Highland struck for seven and nine runs in the third and fourth innings, respectively, as the Cougars defeated Mark Twain 20-4 on Monday.

Sometimes the scoreboard does not tell the whole story.

Such was the case Monday evening for the Mark Twain baseball team.

Visiting Highland struck for seven and nine runs in the third and fourth innings, respectively, as the Cougars defeated Mark Twain 20-4, in five innings.

But Mark Twain coach Ian Hatton wasn’t completely disappointed in the lopsided loss.

After falling behind 4-0, the Tigers tied the game with a four spot in the home half of the second inning.

Bradyn Hooley delivered a two-out single to right field to pull the Tigers to within 4-3 before Bailey McMillen followed with an RBI single to left.

Loren Carlisle scored the first run of the inning after the Cougars botched what could have been a double-play ball earlier in the inning.

“We did a really good job of scratching out four runs there to tie it against a good team with a quality pitcher on the mound,” Hatton pointed out. “We were able to get runners on base and came through in some situations with two outs to get it tied.”

Then came the letdown.

Tucker Olson led off the Cougars third inning with a walk before stealing second and third. After a strikeout, Cole Schutte dropped a bloop single to right field for a 5-4 lead. An error and a walk followed before Chad Smith hit a towering 2-run double to center field, putting the Cougars ahead 7-4. The double was aided by a swirling wind and the Tigers losing the ball in the sun.

Highland sent 13 batters to the plate in the third inning, and 14 more in the fourth inning for a commanding 20-4 lead.

“When we needed a big shut-down inning, we kind of dropped the ball on the routine plays in the field,” the Tigers skipper said. “And we walked some guys and against a good quality team like Highland you just can’t give them all those extra bases. That was the difference tonight.”

Mark Twain loaded the bases in the home half of the third inning, but was unable to score.

Hatton was also impressed with the way his team battled at the plate against Highland southpaw Chad Smith.

“We faced a great pitcher tonight,” the Mark Twain coach noted. “Overall I am happy we got several hits and did a lot of nice things against that kind of pitcher. You will take that kind of performance at the plate all day long.”

The Tigers wrapped out five hits, while three other batters reached base with a walk and a pair of hit batters.

Highland also committed five errors in the field. The Cougars pounded out 14 hits against a pair of Mark Twain hurlers.

Hatton mentioned his team will put the lopsided game behind them and move on to facing Clopton on Tuesday.

“There’s no doubt we will be ready to play tomorrow against a conference opponent here at home again,” the coach said. “I think they understand where we let down tonight and I think tomorrow we will be on the other side of it and will not let this happen again.” 

Highland 20, Mark Twain 4 (5)

Highland 227 90 -- 20 14 5
Mark Twain 040 00 -- 4 5 6

HIGHLAND (7-6) -- Chad Smith (W) and Derek Howes. Top hitters -- Smith 3-for-3 5 RBI; Isaac Brown 2-for-3 2 RBI; Tommy Harvey 2-for-4 3 RBI; Jace Jagger 2-for-5 3 RBI; Tucker Olson 2-for-3 2 RBI. 2B -- Smith 2, Harvey, Jagger. HR -- Brown.

MARK TWAIN (4-9) -- Casey Williams (L), Caleb Peters (4) and Bradyn Hooley. Top hitter -- Hooley 1-for-2 2 RBI.