Highland: Sports

After being blanked, Bulldogs rebound to win four in a row

Highland senior Evan Herman starts to retreat back to first base while Belleville West first baseman Hunter Grupe waits for the throw from his pitcher during the Bulldogs' 6-3 victory over the Maroons Friday at Glik Park in Highland.
Highland senior Evan Herman starts to retreat back to first base while Belleville West first baseman Hunter Grupe waits for the throw from his pitcher during the Bulldogs' 6-3 victory over the Maroons Friday at Glik Park in Highland. dfussner@bnd.com

The Highland High School baseball team wasted no time bouncing back from being blanked on one hit by host Triad on Tuesday, April 24.

But the very next day, Highland traveled to Jerseyville and held off the host Panthers 4-3 to pull off the season sweep and lift its MVC mark to 5-1.

Next on Friday, Highland doubled up visiiting Jerseyville 6-3. Finally on Saturday, the Bulldogs swept a pair of home games with a 7-2 victory over Collinsville, followed by an 8-4 win over Salem.

First on Tuesday, April 24, Highland traveled to Troy and the Bulldog bats were stifled to only one hit in a 5-0 loss to the host Triad Knights. The loss was Highland's first in Mississippi Valley Conference play.

The four-game winning streak propelled the Bulldogs' overall season record up to 15-5.

Highland 8, Salem 4

The Bulldogs trailed briefly 3-1 after the Wildcats scored three runs the top of the third inning, but Highland quickly changed that with a four-run bottom half and never trailed again.

After Salem, which committed two errors in the game, got a run back in the fourth to cut the deficit to 5-4, the Bulldogs put the game away with a three-run sixth.

Seniors Garrett Marti and Dylan Knebel each contributed three hits to account for six of Highland's 11 total hits.

Knebel pounded out two doubles and four runs batted in. He punctuated his day with a two-run double to cap off the scoring in the sixth.

Marti went a perfect 3-for-3 with a triple, three runs scored and one RBI.

In addition, senior Jonathan Dickman contributed two hits, one run knocked in and one run scored, senior Michael Riffel added one hit, one walk and two runs, and junior Jacob Willis had one hit and one RBI.

A day after earning his first save, junior Michael Barth earned his first win after throwing three innings of relief and allowing just one earned run, three hits and one walk while striking out two.

Senior Dustin Phelps, a Greenville University recruit, threw a scoreless seventh.

Highland 7, Collinsville 2

The Bulldogs quickly erased one-run deficits in both the first and third innings, taking the lead for good at 3-2 with a two-run bottom of the third. Highland then added to its lead with a single tally in the fourth followed by a three-run sixth.

Collinsville also helped the Bulldogs by committing three errors in the game.

Marti and Knebel again showed the way, this time with two hits and two RBIs apiece. Marti, who went a perfect 2-for-2, also had a double and two runs scored.

Knebel gave Highland the lead for good with a two-run single and Marti slammed a two-run double to left in the sixth to extend the lead to 6-2.

Contributing one hit each for the Bulldogs were senior Evan Herman (one walk, two runs), Dickman (one run), senior Elliott Prott (one run), Willis and senior Robert Sigman.

Senior Austin Habermehl earned the win after working the first five innings and giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits. He walked none and struck out three.

Senior left-hander Robert Sigman recorded his third save by throwing two scoreless frames to end the game. He gave up three hits and struck out two. Sigman has not allowed a run in seven appearances spanning 11 2/3 innings and plummeted his ERA to a microscopic 0.46.

Highland 6, Belleville West 3

The Bulldogs broke up a scoreless game with a four-run fourth and then tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the fifth. The Maroons rallied for three runs in the seventh but it was not near enough.

Highland senior starter Payne Waldman, a lefty, had shut out Belleville West on three hits and two walks through six innings before giving up two doubles and three runs in the seventh. The Bulldogs' defense also had two errors which led to two of the runs being unearned.

Barth came in an got the final out on a fly out to end the game and earn his first save.

Offensively for the Bulldogs, Knebel supplied two hits, one RBI and one run, Dickman belted a two-run double in the fourth, Willis added run-scoring singles in each of the fourth and fifth frames, and Sigman had an RBI single in the fourth.

Highland 4, Jerseyville 3

The Bulldogs scored four runs in innings 4-6 after sandwiching a two-run fifth between a single tally in each of the fourth and sixth innings. Highland seemed to have the game well in hand as Prott had held the Panthers scoreless on four hits and no walks through the first five frames.

However, Prott ran into trouble immediately in the sixth as the first four hitters reached base and two came around to score before he recorded the inning's first out and his final out of the game. Then after another run-scoring hit chopped the four-run lead down to one and moved the tying run into scoring position at second base, Prott was pulled in favor of Sigman.

It only took Sigman one pitch to induce a double play on a comebacker to the mound to end the threat. Sigman threw to shortstop Willis covering second base and Willis fired on to Pinsker at first base to complete the twin killing.

Sigman then went on to retire the Panthers in order on only five pitches in the seventh to nail down his second save of the season.

The win lifted Prott's record to 2-1.

Both teams recorded eight hits. Marti led Highland with two hits and one RBI while Pinsker, Dickman (double), Dylan Knebel each had one hit and one RBI apiece.

Jerseyville got two hits each from Collin Carey and Logan Simpson. Carey had the RBI double in the sixth while Simpson and Brett Tuttle each added run-scoring singles.

Tuttle took the loss for the Panthers after surrendering four runs (three earned) on eight hits and two walks in six innings. He finished with six strikeouts.

The game's first run was a fortuitous one for Highland in the fourth as it came with the help of an error and a bases-loaded walk to Knebel.

The Bulldogs pushed across a pair of runs in the fifth on a run-scoring double from Pinsker to score Troxell (single) and an RBI single from Marti to plate Pinsker.

Highland nudged its lead to 4-0 with what turned out to be a key insurance run in the sixth. Knebel led off with a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice by Willis, and scored on Dickman's RBI single to left.

Triad 5, Highland 0

A single by Jacob Willis in the third inning was the only hit the Bulldogs could muster the entire game against Triad ace Nick Beeler. Beeler (3-1, 1.75 ERA) was masterful as he also only gave out one free pass and fanned nine.

Triad scored all five of its runs and had five of its eight hits in the fourth inning to hand Pinsker (2-1) his first loss of the year.

For the Knights, Hunter Boyd, Travis Hellmann and Zach Kraabel each had two hits and one run scored. Boyd and Kraabel each smacked a double while Boyd and Hellmann each knocked in one.

In addition, Hunter Smith added one hit, one RBI and one run while Mack Langdon had one hit and one run.