Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
RIVERSIDE — Tuesday nights Class 1A Regional 5 contest between Highland and Hillcrest Academy marked the third meeting of the season between the two squads.
This time around the matchup carried a bit more weight as it was win or go home.
When all was said and done, it was Highland who came out on top with a tight 2-0 victory over Hillcrest Academy.
It was a defense oriented game for both teams as there were only a total of five hits in the game, three by the Huskies and two by the Ravens.
Highland scored its first run in the bottom of the first inning. Following a ground out to start the inning, Connor Grinstead got on with a single. He would later score as Highland intentionally got caught in a run down between first and second, making the Raven choose where to throw the ball.
“Usually we’re the team that starts slow, but it was good to shut them out and then take the lead,” Connor Grinstead said. “If we take the lead early, we still cant coast, but it’s good insurance.”
Hillcrest couldn’t get it going inside the box and the Huskies pitchers didn’t make it any easier.
Chase Schultz and Ethan Paisley combined for two hits allowed, two walks and nine strikeouts, with Schultz tallying eight himself in 5.2 innings.
“We pitched really good,” Schultz said. “I came into this game just wanting my command to be there and it was there a little bit. I lost a couple batters, but it happens. We’ll see what happens come Saturday.”
Neither team could get anything going in the second. Following a walk, Schultz sat three straight batters down in the inning. For Hillcrest, Seth Ours made quick work of the inning with two quick outs, a walk and a ground out.
In the third, it was nearly the same result for the Ravens as three batters came to the plate, but nothing came of it.
The Huskies had arguably their best offensive inning in the third as they loaded the bases with a trio of walks following a ground out to start the inning. Highland had the potential to score a slew of runs, but Grinstead was once again the sole run off of a wild pitch.
From then on out it was a stalemate as just five batters was the most either team could bring inside the box in each of the last four innings.
Grinstead, Schultz and Logan Bonebrake each had a hit in the win for Highland.
Highland will take on Lynnville-Sully on Saturday in the district semifinal.
“We gotta keep doing what we do,” Highland head coach Seth Milledge said. “We have to play our game. More than anything we have to come out and play Highland Huskie baseball. If we do that, we’re gonna be in games.”
Jace Rempel and Mason Bender each tallied hits for the Ravens.
Seth Ours and Luke Schrock each combined for two runs on two hits, five walks and three strikeouts.
“Looking back, we’ve played the some of the top teams in the state,” Hillcrest head coach Danny Hershberger said. “We competed with them and proved ourselves. We may be young and inexperienced, but we can compete with anyone. That was the best part of the year, just watching our guys compete and seeing their growth.”