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HHS girls hang on to beat Fairland

Apr. 10, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

PROCTORVILLE -- Huntington High got 14 strikeouts from its ace Rachel Bias and put together nine hits to top Fairland, 6-3, in softball Tuesday evening.

But the Highlanders (5-6) had to fight to hold off a rally from the Dragons in the bottom of the seventh inning to pick up the win.

Fairland (2-5) scored two runs and left the bases loaded in its last at bat.

It started when Bias struck out Molly Morris, but the ball got past catcher Laura Collins and Morris was able to run to first base.

Fairland picked up three infield singles and capitalized on an error to plate two runs with no one out and the bases juiced for the meat of the Dragons' lineup.

Bias was able to strike out Haley Woodall, get a pop-out from Mackenzie Riley and then strike out Ellen Hinshaw to end the contest.

"We had an opportunity, that's for sure," said Fairland coach Joe Auxier. "All we needed was one big hit and it didn't show up. Our big bats still aren't hitting the ball when we have base runners, so we need to fix that."

Huntington High coach Darren Woody called the bottom of the seventh a "learning experience" for his team.

Many of the Fairland players reached base due to slow grounders and indecisiveness from the infield.

"It's just those fundamentals of them thinking where to go with the ball," Woody said. "The ball wasn't hit that hard, and (Fairland) got two runs on three hits where the ball never left the infield."

But, as has been the case lately for the Highlanders, the team could rely on Bias to shut things down.

"This is her third start where she's really brought her A game," Woody said. "Hopefully she'll continue to improve."

Bias also nearly had a home run in the top of the sixth inning, but had to settle for a double as the ball bounced off the top of the fence and back into play.

"She asked me where it was and I told her right on top of the tube, unfortunately on this side (outfield) and not the other side, where it would have been a home run," Woody said.

Six runs is the most the Highlanders have scored on the season, and Woody looks at it as a sign of continued improvement for his team.

"The bats are sort of coming around," he said. "We just have to stay consistent."

Fairland went with first time starter Allison Shepherd on the mound instead of ace Chandler Fulks. Auxier said he had to rest Fulks because Fairland doesn't have a day off this week.

While the Highlanders were able to put up two runs in the top of the first, Shepherd, who pitched the entire game, seemed to settle in nicely, striking out six and holding the Highlanders scoreless through the second, third and fourth innings, and again in the sixth. Huntington High added three runs on two hits in the top of the fifth, and one run in the top of the seventh.

"I was pleased," Auxier said. "For her first time out, I think she pitched well enough that if we had been hitting, it would have been competitive."

HUNTINGTON HIGH 200 030 1 -- 6 9 4

FAIRLAND 000 010 2 -- 3 9 4

Bias and Collins; Shepherd and Chloe Stanley, Molly Morris.

Hitting (H) Sawyers 2-4, RBI, Howell 2-3, 2B, RBI; (F) Stone 3-3, Fulks 2-3, RBI.