Cedar Shoals put on a comedy of errors in the field Wednesday afternoon at Danny Blue Field, but it was the Heritage Patriots that commanded the stage, capitalizing on seven Jaguars’ errors in an 11-1 victory in Region 8-AAAAA action.
The Patriots strung together just three hits in the win, but plated five runs in the opening frame on five Cedar Shoals miscues, while starting pitcher Ryan Sutton ran through the Jaguars line-up.
Sutton allowed one earned run on three hits while striking out five, while the Patriots’ hitters put ball after ball into play, buckling Cedar Shoals’ shaky defense under pressure.
The five-inning shortened game saw the Patriots nearly triple their scoring output against the Jaguars are defeated Cedar Shoals earlier in the week 4-0.
“We came out and had a much better effort tonight against Cedar Shoals than we did earlier this week,” Heritage coach Jason Borcherding said. “We had an opportunity to work on some of the small-ball game elements, despite the score. That’s who we are and what we do, but unfortunately, we only put up three hits.
“Cedar’s seven errors helped us a lot, but we’re not gifted enough offensively to just go out and pound it out,” he said. “We have to make defenses work and put pressure on them. Tonight’s result is what we’re capable of when we do work the small-ball elements into our game plan.”
Heritage wasted little time putting runs on the scoreboard, manufacturing five runs in the opening frame.
Sutton, who also finished 1-for-3 at the dish with a pair of walks, led off the inning with a stand-up double to the left centerfield gap and the Jaguars’ made their first mistake on a Freddy Bryant grounder in the Patriots’ next at-bat, throwing the ball away after the left fielder slapped a shot down the third base line.
Tyler Holcombe brought in both runners after laying a bunt down the first base line. Jaguars’ first baseman Will Weisenbach went to field the bunt, but bobbled the ball, eventually hurrying his throw and sailing over second baseman Dustin Purple’s head into the outfield. The miscue allowed Sutton and Bryant to touch home, giving Heritage a 2-0 lead.
Holcombe moved to third on the throwing error and touched home just a few pitches later, scoring on a Cedar Shoals’ passed ball.
Heritage clean-up hitter Isreal Zackery and third baseman Justin Roberson reached base on a walk and another Cedar Shoals’ fielding error, crossing the plate two batters later after catcher Anthony Williams drilled a ground ball to Purple. The ball bounced between Purple’s legs, allowing both Zackery and Roberson to score, giving the Patriots a 5-0 advantage at the end of the inning.
Sutton kept the Jaguars off the scoreboard in the second, picking up three strikeouts in the inning, and Roberson added another Heritage run in the bottom half of the inning, scoring Zackery on a short flare to right field.
Cedar Shoals answered in the third, plating its only run of the game on a Purple single past the Patriots’ shortstop, drawing the Jaguars to within 6-1 after the top half of the inning.
Heritage drowned any hope of a Cedar Shoals comeback in the bottom of the third, pouring on four more run while taking a 10-1 lead. Justin Jackson scored Heritage’s first run of the frame on a Sutton grounder to second that the Jaguars couldn’t handle and Sutton touched home after another Cedar Shoals fielding error.
Bryant scored his second run of the game after reaching on a single, crossing the plate on another Jaguars’ passed ball. Holcombe scored the Patriots final run of the inning on a Matt Studdard pop-up to center. Cedar Shoals’ Adrian Haynes was unable to handle the fly ball, dropping the out while running in to snag the shallow pop-up.
Yoiler Guevara took over in relief for Sutton in the fifth, going three up, three down in the frame, and after drawing three walks to start the bottom of the fifth, Zackery was able to bring in the Patriots’ game-clinching run on a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Sutton for the 11-1 final.
Sutton, Bryant and Roberson finished with hits for the Patriots, while Jaguars’ starting pitcher Colin David took the loss on the mound, giving up 11 runs in five innings while allowing three hits and eight walks.
Heritage returns to action Thursday against Flowery Branch in a game that was scheduled for Friday afternoon. Game time is set for 5:55.