HIGHLAND BASEBALL

Huskies season ends in heartbreaking district final

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RIVERSIDE

Brenton Bonebrake’s enthusiastic words echoed through the ballpark last Saturday night.

Highland had entered the sixth inning of its Class 1A district title game against Lynnville-Sully with a five-run deficit, trailing 8-3.

Bonebrake, a Highland senior who had a team-high three hits, began the inning with a triple. And moments later, as he scored on a ground-out, he clapped his hands and shouted: “Still in this thing! Let’s go, let’s go!”

The Huskies must have been listening. They loaded the bases on a single and two hit batters. Trevor McFarland, one of six Highland seniors in the starting lineup, delivered a bases-clearing double to tie the score at 8.

Chase Schultz, a senior, got up shouting after he slid into home with the tying run, scoring all the way from first base on the hit.

“We’re a team that’s never going to give up,” Huskies head coach Seth Milledge said. “There’s a never-say-die attitude. We’re going to fight ‘til the last out. That’s exactly what we did.”

But the momentum-changing hit still didn’t pay off for Highland. Lynnville-Sully scored two runs in the seventh inning and won 10-8 in the game played July 9, capturing the District 8 championship and a berth in the substate final against North Linn.

Highland ended its season with a 22-4 record, reaching 20 wins for the first time since 2017 and losing just four games for the first time in over a decade.

“We were right there,” Milledge said. “We gave ourselves a shot. Unfortunately, it just didn’t go our way.”

“We’re not a quitting team, we battled back,” said Connor Grinstead, a senior who had two hits and scored two runs in his final Highland game. He is headed to Upper Iowa University in the fall for football.

The Huskies battled back from almost the beginning of the game. Lynnville-Sully (24-2) scored one run in the first inning and another four runs in the second inning, highlighted by Corder Noun Harder’s three-run home run.

“One inning gets away from you and that can be the ballgame,” Grinstead said. “In this case, I think that second inning, two errors led to the three-run home run.”

But the Huskies weren’t done.

“They got up 5-0 and I don’t feel like we’re losing this game,” Milledge said. “We still have a lot of baseball to play.”

Highland scored one run in the second inning. Grinstead drove in a run in the third inning with a double, then scored himself on a wild pitch to cut Lynnville’s Sully’s lead to 5-3.

The Hawks scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, going ahead 8-3 before Highland scored five runs to tie it.

“We’re right there. You see it,” Milledge said. “We had some mental errors. We didn’t play our best baseball today obviously. You can’t have that many errors and that many mental mistakes and win ballgames, especially this time of year.”

Lynnville-Sully scored a pair of runs in the seventh on a wild pitch and a bases-loaded walk.

Highland, baseball, Lynnville-Sully

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