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Highland Cougars Take Varsity Win Over Eagles
By David Sharp
Highland scored in five of their six offensive sets during a 9-3 victory over Knox County. The Eagles (0-3) scored the April 1, 2010 contest’s first run. Highland came right back with a pair of opening inning scores.
The game was fairly well played on both sides despite lack of outdoor practice and game experience.
This was Highland’s first game outside the Clarence Cannon Conference tournament. Knox County has took on three of the area’s better baseball teams.
The Cougars (2-1) did a better job of cashing in their opportunities, one of the more obvious differences in the outcome. “We did a good job of putting the ball in play,” related Highland coach Paul Scifres. “Especially in some key spots. We are getting better. We are young.”
“Eric Lay did a really good job for us starting the game,” Paul Scifres said. “He shouldered the load for five innings. He threw strikes and let the defense do the work. Kameron Roberts came in and shut the door. We are going to be relying on them quite a bit this year.”
Lance McMahon stroked a first inning one out double off Eric Lay. Dylan Morgret followed with an RBI single for a one run Eagle lead. Highland secondsacker Matt Bennett robbed Colton Deem of a hit, ending the top half of inning one with a 1-0 Knox County lead.
Matt Bennett got on base courtesy of an errant throw with one down in the Cougar first. Kameron Roberts and J.T. Gray stroked two out RBI singles, putting Highland ahead 2-1 after an inning of play.
Knox County starter Lance McMahon struck out the side, stranding JT Gray on second base. Eric Lay drew a leadoff walk and eventually scored on Kyler Garkie’s two out RBI hit.
Eagle shortstop Tristan Lonberger kept another Cougar run from scoring when he threw Garkie out at the plate. Matt Bennett singled on the play. Cameron Morford applied the tag for Knox County.
Tristan Lonberger trimmed the deficit to 3-2 when he drilled a home run over the left field fence during the Knox County third inning. Highland came right back with three runs in the bottom half of inning three.
KCHS sophomore Chase Dixson took over on the hill in the third. Lance McMahon pitched two innings, striking out four of the 11 men he faced. McMahon took the loss allowing three runs, one earned with a walk and two wild pitches.
Garth Wilson and Kameron Roberts drew consecutive walks leading off the Cougar third inning. Chase Dixson struck out JT Gray for the first out. Garrett Boone walked to load the bases with one out.
Eric Gray took advantage of the opportunity with a two run single. Alex Johnson put the ball in play, scoring Garrett Boone from third base. Tristan Lonberger threw to first for the second out of the inning. Dyllan Howard grounded to second base for the final out.
Highland led 6-2 after three innings of play. The Eagles responded with a run in their fourth inning.
Colton Deem reached base on a one out error. Keanan Kite doubled, sending runners to second and third with one out. Brock Couch plated Colton Deem with a single. Cole Sutton drew a walk, loading the bases.
Eric Lay fielded a Jason Ingalls grounder and cut Keanan Kite down at home for the second out. Tristan Lonberger flew out to left field, leaving the bases loaded and Highland leading 6-3 after three and half innings.
Cameron Morford pitched the final three innings for Knox County. Morford threw strikes for the most part, fanning five of the 15 batters faced. Cameron Morford allowed three runs, all earned with one walk on five hits.
Knox County freshman Jarrod Bernard started the game at second base and was impressive behind the plate defensively. Kyler Garkie led off the Highland fourth and later scored for a 7-3 Cougar advantage.
Brett Carper and Matt Bennett had RBI hits during a three run Highland fifth inning. Cameron Morford set the side down in order in the sixth. The Eagles stranded two runners in the seventh inning.
Lance McMahon went 2-4 at bat with double and a run scored. Knox County scored three times on six hits and one unofficial error. Highland scored nine runs on nine hits and two errors.
Kyler Garkie was 3-4 with a run scored and another Highland run driven in. Matt Bennett went 2-4 with a run scored and one batted in. Eric Lay was the winning pitcher striking out three men in five innings pitched. Kameron Roberts finished the game on the Highland hill, striking out two batters in as many innings pitched.
“We made some errors and got out of position defensively. They hit the ball well,” Knox County coach Jesse Crawford said. “We had four or five line drives that were right at people and caught. If those drop, it’s a different ball game.”
“It’s tough to play three games in three days, especially at the start of the season. I’ve definitely seen improvement this week,” commented Coach Crawford.
“I’m really impressed with the way Keanan Kite has hit the baseball. He has three doubles in three games. Lance McMahon has been hitting the ball well. He had to start all three games on the mound.”