It’s not how you start, but how you finish.
That could have been the maxim for the day in Salem’s 10-1 win against Locust Grove on Wednesday.
The game, which was stopped after five innings due to the mercy rule, certainly didn’t start like a contest headed for a blowout – especially for Salem.
Locust Grove took advantage of a throwing error to get ahead of Salem (5-2) and starter Rylee Rogers 1-0 after the first. The game stayed that way until the bottom of the third, when the Noles tacked on four runs to take a 4-1 lead. Salem scored six more the next frame, and Rogers kept the Wildcats off the board for the fourth consecutive inning to seal her complete, mercy-rule shortened game for her team. Jessica Rogers knocked doubles in both of Salem’s scoring innings, tallying three RBI on the day.
The Noles have now won three of four games with the only loss in that span coming to undefeated Spalding. Salem, who sits atop of the 8B-AAAA region, opens conference play at home versus Loganville Tuesday at 5 p.m.
After dropping three of their last four games, the Heritage girls used Thursday night’s trip to Madison County as chance to turn things around.
Playing in the opening game, Heritage (4-4) squeaked out a 2-1 win over Walnut Grove. It was the Patriots’ second win in as many games against an 8B-AA squad and, after they return from the Madison County tourney, they’ll get a chance to make it 3-0 in at home on Tuesday against North Oconee at 7:30 p.m.
Heritage opens its 8B-AAAA schedule at Monroe Area on Thursday at 5 p.m., and coach Dickey Hightower is excited about the campaign despite losing six three-year starters from last year’s squad.
“We have a fun group of girls, and we’re hoping we can keep our composure out there and win a few,” he said.
Coach Justin Arrington, who has 36 wins in three years as the Bulldogs’ baseball coach, is perfect in his softball coaching career.
Arrington, who took the reigns for the first time this season for the softball squad, was rewarded with a season-opening 14-0 win at Locust Grove on Thursday. The Bulldogs will try to continue their winning ways at a tournament at Social Circle over the weekend, before coming home to play the first ever game at the new Rockdale County softball field at 6 p.m. in their region-opener versus Monroe Area.
So far, the double-duty as baseball and softball coach seems to be a good thing, and Arrington is committed to keeping it that way.
“I know all the ballplayers so well, so we thought it was a good fit for me to take on this role for the softball team as well,” Arrington said. “It’s been a smooth transition so far.”