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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Tuesday Highlands Roundup: Baseball Rebounds from Loss

Softball Fighting Through Lull

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands freshman left fielder Bailey Markus waits during the game at Dixie Heights on Tuesday.

The Highlands Bluebirds baseball team (7-6 overall) played host to the county rival Bishop Brossart Mustangs (9-5) on Tuesday instead of Wednesday before the snow hit the area.

Following a 4-2 loss to Newport Central Catholic on Monday, Highlands Head Coach Jeremy Baioni challenged the Bluebirds to fix some things. They responded with a 12-2 six-inning victory.

"We pride ourselves on being ready," Baioni said. "The guys responded really well. Guys took advantage of opportunities and we had some big hits. Our approaches were much better at the plate. We made the routine plays defensively. When you have pitchers throwing strikes and challenging hitters, that's usually a good combination. We were able to do that (Tuesday)."

Highlands led 3-2 after four innings. But the Bluebirds exploded for five in the fifth and finished the game with four in the bottom of the sixth.

Junior Jonah Hankins started the game for Highlands striking out one while allowing four hits, one walk and two earned runs. Sophomore Jack Hendrix pitched the sixth striking out two.

"We preach so much about the process of a 36-game season," Baioni said. "It's disingenuous to throw the towel in after not playing well for a handful of games. We just know we have to work. We have to love the process because that's what this is. We know it's going to take some time. We moved guys around. We gave guys opportunities. It will shake out eventually."

Highlands batted .438 (14-for-32) compared to .182 (4-for-22) for Bishop Brossart. Senior Isaiah Lampkin went 2-for-2 with a double and run scored. Senior Evan Rom went 2-for-3 with a double, triple, three runs batted in and two runs scored and junior Foster Schuett went 2-for-4 with a double. Senior Owen Carris had a two-run home run and junior Camden McAtee had a triple.

"We really just focused in," said Vance Moore, Highlands senior. "We got to them early and we kept at it the whole game until the end for sure. We played for the team and not as individuals anymore."

Highlands plays host to the Bellevue Tigers (1-15) on Thursday. Game time is 5 p.m.

Dixie Heights 9, Highlands 5:

Highlands (11-4) dropped its third straight and first in seven games in 9th Region play to the host Colonels (9-2).

Dixie Heights scored four in the bottom of the first and Highlands put one on the board in the top of the second. The Bluebirds took a 5-4 lead in the top of the fourth inning when freshman Michelle Barth doubled home three. But the Colonels scored five in the bottom of the frame and neither team scored after that.

"I thought we would (build off the four-run fourth)," said Milt Horner, Highlands Head Coach. "We faced a couple faster pitchers the last couple games. (Dixie Heights senior starting pitcher Addie Joyce) was a little slower. We're not making good adjustments right now. We have to figure out how to make better adjustments."

Highlands batted .321 (9-for-28) in the loss. Barth led the way going 3-for-4 with two doubles and the three RBIs. Senior Bri Tharps went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a run scored. Junior Anna Greenwell doubled, walked twice and stole a base. Sophomore Kennedy Baioni added a double.

Sophomore Carly Cramer (4-3) started the game pitching the first four innings before Baioni pitched the fifth and sixth. Baioni struck out two.

"We play a lot of games. You can go into a lull," Horner said. "We have to come back and get back on the horse. That's what I just told them. I said it's up to them to turn it around."

The Bluebirds play host to St. Henry (0-7) on Thursday. Game time is 5 p.m.

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