Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
RIVERSIDE — The Highland softball team celebrated the careers of seniors Grace Batcheller and Mackinze Hora before the game and a Southeast Iowa Super Conference North Division win a couple of hours later on Tuesday night.
Batcheller led the way at the plate and in the pitcher’s circle as the Huskies knocked off Columbus 11-1 in five innings.
“It's very nice, especially on senior night when everyone is here,” said Batcheller. “We had a really good crowd tonight, and (Columbus) is a really good team.”
The Huskies put up three runs in the first inning to take a 3-0 lead. Columbus’ Victoria Howell cut that advantage to 3-1 with a two-out RBI single in the top of the third, but the Huskies responded with three more in the bottom half, two in the fourth and another three in the fifth to win via the 10-run mercy rule.
“I'm really proud of them,” said Highland head coach Carrie Weiland. “They know tonight was kind of a big game because everybody was going to be here to support them.”
Batcheller kept Columbus hitters off balance all night, letting in one unearned run on four hits, while striking out eight. She also went 3-for-3 at the plate with a pair of doubles and an RBI.
Jessica Kraus went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Payton Brun was 1-for-3 with the game-ending two-RBI single. Sarah Burton was 2-for-2 with three stolen bases and a pair of runs scored. Hora, MyLei Smith, Lilly Barre and Madison Beeson all knocked in runs.
Columbus’ Lily Coil went 2-for-3 with a pair of stolen bases in the loss. Victoria Howell was 1-for-2 with an RBI. Aracely Garza was 1-for-2 with a run scored.
Wildcat starter Libby White gave up six runs (three earned) and struck out three batters in three innings. Kennedy Woepking gave up five runs (two earned) in one frame.
Columbus head coach Katie Coil said her young team, which starts a majority of underclassmen, can learn from playing a team like Highland, and spoke to the future of Wildcat softball.
“We're extremely young, and We hadn't been .500 in 10 years,” said Coil. “So we are progressing, maybe not fast as I would hope, but next year we've got the same kids back. It's going to be great.”
Highland is now 18-8-1 on the season, with a 12-3 North Division record. Columbus is 12-12 overall and 8-8 in the league.