October 16, 2008

Highland Closes Out Lady Tigersí Softball Season in District Opener

Julie Schultz took some big steps this week into filling the shoes of her two older sisters. The freshman pitcher for the Highland Cougars led her team to a Missouri Class 2 District 12 title in her quest to return the team to the state playoffs. Her sisters formed the potent battery for Highlandís state championship team. Jodi Schultz pitched and Stephanie Schultz caught for the 2005 Class 2 winners.

Early on it appeared like Highland, the #4 seeded squad in the district playoffs might not even make it out of the first round.

SCR-Iís Kelly Lister matched Schultz putting up goose eggs on the score board for three innings.

The Lady Tigers actually threatened in the top of the first inning. Jessica Sites led off the game with a base hit. She advanced on a sacrifice before Deidra Dochterman worked a walk to put two runners on. But Schultz worked out of the jam, and it was smooth sailing from there for the freshman hurler.

The Lady Tigers defense helped Lister shutout Highland through the first three innings, turning in a number of fielding gems.

But the Lady Cougars finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth. Schultz did the damage at the plate as well. She broke the 0-0 tie with a double into left field. She fouled off a number of quality pitches before delivering the gameís first RBI. A bloop single fell between second base and right field allowing two more runs to cross the plate.

Highland looked posed to add to the 3-0 lead but the defense sparkled again for SCR-I. Valerie Oldham fielded a bunt to third base and gunned down the runner at first. Skyler Alderton threw across the diamond to Elizabeth Small to nail the runner trying to advance to third.

But Schultz didnít allow the momentum to carry over for Scotland County at the plate. She retired the side in order in the top of the sixth before Highland put the contest away with four more runs in the bottom of the frame.

Schultz limited SCR-I to just two hits and walked one while striking out 13 in the win. Lister gave up 11 hits and walked one while striking out four.

Scotland County finished the year at 5-13. Highland improved to 11-7 and went on to knock off top seeded Putnam County 1-0 in the district semi-finals, meaning for the first time in more than two decades, the Lady Midgets would not be district champions.

Highland continued with a championship win over Clark County on October 11th. The Lady Cougars will now face defending state champions Palmyra, the District 11 winner.

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