The Highland High School baseball team pushed across three runs in the top of the seventh inning to rally for a 6-3 win over the host Freeburg Midgets on Monday in both teams’ season opener.
The game was a scoreless draw until the bottom of the fifth when Midgets (0-1) grabbed the game’s first lead with a pair of runs.
Not to be outdone, the Bulldogs (1-0) answered right back with a three-run top of the sixth to claim the lead.
After Freeburg scored a single tally to deadlock the game at 3-all in the home half of the sixth, Highland responded with another three-run rally, this time to clinch the victory.
Junior second baseman Brock Troxell got the game-winning rally started with a one-out single to center field. After advancing to second base, Troxell stole third base and then scored the go-ahead run on a single from sophomore right fielder Jonathan Dickman.
After Dickman swiped second base, sophomore shortstop Jacob Willis lined a single to center to put runners on the corners. Next, Dickman scored on a ground out by junior pitcher/first baseman Connor Pinsker to make it 5-3.
Also on Pinsker’s RBI ground out, Willis ran hard on the play and made it all the way to third, where he then scored on a wild pitch to account for the game’s final run.
Willis, Pinsker and junior center fielder Garrett Marti each rapped out two hits apiece, while junior designated hitter Dylan Knebel added a double and a game-high two RBIs.
Freeburg actually outhit Highland 12-10.
The Midgets were led by five players with two hits each: Braeden Chandler, Jordan Fritz, Garrett Garland, John Hilpert and Jack Lugge.
For the Bulldogs on the mound, the left-handed Pinsker tossed a shutout through the first four innings but Freeburg touched him for two runs in the fifth. Garland led off with a double to center, advanced to third on a sacrifice and then scored on a Hilpert’s ground out to first base.
Then with two outs, Landon Touchette socked a solo home run to right field to give the Midgets a short-lived 2-0 lead.
Pinsker’s pitching line ended up as follows: two earned runs on seven hits and one walk with one strikeout in 4 2/3 innings.
Highland rallied for a three-run top of the sixth. Three consecutive one-out singles from Willis, Pinsker and Marti (RBI) knocked in Willis to cut Freeburg’s lead in half. Then after the second out, Knebel clubbed a double to left field to chase home both Pinsker and Marti and give the Bulldogs a 3-2 advantage.
Chandler’s one-out RBI double to right in the top of the seventh off senior right-hander Jake Ramsey tied the game.
However, the Bulldogs’ rally in the seventh made a winner out of Ramsey (1-0), who gave up the one run on three hits and one walk with two strikeouts.
Junior Robert Sigman pitched a scoreless seventh to pick up the save for Highland. He allowed one hit and struck out one.
Cal Clossen (0-1) suffered the defeat for the Midgets after being knocked around for five earned runs on six hits in only 1 1/3 innings of work.