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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Highland at home in Farmington

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The sign on the scoreboard in straight-away centerfield at Farmington High School's beautiful softball stadium reads "Lady Cardinal Field."

But with the way Highland made itself at home in Farmington in the first two rounds of the 4A State Tournament, it would have been more appropriate if that sign read "Lady Rebel Field."

Looking every bit like the home team, the Lady Rebels swept through the first two rounds of the state tournament with back-to-back shutouts, earning their second straight trip to Fayetteville and the Class 4A championship game in the process.

Highland opened tourney play with a 1-0 shutout of the real home team, the Farmington Lady Cardinals, May 4.

Then, the Lady Rebs followed up that impressive performance with a 2-0 shutout of the Malvern Lady Leopards the next morning.

As has been the norm for her entire four-year career, Karisa Hendrix was dominant in the pitching circle.

Against Farmington, she struck out 18 of the 27 batters she faced, while giving up just two hits. Against Malvern, Hendrix gave up four hits while fanning 12, walking one and hitting one.

That, combined with some sturdy defense and timely hitting, will get you a berth in the state finals.

Highland scored its lone tally of the Farmington game in the home half of the fourth inning.

Alex Whitten started the frame off with a hit past short stop for the Lady Rebs.

Jessica Sellers moved Whitten to second with a base hit and then a fielder's choice off the bat of Murphy Williams moved Whitten to third and Sellers to second.

Hailey Hall then took care of business by driving in Whitten with a hit to give Highland a 1-zip lead.

With a one-run advantage under her belt, Hendrix struck out the side in the fifth.

And Farmington would get no closer as the Lady Rebels advanced to the semi-final round by that 1-0 score.

Hall had two hits and the game-winning RBI, while Stephanie Shaw, Courtney Sharp, Whitten and Sellers all hit safely.

With a trip to the championship game on the line the next morning, Highland knocked off Malvern 2-0.

The Lady Rebels got on the scoreboard quickly, scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning.

Shaw smacked a double to left field and then stole third base.

Next up, Whitten plated Shaw on a fielder's choice to give Highland a 1-0 lead.

The Lady Leopards got a runner to third base with two outs in the top of the second, but an inning-ending fielder's choice kept Malvern off the board.

Malvern starter Erica Barkley hit a shaky stretch in the home half of the fourth inning and Highland took full advantage.

Whitten led off the frame with a solid hit and then Barkley issued back-to-back walks to Sellers and Williams, loading the bases.

After a fielder's choice recorded the first out of the inning, Sharp sent a hit into left field, scoring pinch runner Tracy Bolt to push Highland in front 2-0.

Malvern had one last chance to even things up in the top of the seventh, as Shay McGill and Lyndsey Hollyfield got on base with back-to-back hits with two outs.

But Hendrix made sure those runners stayed put, striking out Sydney Hollyfield to end the game with Highland on top 2-0.

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