Highlanders open season with 19-0 drubbing of Tolsia Rebels

March 17, 2019
The Highlanders' Bryce Carter (10) readies his pitch as Huntington High School plays against Tolsia High School on Friday at Cook-Holbrook Field in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON — The Huntington High Highlanders made quick work of the visiting Tolsia Rebels in the season opener for both teams Friday evening on Highlander Hill. The home team tallied 19 runs on 20 hits to beat Tolsia in a five inning run-rule victory.

“Usually at the start of the season hitting is behind your pitching but that didn’t seem to be the case today. The kids have been putting in the work and hit today around 2:30 (before the game) and had some nice practice,” Huntington coach Danny Harbert said “They’re seeing the ball and hitting it, nothing more than that.”

Two of the first three Tolsia batters singled in the top of the first inning to put two runners on with just one out and Cole Perry stepping into the batters box. The Rebels would have scored when Perry singled, however it was ruled a dead ball after the grounder took a bounce off Tolsia base runner Eric Williams which kept the lead runner from advancing and ruled Williams as the second out. Tolsia did not register another hit in the loss.

As early as it occurred, the ill-timed touch proved to be the turning point in the game as frustration seemed to follow the Rebels into the bottom of the first inning.

Rebels starting pitcher Billy Perry retired the first two highlander batters but gave up a single to Jordan Walker right before Evan Juniper tripled of the outfield wall and scored Walker. Grant Beckett was the third straight HHS batter to register a hit and gave the Highlanders a 2-0 lead when he singled to score Juniper before being caught in a rundown in the next at-bat which ended the inning.

Tolsia coach Jeff Wallace said though Perry hadn’t faced as talented of a lineup as the Highlanders before, he’d be better for it after learning to handle adversity on the mound.

″(Huntington) did what we thought they would and I wanted to see how he’d handle it. I thought he did all right in the first inning but got a little frustrated in the second inning. It seemed like he was still a little aggravated that we didn’t score there in the first inning when (Williams) was hit with that grounder and that aggravation translated straight from the bases to his pitching after that,” Wallace said.

Perry exited after two complete innings, giving up seven hits, walking two and allowing nine runs in his sixteen batters faced.

Huntington’s Bryce Carter sat the Rebels down in order in the second inning before the Highlanders blew the game open in the bottom of the inning, scoring seven runs on four hits, including an RBI double from Walker.

Carter and Trey Straub led off the inning with consecutive walks — each eventually scoring as four of the next five HHS batters reached base safely. Straub recorded a 3-RBI double to cap off a seven spot and give HHS a hefty nine run advantage after just two innings. Straub finished 2-for-2 with a single and double to go with four RBI and two walks.

Huntington batted around in the second, third and fourth innings and pushed a 13-0 lead to 19-0 after logging nine hits in its final plate appearance of the evening.

Tolsia struggled in the field and in the box as the game progressed. Perry and Williams each reached base in the top of the third inning after drawing walks from Juniper who entered in relief of Carter. Those two would be the final base runners of the contest for the Rebels as the Highlanders retired the final seven batters faced.

Huntington travels to face Parkersburg on Saturday while Tolsia next faces East Carter in Grayson, Kentucky, Monday March 18. The two teams will meet again at Huntington High Thursday March 21.