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Monday, May 24, 2021

Highlands Softball Wins Twice on Saturday

Bluebirds Surpass 25 Victories

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands freshman Bailey Markus (12) steps in against Harrison County on Saturday. Markus went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI in the 6-2 Highlands victory.

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The Highlands Bluebirds softball team (26-7 overall) played host to two games Saturday and did not disappoint the home crowd at Winkler Field.

Highlands knocked off the Conner Lady Cougars (12-19), 9-4 for the second time this season to start the afternoon. A couple hours later, the Bluebirds pulled away for a 6-2 win over the Harrison County Fillies (25-9) from the 10th Region.

The first game lasted five innings because of a time limit of one hour, 45 minutes. Highlands took advantage of eight walks and seven stolen bases. Freshman Bailey Markus walked twice and stole two bases. Seventh grader Payton Brown also stole two bases. Freshman Michelle Barth and sophomore Kennedy Baioni also walked twice.

"We didn't bring our A game at the beginning," said Milt Horner, Highlands Head Coach. "Their center fielder got hurt so it took a 15-minute break. We were up against the time (limit). We had bases loaded with no out in the fifth inning. We were going to score some more runs so I looked at (Conner Head Coach) Shawn (Sproles) and said, 'Let's call it because we're going to hit the time limit."

The Bluebirds batted .389 (7-for-18) in the win with no extra-base hits. Markus went 2-for-2 with a run batted in and two runs scored. Brown went 2-for-3 with one RBI and a run scored. Junior first baseman Gracie Schlosser had three RBI.

Sophomore Carly Cramer (8-3) pitched a complete game. Cramer struck out eight, walked three and allowed four earned runs and six hits.

In the second game, Harrison County led 2-1 early. But the Bluebirds tied the game on an error. They led 3-2 going into the bottom of the sixth before scoring three times to pull away.

"We just kept our composure," said Anna Greenwell, Highlands junior shortstop. "That's all we have to do. If we keep our attitudes calm, we can get through that. If we back up our pitcher, we'll be fine."

Baioni (12-4) pitched the complete game striking out one. Baioni allowed one walk, six hits and one earned run.

"That was a quality win against a good team absolutely. (Harrison County Head Coach Christine Garnett) and I talked before the game," Horner said. "They needed a good game. We needed a good game. We both got one. Kennedy pitched lights out. That was fantastic. Our base running got us some runs. We were aggressive on the bases. I think that paid off."

The defense made the routine plays behind her for the most part. Cramer made a juggling catch in left field with Brown in right field and senior Caroline Class in center tracking down hard-hit balls. The infield also made some big plays. Markus caught a pop fly before quickly firing to Greenwell for a double play.

"We were actually ourselves this game. We played Highlands softball," Schlosser said. "If we didn't make those good plays, I feel like (Harrison County) would have had extra base runners. I might have had one bad throw (toward first) and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I didn't have to scoop many balls."

Greenwell scored one of the runs in the sixth inning. Markus had another big game offensively going 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored. Cramer went 2-for-4.

Highlands plays host to Pendleton County (17-10) on Wednesday. Game time is 5:30 p.m.

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