The Highland Bulldogs defeated the Belleville East Lancers 4-2 in high school baseball Monday.
The Bulldogs struck first, bringing Garrett Marti around to score in the first inning. Elliott Pratt went 1-for-3 with a double and Dillon Knebel finished 1-for-3 at the plate with a run scored.
Payne Waldman was the winning pitcher for Highland, allowing four hits and one run in six innings of work.
“Getting on top early in the game felt really good and gave me a boost of confidence going into those next leading innings,” said Waldman. “Having a defense to back me up is incredible.”
Belleville East managed to outhit Highland seven to three, but the three errors early on by the Lancers was the difference maker.
“Had a little bit of a rally going there in the seventh but just kind of fell short because we dug ourselves too big of a hole,” said Lancers head coach Ryan Wiggs.
Gage Cruz took the loss while Jaden Webb went 2-for-3 with a double and Kyle Rensing finished 2-for-3 on the afternoon to lead the Lancers’ offense.
The Lancers went into the bottom of the seventh inning trailing 4-1. Rensing scored and the Lancers set themselves up to make a late game surge but stranded runners on second and third base.
“We didn’t want it to be that exciting there at the end, but on the other side they like making plays and they’re a good team,” said Bulldogs head coach Joel Hawkins. “Every time we play a Southwestern Conference team you know you’re going up against a real solid outfit and this game was no different.”
Highland next plays Effingham at Glik Park and Belleville East plays at Waterloo.