a row.
Sophomore Kennedy Baioni pitched the first five innings striking out four to go with a walk, six hits and two earned runs. Sophomore Carly Cramer (4-2) pitched the sixth and seventh allowing two hits, two earned runs and three walks.
Highlands batted .259 (7-for-27) for the game. Baioni and freshman Michelle Barth went 2-for-3. Barth had three runs batted in. Senior Bri Tharps went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI.
Highlands travels to Dixie Heights (8-2) on Tuesday. Game time is 5 p.m.