|Softball Pulls Out Road Win at Simon Kenton|
|Contributed Photo. The Highlands boys tennis team defeated Covington Catholic, 3-2 at Tower Park on Tuesday.|
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The Highlands Bluebirds boys tennis team (12-1 overall) took down the rival Covington Catholic Colonels, 3-2 in a huge 9th Region battle.
"Tennis is an individual sport year-round as many of them do. But that's the beauty of high school tennis. It is a team sport," said Kris Laskey, Highlands Head Coach. "You're still playing on your singles or doubles court. But this is the one time they get to sort of see the importance of team. Your after that third point. The points were going back and forth in those matches."
Highlands won both doubles matches on the way to the win. Seniors Matthew Ericson and Joss Finseth won the first doubles, 6-4, 1-6, 10-6. Freshmen Eli Back and Eli Hornsby won the second doubles, 6-1, 5-7, 10-7.
Senior Peter Laskey won the first singles match 6-3, 3-6, 10-8. Even though sophomore John Laskey lost second singles, 6-1, 6-3, Coach Laskey pointed out he was on the court a long time. Junior Jacob Clifton lost his third singles match.
"A lot of team energy definitely contributed to the win," Peter Laskey said. "It was not only people on the court playing, but a lot of people off the court from parents to players cheering us on. I just take deep breaths and stay really focused."
Highlands travels to Lloyd Memorial on Thursday. Match time is 4 p.m.
Highlands 8, Simon Kenton 6:
The Bluebirds (16-4) know they may need to win games like this to make a deep postseason run.
"I'm definitely proud of the girls because we made some mistakes that we have to correct," said Milt Horner, Highlands Head Coach. "We're not going to reach our goals if we make some of the mistakes we made. The girls know that. Focusing on every pitch is one of our mantras and we're not doing that as well as we need to. We've gotten away with that against some lesser teams. We're not going to get away with that against good teams."
Horner said he has a list of 10 things to work on. But mental errors on the bases led to some outs against the Lady Pioneers.
Highlands scored two runs in the top of the sixth to pull off the road win over the Lady Pioneers (6-7). Freshman second baseman Bailey Markus doubled in sophomore Kennedy Baioni to put Highlands up for good. But senior Caroline Class found the gap to double in Markus.
"(It's about) relaxing in the box and knowing that you're teammates got you," Class said. "They'll be smart on the bases if you just put the ball in play. It's all that it's really about. Everyone contributed in some way offensively or defensively."
Simon Kenton put runners at second and third with one out in the bottom of the seventh. But Baioni induced a ground out then a strikeout with the bases loaded to end the game.
"I'm really happy for Kennedy," Horner said. "She was never our number one pitcher. (Junior) Gracie (Schlosser) was when she was in the eighth grade. Kennedy is now the ace of the staff. That's where we need her to do her job. Once you've been there and done it, it makes it easier to do it again."
Baioni came on in relief in the fourth inning. She struck out four and allowed four earned runs, five hits and a walk.
Highlands and Simon Kenton committed two errors each. But Highlands had a number of solid plays defensively to win the game. Markus and seventh grader Payton Brown caught line drives in the first inning. Simon Kenton left seven on base and Highlands left four.
"We were focused, which is what we've been trying to work on," Markus said. "We've been busting our tails for that, especially for the pitchers. In those situations (in losses at Pendleton County and Ursuline), we've crocked."
Highlands batted .296 (8-for-27) compared to .322 (10-for-31) for Simon Kenton. Markus went 2-for-3 with a run batted in and two runs scored. Junior Anna Greenwell went 2-for-4 with a double, three RBI and a run scored. Class, Greenwell and senior Bri Tharps had one stolen base each.
The Bluebirds built a 5-0 lead after two. Greenwell had a two-run double in the top of the second that saw Highlands score four times off Simon Kenton starting pitcher freshman Landrey Dance.
But Simon Kenton started the rally in the bottom of the third. Seniors Aubrey Dance and Macy Krohman hit consecutive solo home runs. Krohman, who pitched the last three innings taking the loss, is committed to the University of Illinois.
The Lady Pioneers tied the game in the bottom of the fifth with four runs. Freshman Emilie Young hit a three-run blast to center to tie it.
Krohman finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Young and Landry Dance each went 2-for-4. Young had the three RBI and run scored on the home run and Landry Dance scored once and drove one in.
"Krohman is the real deal," Horner said. "Simon Kenton has talked about this senior class since they were in the seventh and eighth grade. The third home run probably does not go out without the win. Caroline (Class) had a pretty good bead on it in center field."
Highlands travels to Boone County (8-8) on Thursday. Game time is 5 p.m.
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St. Henry 7, Highlands 3:
The Bluebirds (10-8) lost the region game in eight innings. The Crusaders (12-5) scored five runs in the top of the eighth to leave Highland Park with the victory.
St. Henry batted .333 (13-for-36) to .272 (9-for-33) for Highlands. Juniors Foster Schuett and Ryne Wiseman went 2-for-4 to lead the Bluebirds. Seniors Jake Gulley and Vance Moore homered. Moore's pinch hit home run tied the game at two in the bottom of the seventh.
Highlands takes on Cincinnati McNicholas on Thursday. Game time is 5 p.m.