Taking the High road: Russell uses big inning to defeat Huntington

Apr. 13—RUSSELL — The Greek philosopher Epictetus once said, "It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters."

And if Epictetus hadn't died about 1,900 years ago, he probably would've said Friday's game at Russell fit that to a tee.

Russell defeated Huntington, 12-1, in five innings. Starting pitcher Audrey Patel struggled to start but bounced back in a big way.

Patel walked four of the first five Huntington batters she faced to give the Highlanders a 1-0 lead.

But the senior had enough of Huntington's batters after that first frame and struck out 10 of the last 17 batters she faced to help secure the win.

"That's just who she is," Russell coach Destiny Goins said. "She came in after the first, we talked it out, and she went back out and started spinning the ball better and hitting spots."

The Highlanders' season has started to resemble a Greek tragedy.

The team is 0-14 on the year. Twelve games have been decided by mercy rule.

"They're coming in and doing more than just putting in the work," Huntington coach Mendi Clark said. "We've had a rough start to the season, don't have that first win yet, but these girls are still coming in positive and happy every game."

The Red Devils responded in the bottom of the first when Paige Hutchison stole home to tie the game.

Russell went bat-crazy in the third inning.

"I wish we'd started doing that in the first and the second," Goins said with a laugh. "But it's better to do it in the third than wait to the fifth or sixth."

It started when a Lili Smith fielder's choice helped Jayla Chalupa get home.

Patel then hit a two-run RBI single over second base to add to the lead.

Bella Hall followed that up with a two-run single into shallow right field.

A sacrifice fly from Ava Howard tacked on one more before Hutchison went deep. Hutchison cranked a home run over the left-field fence to add three runs to the board.

A triple from Gabby Oborne immediately followed that, but the Highlanders finally stopped the bleeding and ended the inning.

Russell scored nine runs off six hits to take a 10-1 lead.

"All it takes is one bad inning," Clark said. "That's all it takes to put you behind the scoreboard. You take the third inning away, we're staying even with them."

The Red Devils put the game into mercy territory in the bottom of the fourth frame with a two-run homer from Reese Cameron that put the home team up 12-1.

"I'm super proud of Reese for that big hit," Goins said. "A lot of girls came through hitting, top to bottom, tonight. I was happy with our offense for sure."

Huntington tried to avoid the early finish. Lexi Black hit a standup double to start the fifth frame, but that was all the Highlanders could muster.

"We knew the competition in the showcase would be tough," Clark said. "We still came out and scored first and had a positive attitude. We knew coming into we'd have to play hard."

Russell hopes the stellar play carries on into the team's pair of games today.

"We've talked time and again about that consistency," Goins said. "I hope we can keep that consistency and walk away from this weekend with three wins."

HUNTINGTON 100 00 — 1 2 0

RUSSELL 109 2X — 12 10 0

Sharp, Johnson (3) and Langdon; Patel and Highfield. W — Patel. L — Sharp. 2B — Langdon (H), Howard (R), Black (H). 3B — Oborne (R). HR — Hutchison (R), Cameron (R).

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