The Pope Greyhounds ended the Heritage Patriots' season for the second year in a row Wednesday afternoon, defeating the Patriots in two games in the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state softball tournament.
The Greyhounds shut out the Patriots 3-0 in game one before rallying back in the second contest for a 4-3 win,
The series loss gave HHS a 26-7 overall record to end the season after the Patriots won the Region 8-AAAAA postseason championship for the first time in 11 years.
Heritage senior Kierra Camp took both losses for Heritage in complete-game efforts, while the Greyhounds' Kelly Barnhill combined for 22 strikeouts over the two games.
Heritage's offense exploded in the third inning of the second game, when the Patriots scored all three of their runs.
Diamond Callwood led off for the Patriots, reaching base after being struck with a pitch, eventually moving into scoring position on a steal and a sacrifice to third. Callwood touched home on a Camp base hit after Barnhill's throw to the plate was late.
Carri Wilkerson extended the Patriots' lead to 2-0 with a 2-RBI triple into center field, plating pinch runner LaKaitlin Barney. Taylor Moser continued Heritage's hot streak on a squeeze bunt, executing the play perfectly to allow Wilkerson to touch home for the Patriots' third run of the inning.
Pope rallied back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third before tying the game on a Lindsey Monkiewicz's single in the fourth. The Greyhounds clinched the game in the fifth, scoring Megan Metzinger on a Camp wild pitch.
The defeat was the second postseason loss at the hands of Pope in as many years for the Patriots. Heritage has been eliminated in the second round in three of the last four seasons.