Some say success breeds confidence and just examining how the season went its evident the Highland softball continued to become a more confident team with their success throughout the season leading to the best finish at the National tournament in school history, finishing in the Top six.
After a 2-0 start to the NJCAA Division II National Championship Tournament for the first time in school history the Scotties wrapped up their tourney run on Friday by falling in a pair of games. With wins over Kankakee 7-2 and Itawamba 11-3 in six innings the Scotties faced the #1 team LSU-Eunice in a winner’s bracket game first on Friday and fell in a tough 7-1 game and then in an elimination game suffered a 5-3 loss to Kirkwood to cap the season.
Falling behind 2-0 to LSU-Eunice in the first game of the game the Scotties had to fight back in the contest but were down 3-0 before getting on the board in the top of the fourth. Chevelle Sartin led the inning off with a double and then Hannah Schmidt brought her in with an RBI single making it 3-1. LSU-Eunice answered with a three run bottom of the fourth and another run in the fifth. Scotties tried to get back in the contest but were unable to overcome errors and only three hits.
In the loss Sartin had a double and run scored, while Schmidt and Alyssa Wesley each had a hit. Inside the circle Kelly Uthe took the loss in 3.2 innings giving up six runs on seven hits and three walks, while Bailey Lacy tossed 2.1 innings giving up an unearned run on three hits.
With the loss the Scotties faced elimination as they looked to stay alive in the National tournament and took on Kirkwood. Kirkwood manufactured a run in the top of the first inning but the Scotties tied the game in the bottom of the second as Isabella Konieczka brought in Alyssa Wesley on a sac-fly after the Scotties worked the bases loaded. It remained tied 1-1 until the fifth and Kirkwood took advantage of a Scottie error along with multiple hits including a home run to plate four runs and make it a 5-1 contest.
Scotties didn’t go away as Sara Shinn blasted a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth and Alexis Hodapp launched one in the bottom of the seventh but it wasn’t enough for the comeback as Highland fell 5-3 ending their run at Nationals.
In the loss Highland recorded six hits as Hodapp went 1-3 with a home run, while Shinn went 1-2 with a home run. Wesley went 1-3 with a run scored and walk, Kami Zimmerman, Schmidt and Cassidy Greer added a hit. Inside the circle Lacy tossed 4.2 innings giving up five runs on six hits and two walks, while Uthe tossed the final 2.1 innings giving up no runs on two hits and two walks.
The 2-2 performance at Nationals capped the season for the Scotties with a 35-12 record and gave them a Top six finish at the National tournament for the first time in school history.
Several strong individual performances were put together by the Scotties during the season and a team record was broken as Highland stole 145 bases for a single season team record. Sartin finished the season with the fourth most runs (68) in a single season and eighth best batting average (.472) in a single season. Hodapp finished the year tenth in a single season in batting average (.464) and RBI’s (61), while Konieczka finished fourth in stolen bases (44) in a single season and Lacy finished seventh in wins (16) in a single season.
Highland finished a strong season that featured a KJCCC DII title and Region VI District E title, along with Heidi and Scott Jordan achieving their 500th career win (at Coastal Alabama-Bay Minette 7-5 on March 9th) and 250th career KJCCC win (vs Coffeyville 8-1 on April 4th). With 35 wins this season the Scotties have now won 30+ games under Heidi and Scott Jordan 14 of their 15 years coaching and have loss less than 15 games in 12 of their 15 seasons with seven trips to Nationals.