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Patriots advance, Bulldogs fall short
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The Heritage varsity softball team earned a spot in the second round of the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state softball tournament Wednesday afternoon, sweeping the visiting Stephenson Jaguars, while the Rockdale County Bulldogs’ season ended in a first-round sweep at the hands of Kennesaw Mountain.

With its series victory, Heritage will move on to face South Paulding next week. Second-round tournament action begins Oct. 23. As the No. 1 seed in their four-team pod, the Patriots will host the tournament’s second round.

Rockdale finished the season with a 7-18 overall record, finishing fourth in Region 2-AAAAAA.

Shepherd leads

Heritage started the series with an 8-0 victory in its opener over the Jaguars before clinching the series with a 10-1 win in the second game.

Kamryn Toney led the Patriots in the circle in both contests, striking out nine batters in the Patriots 9-run second-game win.

In the opener, Heritage marched to its 8-run victory behind the hitting of Addy Allegretti and Destiny Herrera. The game was called after six innings.

During its 10-1 triumph in game No. 2, the Patriots dominated once again. Stephenson plated its lone run in the fourth inning. 

Heidi Shepherd led the way for Heritage at the plate. Shepherd led a three-run sixth inning charge that saw her rattle a double off the fence, scoring two Patriots. The Patriots catcher added an RBI single in the win, while shortstop Diamond Callwood also had an RBI single and plated another run on a sacrifice fly.

After reaching the second round for the third time in the past four seasons, Heritage will have a chance to reach the Elite 8 in Columbus once again with a series conquest of South Paulding.

Rockdale stumbles

On the road in first-round play, RCHS dropped both its opening round contests, falling to Kennesaw Mountain 13-1 and 14-0.

India Davis led the Bulldogs with a 2-for-3 performance, including a triple, a walk and scoring Rockdale’s lone run in the series. 

Rockdale led 1-0 in the second contest after Kelsey Stewart scored Davis on a single, but the Mustangs poured on 27 unanswered runs.

“Overall, the season went pretty well,” Rockdale coach Justin Arrington said. “I am really proud of how the girls played hard the entire season. Last season, we graduated some girls that were big-time contributors, and this season we were relying on some girls to step up and fill some holes and they did.”

Rockdale finished the season with a 7-18 overall record with a 3-3 mark in region play.