CONYERS - It was déjà vu for the Alcovy High baseball team Friday when it entered Danny Blue Field to take on fourth-ranked Heritage Patriots in region action.
Despite the Patriots (17-2 overall, 17-0 Region 8-AAAA) getting off to a slow start, they eventually cruised to a 9-1 victory, blowing the Tigers (4-11, 4-12) away as they did earlier this season by the same score.
"We came out a little slow to begin with," said Heritage coach Casey Teal. "It took us a while to get going, but once we did we started playing pretty decent."
Heritage amassed nine runs off nine hits against Alcovy starting pitcher Ross Roberts, who had a respectable outing with three strikeouts and one walk.
However, he surrendered two home runs in the first and second innings to spark the Patriots.
Alcovy started with two quick hits in the top half of the first inning after Michael Aventurato doubled and Roberts singled to put men on the corners.
But the Tigers failed to capitalize, as Heritage starter Tyler Austin mesmerized opposing hitters for the remainder of the contest.
"I feel good about the way our guys played today," said Alcovy coach Joe Mobley. "Our guys swung the bat, they scrapped and I'm just proud of the fight my kids show every outing."
When Heritage got its turn to bat in the bottom half, Travis Tarleton led off with a 361 foot solo home run over the center field wall.
"(Roberts) was throwing pretty good," Tarleton said. "I caught a fastball about letter high and got the sweet part of the bat on it, and it felt good."
After Roberts got the next two batters to fly out, he struck out Anthony Bazzani to end the inning, with Heritage leading 1-0.
Austin got the Tigers to go down in order during the second inning, executing a masterful display en route to eight strikeouts, three hits and zero walks.
Offensively, Heritage tacked on three more runs in the third inning to make it 5-0.
Alcovy scored its only run in the fourth after an RBI single by Cole Loggins, who plated Beau Thomas who had previously singled.
But Austin recovered, shutting down the Tigers by striking out five of the next eight batters. Getting a four-run fifth inning from his teammates certainly helped keep things at bay.
"We had one bad inning where we threw the ball around a little bit," Mobley said. "We had a few bad pitches and a passed ball in that inning, and that has been our M. O. all season - one bad inning.
"The kids battled," he added. "That doesn't tell me we're struggling; it just tells me how close we're getting to being pretty good."
Alcovy will next host Clarke Central at 5:30 p.m. on Monday.