Taking advantage of a productive third inning at the plate, the Highland Lady Rebels broke open a close game and dropped the Viola Lady Longhorns 9-0 in non-conference softball action March 30 at Viola City Park.
The game was a scoreless tie through two innings of play, with Highland starter Karisa Hendrix and Viola hurler Dedra Johnston both looking comfortable in the pitching circle early. Both pitchers faced just one hitter above the minimum in the first two frames.
Hendrix picked up the win for Highland, allowing three hits while fanning 12 and walking one.
Johnston gave up 11 hits, struck out three and walked two for Viola.
While the game was a pitching duel early, the Lady Rebs got rolling in the top of the third.
Courtney Sharp reached base on an error and later stole home for Highland's first tally of the third. Katheryn Bobo hit safely and Stephanie Shaw received a free pass to give Highland a set of base runners and when Alison Price made her way to first on the Lady Horns' second error of the inning, the sacks were full of Lady Rebels.
But not for long.
Jessica Sellers smacked a double to left field that cleared the bases, giving Highland a 4-0 lead.
That lead grew to 5-0 as Haley Hall notched an RBI with a base hit that plated Sellers to end the scoring in the third.
Chasidy Hutson got on board in the bottom of the third with a two-out hit, but she was left stranded as a pop-out ended Viola's chance at getting on the scoreboard.
Coming to bat in the top of the fourth, the Lady Rebels padded their cushion with three additional runs.
Sellers logged her fourth ribbie of the game on a base hit that scored Shaw, while Murphy Williams drilled a hot skipper up the middle of the field that brought Price and Sellers home, giving Highland an 8-0 lead.
Highland had the bases loaded later in the fourth with two outs, but Johnston got a fly-out to end the frame without the Lady Rebels doing any more damage.
Leslie Barker hit safely in the bottom of the fourth and then she swiped second base to give the Lady Horns a runner in scoring position. A fielder's choice from Taylor Griggs moved Barker to third. Then with Alex Duncan in the batter's box, Barker tried to steal home on a ball in the dirt. But Sellers recovered in time to toss the ball to Hendrix who was covering home and Barker was tagged out at the plate, leaving Highland on top 8-0 after four innings of play.
The Lady Rebels tacked on one more run in the visitor's half of the seventh, as Lindsey Goodwin came in to score on a fielding error, wrapping up Highland's 9-0 victory.
In 1A-2 West Conference play April 1, the Lady Longhorns shutout Calico Rock 10-0.
Johnston had a big afternoon, giving up just two hits, while walking one and fanning one.
At the dish, she logged three hits and an RBI.
Griggs recorded three hits and drove in two runs, with Duncan and Hutson adding two hits and two ribbies apiece.