Highland softball prepares for postseason
For the Highland softball team, it has been pretty smooth sailing in 2014.
The Huskies have been ranked No. 1 in 2A since the beginning of the season, currently ride an 18-game winning streak and their only blemish on a 25-1 record is to Solon, the No. 4 team in 4A.
But with one week left in the regular season, their focus is set on one goal going forward: A state championship bid.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Highland head coach Carrie Wieland said. “The girls are focused on playing their game and they focus on what job is at hand. They are unselfish with batting and we are scoring lots of runs with two outs. They are having a good time and are relaxed knowing what our real goal is and what is at hand.”
Over the weekend, it was business as usual for the Huskies as they picked up wins over Roland-Story, 8-3, and Ogden, 10-1.
Against Roland-Story, the Huskies struck early, but didn’t put big runs on the board until the fifth and seventh innings, plating three runs in each.
Cheyann Adamson and Bridget Murphy each picked up three hits against Roland-Story, combining for four runs scored with Murphy picking up two RBIs.
In the second game on Saturday, Ogden scored first in the home half of the first inning, but Highland used a five-run fourth inning to break the game open, led by three RBI performances by Adamson and Seaira Drish.
In the game against Ogden, Katie Chalupa pitched five innings and only gave up one run.
She is joining Katie Springer, who has been the primary pitcher all season, in the rotation, which will give Wieland some flexibility going forward.
“(Having Chalupa) is so important and we are really lucky,” Wieland said. “It gives Katie Jo (Springer) some relief, but it also gives her a chance to say that (Chalupa) can do this as well. The defense fails Chalupa sometimes — I think they get lackadaisical — but once we get her to pitch a few more games, it will be a great threat, and to know there is a backup who can come in and take over is important. I’ve never really had that opportunity before.”
While Springer has been stellar all year, posting a 1.45 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 130 innings, she has started 22 of the Huskies’ 26 games. Chalupa will be able to give her some much-needed rest going forward into the playoffs, which start in one week.
Chalupa also brings a little different element to the pitching game for Highland.
“I think Chalupa brings more speed and that throws the batters off quite a bit,” Wieland said. “Katie Jo’s ball moves a little more and Chalupa can throw it a little bit harder, and those combinations are really good to
Highland will travel to take on Iowa Mennonite at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night.