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Friday, April 2, 2021

Friday Highlands Results: Baseball, Softball Record Non-Region Road Victories

Baseball Bounces Back from Rough Outing

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior pitcher Drew Hack fires to the plate in a recent game.

The Highlands Bluebirds baseball team (2-1) won a non-region road game 8-5 over the Lexington Sayre Spartans (1-2).

Highlands trailed 4-0 after two struggling against Sayre's staring pitcher in sophomore Raymond Saatman. Saatman pitched the first three innings. But the Bluebirds chipped away scoring three in the top of the fifth to go up 5-4.

"(Saatman) threw really well," said Jeremy Baioni, Highlands Head Coach. "He changed speeds well. He would throw breaking balls on any count. We got into the bullpen a little bit, took a little better swings and were able to scratch across eight runs. The defense needs to tighten up a bit. We need to make plays behind our guy. If we do that, we walk away with a pretty big win. Guys are going to continue to get opportunities. It was a great day to take advantage of that and still walk away with a win."

Senior John Barth started the game for Highlands throwing three innings. He struck out three, walked two and allowed five hits and four earned runs.

But junior Jonah Hankins pitched the final four innings to pick up his first varsity win in his first decision for the Bluebirds. Hankins struck out one, walked one and allowed just wo hits.

"I don't pump the mound really hard. I just hit the zone with strikes and let the defense go to work," Hankins said. "I just want to help the team out. You know you have a lot of weight to carry for the Highlands program."

The Bluebirds batted .285 (8-for-28) compared to .225 (7-for-31) for the hosts. Senior Vance Moore led the Bluebirds going 2-for-2 with a double and run batted in. Junior Ryne Wiseman and senior Owen Carris also doubled for Highlands. Carris and senior Evan Rom scored twice. Senior Braden Becker had two RBI.

Highlands plays again at the Sayre Breast Cancer Awareness Tournament on Saturday. The Bluebirds play at 10 a.m. against the Lexington Henry Clay Blue Devils (1-2).

Highlands 7, George Rogers Clark 3:

The Bluebirds (3-1) took a road win in the 10th Region at the Jerry Puckett Cardinals Showcase over the host Lady Cardinals (1-1).

"I think it was a really big win for us. Even when we had the (region championship) teams back in 2014 and 2016, we had trouble going on the road and winning," said Milt Horner, Highlands Head Coach. "We set a goal this year. We're playing four times away from Northern Kentucky. We set a goal to change that. I was really proud of them. I truly think if we can go on the road with some confidence, then I really think that that's going to help us a lot."

Highlands sophomore pitcher Kennedy Baioni (2-0) picked up the victory throwing a complete game in five innings that had a 90-minute limit. She struck out eight, walked one and allowed nine hits and two earned runs.

Freshman Michelle Barth homered for Highlands. She went 2-for-3 with two runs batted in and a run scored.

"As soon as it hits the bat, you can tell that it's gone and everyone is just up and jumping. It's exciting," Barth said. "As soon as we get a couple and everyone is up and in it, the whole defense really comes together. Our pitching comes together. We all get really excited. We dig in."

Highlands batted .286 (6-for-21) in the game. Junior Anna Greenwell led the way going 2-for-3 with three runs scored and three stolen bases. Senior Bri Tharps doubled and scored two runs.

Highlands plays two more games in the Showcase on Saturday. The Bluebirds play Pike County Central (1-1) at 1:30 p.m. and Corbin (1-2) at 5 p.m.

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