The Highland baseball Bulldogs raised their non-conference record to 9-0 after annihilating visiting Effingham 12-2 in five innings on Friday at Glik Park and then decisively sweeping a doubleheader from visiting Jacksonville on Saturday, 9-4 and 13-6.
But Highland opened Mississippi Valley Conference play on Monday at Glik Park, and with that came the end of the season-opening winning streak, as the visiting Mascoutah Indians nipped the Bulldogs 4-3.
Highland fell to 9-1 overall and 0-1 in the MVC while Mascoutah improved to 9-4 overall and 1-0 in league play.
Mascoutah 4, Highland 3
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The Bulldogs did not capitalize enough on the opportunities given them, and that played a big role in them coming up one run short in the end.
Highland jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but the Bulldogs did not take full advantage of two hits and three walks.
A baserunning mistake saw Will Greenwald get doubled off first base after he hit a leadoff single, which proved costly, as did a strikeout by Griffin Welz with the bases loaded to end the inning.
HHS only scored its run because Mascoutah starter Daniel Milas walked three hitters — Matt Augustin, Jordan Smith and Sam Greene — in a row to force home Grant Geppert (single).
But Milas settled down, and the Bulldogs managed only one hit off him over his final five innings.
In addition to earning the win while punching out 10, Milas also led Mascoutah’s offense by going 3-for-3 with one run driven in and one run scored.
Mascoutah took the lead with a two-run fourth on Noah Dressler’s RBI double and Milas’ run-scoring single.
The Indians made it 4-1 after tacking on two more runs in the top of the seventh. Milas singled and later scored on a wild pitch, and Jeff Hightower laid down a suicide squeeze to knock in the other run.
Noah Kraljev came in to pitch the seventh in relief of Milas. But he walked the first two batters (Tyler Kimmle and Jimmie Smith) and hit Greenwald to load the bases with no one out. The Bulldogs pushed across a pair of runs on sacrifice flies from Cody Bentlage and Augustin. But could get no more, as Jordan Smith grounded out to the pitcher to end the game.
Kimmle (1-1) took the loss after giving up four runs (two earned) on eight hits and two walks while striking out five in 6 1/3 innings.
Senior left-handed reliever Pete Baumgartner threw a perfect 2/3 of an inning.
Jacksonville 13, Highland 6
The Bulldogs feasted on Crimson pitching, belting out 14 hits and stealing 14 bases.
Highland coach Joel Hawkins was afforded the luxury of getting his whole team involved in the game in one way or another.
Greenwald had a perfect day at the dish to lead the offensive barrage, going 4-for-4 with four stolen bases and three runs scored.
Contributing two hits apiece were Geppert and Tyler Pollard. Geppert socked a double, drove in three runs, stole one base and scored twice. Welz added one RBI.
Adding one hit each were Seth Luitjohan (one walk, three stolen bases, two runs, one RBI), Chris Dickman (two stolen bases, two runs), Greene (one RBI), Welz (one RBI) and Mike McGill (one RBI).
Highland 9, Jacksonville 4
The Bulldogs took charge from the outset with a six-run explosion in the first inning, thanks in large part to five walks and a hit batsman.
For the game, Highland had six hits, but HHS was aslo issued nine free passes and again stole 14 bases.
Geppert and Greene were both perfect at the plate. Geppert went 2-for-2 with two stolen bases, two runs and one RBI and Greene went 1-for-1 with one walk, three stolen bases, one RBI and one run.
Also getting one hit each were Jordan Smith (wo RBIs, one run), Greenwald (two walks, five stolen bases, two runs, one RBI) and Kimmle (one stolen base, one run).
Smith recorded the win on the bump after conceding only two unearned runs, two hits and no walks while fanning two in five innings.
Highland 12, Effingham 2 (5 innings)
HHS pounded out 10 hits and stole eight bases en route to scoring three runs in each of the first, third, fourth and fifth frames and bring the game to an end two innings early.
Geppert and Bentlage were the stars of the game for the Bulldogs as both were perfect at the dish.
Bentlage went 4-for-4 with four stolen bases, four runs scored and two runs knocked in, while Geppert went 3-for-3 with one walk, one double, four pounded home, one stolen base and two runs scored.
Geppert also raised his perfect pitching record to 3-0 after allowing just one earned run (two overall) on five scattered hits and no walks in five innings. He whiffed five.
Chipping in one hit apiece were Greene (double, one RBI), Jordan Smith (two RBIs) and Winning (double, one run).
In addition, Augustin had two sacrifice bunts and one RBI.