Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Highland Remains Unbeaten, Claims Triad Tournament Title

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Highland Remains Unbeaten, Claims Triad Tournament Title

Article excerpt

TROY, ILL. * At the beginning of the softball season, Highland coach Madi Exton had her players write down their goals for the upcoming campaign.

It was unanimous.

"We all said we wanted to win 30 games," explained junior leadoff hitter Addison Rinderer.

Added senior first baseman Hannah Miener, "Last year we won (25), so 30 seemed like a reasonable goal."

Exton was a little surprised when she saw those high aspirations.

"Obviously, that was a lofty goal," Exton said. "I wasn't sure it was possible, but I was glad that they thought it was."

The 30-win plateau is close to becoming reality after Highland downed O'Fallon 11-2 on Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the Triad Invitational.

The Bulldogs moved to 21-0 with another in a long line of impressive victories. They have outscored their opponents 183-36 this season and have been on a major roll since the first game of the season, ironically an 11-2 win over O'Fallon.

With 11 more games on the regular-season schedule, and a host of potential playoff contests, the drive for 30 certainly is within reach.

"Ever since we talked about 30 (wins), we've been really focused," Miener said.

It showed on Saturday.

The Bulldogs, No. 1 in the small-school rankings, scored five times in the third inning to break open a close game.

Miener highlighted the uprising with a long 230-foot home run to dead center that pushed a 2-0 lead to 4-0.

"I've been seeing the ball really well," Miener said.

The strength of the Bulldogs' power-packed lineup was on full display against O'Fallon (13-10). Rinderer went 4-for-4, as did No. 9 hitter Reily Kassay.

Miener provided the power in the middle with her team-high sixth home run of the season.

Senior left-handed pitcher Aubrey Hacke not only kept the Panthers in check, but she also ripped three hits, scored twice, and drove in a run.

Hacke, who is headed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha, threw consecutive no-hitters earlier this season. …

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