There is never a good time to be without players and to have injuries, but none is worse than playoff time.
Such is the case for the Heritage softball team, which were missing two players Thursday in its 10-1 six-inning loss to Habersham Central in the Region 8-AAAA semifinals.
"We were hurt and we're missing players, and if we're missing players we'll struggle," Heritage coach Dickie Hightower said.
Rockdale's No. 1 pitcher, Kierra Camp was once again out with a sprained ankle, and No. 2 pitcher Lauren Golden was unavailable due to a college visit.
That left Taylor Moser to take the circle for the Patriots. Moser who pitches for her travel ball team, threw her very first pitch for Heritage against Habersham Central.
"I pitched Taylor Moser, who did not pitch a single inning, and did what she could do," Hightower said. "I'm proud of her for volunteering to go out there."
Moser kept the Raiders' hitters off balance all game, but they eventually caught up and got some solid hits.
"I saw her pitch at practice on Tuesday for the first time ever," Hightower said. "She got a lot of ground balls and had a lot of them off balance."
It was the offense that had Hightower the most disappointed, as Heritage left 10 runners on base and had seven hits.
"I thought we could score more runs than we did," Hightower said.
The loss put Heritage in fourth place in the region and set the Patriots up for a visit to No. 1 seeded Northwest Whitfield out of 7A-AAAA on Wednesday.
Heritage will play two games against the Bruins on Wednesday, and then if necessary will finish off the best-of-three series on Thursday with all games being at Northwest Whitfield.
Hightower hopes to have his star sophomore pitcher back before Wednesday, which will bring a whole new outlook to the Patriots chances.
"They are solid," Hightower said of Northwest Whitfield. "We need to get Kierra back for at least one or two of those games."