The Highland High softball team had its five-game winning streak snapped in a 9-6 home loss to Class 2A powerhouse Teutopolis (22-1). But the Lady Bulldogs wasted no time in starting a new winning streak with a 7-6 victory in 11 innings over host Wesclin Friday at Trenton City Park, followed by a wild 14-9 win in a slugfest at Mascoutah on Monday.
With the two wins, Highland improved to 13-4 overall. The victory over Mascoutah lifted the Bulldogs’ Mississippi Valley Conference mark to 4-1 and kept them in a tie atop the standings with Jerseyville (19-6).
“The conference is still anyone’s title at this point, but I believe if we continue to connect offensively and improve defensively each day, we should have a pretty good shot at it,” said senior center fielder Lauren Wright.
Highland played at Johnston City on Tuesday before hosting Civic Memorial on Wednesday and traveling to Metro-East Lutheran on Thursday.
Never miss a local story.
Highland 14, Mascoutah 9
Scoreboard operators were busy at Mascoutah High School on Monday as Highland and Mascoutah combined for 23 runs and 25 hits, including nine extra-base hits.
The teams traded the lead for the first few innings before the Bulldogs snatched the lead for good with a strong fourth inning that saw them explode for nine runs after parading 14 hitters to the plate.
Highland, which pounded out 16 hits, had four players collect multiple hits. Freshman Lily Garbett led the way after reaching base all five times on a perfect 4-for-4 at the dish with one walk, three runs scored and one RBI.
Wright and junior Hannah Miener provided plenty of pop with three hits apiece. Wright banged out two extra-base hits on a home run and a triple, drove in a pair, walked once and scored three times. Miener doubled, knocked in three and scored once.
Additionally, junior Aubrey Hacke added two hits, one walk and three runs, and junior Peyton Holzinger had a game-high five RBIs, thanks in a large part to a three-run double in Highland’s nine-run fourth.
“Today we had a great day at the plate,” Wright said. “Everyone was able to contribute in some way. We had a really big push in the fourth with a nine-run rally, which gave us a bit of breathing room.”
HHS junior Kirsten Plocher (6-1) recorded the complete-game victory but had to work extremely hard. She allowed nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits and three walks. She fanned four.
Morgan Marquis took the loss for the Indians after being knocked around for 12 runs (11 earned) on nine hits and five walks. Reliever Rachel Wilson was also tagged for two earned runs on four hits and one walk after recording just two outs.
The Bulldogs jumped out quickly with a three-run top of the first. The rally started with a leadoff walk to Wright and back-to-back singles from Hacke and Garbett, and it was capped off by a two-run single from Miener.
After Mascoutah rallied for five runs in the bottom of the second to take a two-run lead, Highland responded with a two-run top of the third to pull even. Garbett led off with a walk, sophomore Lauren Baer followed with a double and they both came around to score.
Then after the Indians scored a single tally in the home half of the third to briefly reclaim the lead at 6-5, Highland erupted for the nine runs in the top of the fourth to seize the lead for good.
Wright started the uprising with a one-out single and she later capped off the gluttony of offense by crushing a two-run homer to center to make it lopsided at 14-5.
“I saw the pitch well that time at bat and just connected and it took off,” Wright said.
Also in the huge spurt, Garbett added a run-scoring single, Holzinger belted a three-run double, junior Jenna Gnaedinger had an RBI ground out, and Garbett smacked a two-run single.
Mascoutah closed out the scoring binge with two runs in the fifth and a final one in the seventh.
Highland 7, Wesclin 6 (11 innings)
In a marathon game that featured 28 hits and lasted four extra innings, Gnaedinger got it done in the circle in an extended relief role after coming in to replace Hacke in the fifth inning.
Gnaedinger ended up baffling the Warriors for the length of a regulation game. In seven innings of relief work, Gnaedinger surrendered just one earned run on four hits and countered four walks with eight strikeouts to earn the come-from-behind win for her team.
“Going into the game, I just wanted to get my job done in the relief role,” said Gnaedinger, who upped her record to 2-0 while lowering her ERA to a team-low 1.31 in 16 innings. “I had a great defense behind me, and the team came together. It was a team effort and our momentum as a team went up. I felt great on the mound, and my curveball was hitting the spot, which led to my strikeouts.”
Gnaedinger also got it done at the dish, along with Garbett. Garbett pounded out four hits, highlighted by a game-tying three-run home run and a double, while Gnaedinger banged out three hits, two of them doubles. Highland finished with 16 hits.
With Highland trailing 5-1 after Wesclin scored three runs in the first followed by a single tally in each of the third and fourth frames, all off Hacke, the Bulldogs were in desperate need of a big rally heading into the top of the sixth.
Garbett answered the bell, corking a three-run home run with two outs to pull Highland even at 5 all.
Chipping in two hits apiece for Highland in the game were Baer and Miener, who singled and scored the winning run in the 11th inning to break up a 6-6 deadlock on a single from Gnaedinger.
In addition, Wright added one hit, one walk, one RBI and one run scored for the Bulldogs.
Aspen Lohman suffered the loss for Wesclin despite doing yeoman’s effort by going the complete, extra distance and toiling through 202 pitches. Lohman allowed seven runs (five earned) on 16 hits and six walks with three strikeouts in 11 innings.
The Warriors finished with 11 hits, led by Loman with three. Adding two hits apiece for Wesclin were Ellie Wessel and Courtney Lercher. Wessel led the Warriors with a pair of RBIs.
Highland took its first lead of the game in the ninth as Baer singled and later scored, only to have Lercher single with two outs and later score the equalizer to ultimately force two more extra frames.
Teutopolis 9, Highland 6
In a wild game that featured 26 combined hits and 15 runs, the Lady Shoes ran out to a big lead of 6-0 after 2 1/2 innings before going up by their largest margin at 8-1 after the top of the fourth frame.
However, Highland rallied for a five-run home half of the fourth to dig out to a much more manageable two-run deficit. The Bulldogs had chances to dig all the way out, but could not quite capitalize and came up three runs short on the scoreboard.
Each team had four players collect multiple-hit games. Highland was led by Wright, who went 3-for-4, scored twice and drove in one. Wright tripled and scored the Bulldogs’ first run in the third, and she also singled and scored in the fourth, Wright had another another single in the sixth when HHS loaded the bases with no one out but failed to score.
Kassay, Baer and Jill Garbett each rapped out two hits apiece.
For Teutopolis, Kadi Borries and Allison Apke both went a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish, while Amanda Waldoff and Danielle Repking added two hits each for the Lady Shoes.
T-Town senior Kadi Borries, a hard throwing pitcher/shortstop who is an Illinois State University recruit, got the win in the circle despite allowing six runs, nine hits and two walks with three strikeouts in five innings.
Anni Borries, caught her twin sister for the first five innings before talking over on the mound and holding Highland scoreless on one hit and one walk over the final two frames to close it out and earn the save. Anni Borries will join her twin sister at ISU next year.
Plocher took the loss for Highland after being roughed up for eight runs on eight hits and four walks in four innings. She struck out two.
Hacke threw the final three innings for the Bulldogs, surrendering only one run after limiting the damage from four hits and three walks. She whiffed three. The run Hacke yielded came in the seventh on a run-scoring double by Apke.
Anni Borries gave her team the lead for good in the second with a bases-loaded triple.
Teutopolis added three more runs in the top of the third before the Bulldogs got one back in the bottom half as Wright tripled and scored on a RBI single from Baer.
T-Town increased its lead to 8-1 with a two tallies in the fourth capped off by an RBI single by Waldoff to plate Apke.
The Bulldogs had plenty of fight left, rallying for five runs in the fourth to pull within 8-6. HHS’ first six batters reached safely on five hits and an error. Miener and Kassay got it started with back-to-back leadoff singles, and then Jill Garbett (single), Wright (single), Hacke (single) and Lily Garbett (ground out) each went on to knock in a run in the frame.
Kadi Borries finally put a halt to the uprising with three consecutive outs, capped off by a great catch by in foul territory left fielder Waldoff to retire Holzinger and the side.
Highland had golden opportunities to score in the both the fifth and sixth but failed to do so.
In the fifth, Kassay doubled to center with one out but was doubled off on a fly out.
Then in the sixth, the Bulldogs loaded the bases with no one out after a double by Jill Garbett, a single by Wright and a walk by Hacke. But Anni Borries got Lily Garbett to ground into a 1-2-3 double play before inducing Baer to ground out to her twin sister, Kadi Borries, at shortstop.