For the second consecutive season, the Highland Park varsity softball team swept a best-of-three series in the bi-district round of the UIL playoffs, and, for the second consecutive year, HP will face Rockwall in the area round of post-season play.
The Lady Scots advanced by virtue of two shut-out wins over W.T. White High School. The first, a 5-0, one-hit blanking last Thursday at Lady Longhorn Field, then, this past Saturday at the HP Softball Field, a 10-0 win in a run rule shortened 5 inning game.
In both games, HP’s senior pitcher Katie Bell was sharp; she followed-up her one-hit, 9 strike-out win on Thursday with a 3 hit, 4 strike-out game -- only throwing 50 pitches, about half her normal pitch count.
Bell had more run support on Saturday after Head Varsity Softball Coach Meredith Townsend challenged the Lady Scots before the 2nd game to hit to their potential after a slow start at the plate in game one. The team responded, scoring eight runs in the first two innings of Saturday’s game.
HP’s lead-off batter, shortstop Amanda Reenan, got things started for the Lady Scots right from the get-go in the bottom of the first when she singled to left. After senior Emily Singh sacrificed Reenan to 3rd on a sneaky bunt on which Singh was nearly safe, Reenan would easily score when the next batter, Sunny Bowden, hit a line drive double in the left-center gap.
With one out, HP was up quickly 1-0. Highland Park’s four-hole batter, Rennie Orr next took an 0-1 pitch and pulled it off the W.T. White 3rd baseman’s glove. The softball caromed into foul territory allowing Sunny Bowden to score and Orr to safely take second. After Katie Bell drew a walk on four straight pitches (one which allowed Orr’s courtesy runner, freshman Katie Reenan, to advance to 3rd, another, allowing her to score), HP’s hot-hitting Olivia Davis poked a single into left which scored the Lady Scots’ 4th run of the inning.
In the bottom half of the 2nd, then, with one out, Amanda Reenan again came to the plate, took one ball, and then blasted her 7th dinger of the year off the high left-center field fence at the HP Softball Field. Highland Park would add to their run total when Emily Singh smashed yet another softball off the Lady Longhorn third-baseman. Singh would score when Sunny Bowden (who was 2-for-4 on the day, with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored) hit her 2nd double of the afternoon -- this time an opposite field shot to right field. Rennie Orr then hit a sac. fly to left, which scored Bowden, and when Katie Bell drew her second base-on-balls, her courtesy runner, Sarah Hall, stole 2nd, then 3rd -- she too would score after Olivia Davis’ 2nd base hit. Through only two innings, HP led 8-0.
Both teams would be held in-check in the third inning, but Highland Park would tack-on a run in the 4th when Rennie Orr led off the inning by tapping the W.T. White pitch for her second long ball given-up on the day -- this one a solo homer to left field. The Lady Scots tried to add more runs in the inning after Katie Bell’s single to left, but a fly-out, ground-out and pop-out left Bell stranded on-base. For the day, HP left 5 runners on base, which was an improvement from their Thursday game when they left 7 on base.
Highland Park’s 10th run of the game came after Amanda Reenan walked. When Emily Singh sacrificed Reenan to 2nd and a fielder’s choice pushed the Scottie shortstop to 3rd, Reenan would slide home for the game winning run (10 runs after 5 complete innings) and HP had swept the first round of the playoffs yet again.
For the game, HP scored 10 runs on 9 hits and committed only one error. The Lady Longhorns scored no runs on 3 hits and had 3 errors.
With the win, Highland Park advances on to the area round and will face Rockwall High School this Friday, May 6th in a one game playoff at 7pm at Wylie High School.