New coach to guide Highland baseball in Region 6 race
Mar 29, 2019 10:32AM
By Josh McFadden
Highland’s Graydon Lambert chases down a Hillcrest player in a game last season. The Rams have a new coach leading them this season. (File Photo by Julie Shipman Photography)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Last year, the Highland baseball team had an up-and-down season but did enough to secure the fourth and final playoff spot from Region 6. This season, the Rams will try to improve their fortunes and win in the state tournament.
And they’ll attempt this with a new head coach at the helm.
Pat Treend takes over the program, inheriting a team that went 6-9 in Region 6 a year ago and that finished with an overall record of 14-13. The Rams had a quick stay in the Class 5A state tournament, losing to Viewmont, 7-3, and to Provo, 10-8, in the double-elimination playoff.
Highland showed improvement from the previous year in which it went 9-14 overall and placed sixth in Region 5 with a 7-11 mark. In fact, last season marked the first time since 2005 that the Rams posted a winning record.
There have been encouraging signs in the early going this season.
Highland went 2-2 in its first four contests. Following a season-opening setback at the hands of Providence Hall on March 5, 9-4, the Rams earned a pair of victories on March 11 and 12. First, Highland got payback for one its state tournament losses last year by blanking Viewmont 3-0. The game was a defensive battle, but the Rams managed two runs in the sixth inning to ice the game.
The next day was quite different, as Highland outlasted Hunter 13-12. Through four innings, Highland managed just one run and found itself behind by three. The team exploded in the fifth inning with nine runs, followed by a three-run sixth inning. In the process, Highland turned a 4-1 deficit into a commanding 13-6 run heading into the final inning.
The Rams sweated out a victory—barely.
Hunter kept Highland off the board in the top of the seventh inning. Once they got up to bat, the Wolverines went off, amassing six runs to cut the margin to 13-12. Highland was finally able to get the third out of the inning and breathed a sigh of relief in the narrow triumph.
On March 14, the Rams fell to 2-2 following an 11-1 loss to Cedar in the Tiger-Panther Classic.
Last season, the Rams were an impressive 8-2 in non-region play. Once the Region battles began, Highland had some struggles against the top teams. Like previous seasons, Highland will play all five league foes three times in back-to-back-to-back series. Region games begin for the Rams April 9 when they host West. Highland went 2-1 against the Panthers in 2018. The top four teams will qualify for the 5A state tournament. Last season’s playoff berth was the school’s first in 13 years.