The Highland Lady Rebels, runner-ups in the Class 4A State Tournament a year ago, opened the 2009 softball season with a 4-2 non-conference win over Westside March 10 at Ash Flat Ball Park.
Karisa Hendrix was sharp as a tack on the hill for Highland in her first action, as she racked up 14 Ks, while walking two, giving up six hits and hitting one Lady Warrior batter.
The Lady Rebs dented the scoreboard first, picking up a run in the home half of the first inning.
Katheryn Bobo led off the frame by drawing a base-on-balls and then swiping second base. Stephanie Shaw followed with a single that moved Bobo to third. Then with Kristen Ellis in the box, Bobo stole home to give the Lady Rebs a 1-0 lead.
Hendrix kept Westside quiet in the second, allowing Highland to tack on a run to its total in the bottom of the inning.
Hendrix racked up a single up the middle of the field and Courtney Sharp got on board with a soft nubber that the Westside catcher could not handle right in front of the dish. Murphy Williams then coaxed a free pass on four balls, loading the bases for Highland.
A ball in the dirt got past the Westside catcher and pinch-runner Tracy Bolt took advantage of this by motoring home from third, extending Highland's lead to 2-zip.
Westside finally had a bit of success off Hendrix in the top of the third, as Meagan Williams hit an inside-the-park homer with a runner on base, allowing the Lady Warriors to tie the game at 2-all.
But the contest was not even for very long.
In the bottom of the third, Alison Price smacked a hit to center that plated Ellis, giving Highland a 3-2 lead.
Over the next three innings, Hendrix sat down five Westside batters with strikeouts and gave up just a pair of hits in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
The Lady Rebels finished off Westside with a run in the home half of the sixth.
Hendrix started the stanza with a base hit and two batters later, Sharp drove in Bolt with a double to center that wrapped up Highland's 4-2 win. Westside.