Heritage ended region play Thursday in five innings with a 10-1 win of cross-town rivals Rockdale.
The Lady Patriots (20-7, 8-2) will host either Apalachee or Salem for a chance to reach the softball state playoffs on Tuesday.
Rockdale (4-17, 2-8) ended its season with two straight losses.
The Patriots began things with a hot start, putting up six runs in the top of the first inning. Kayla Phillips hit a one-out double to start a streak of four straight hits. Taylor Mauser and Kierra Camp followed with singles and Heidi Shepard hit an RBI double to score Phillips and Mauser. Nielan Floyd added a fielder’s choice and Lauren Golden followed with a walk. Both Floyd and Golden would score before Morgan Boyd grounded out to the pitcher and Diamond Callwood, who led off the inning, flied out to right field.
“It’s nice to have a six run lead in the first inning regardless of who you play,” Heritage coach Dickie Hightower said.
Rockdale responded with a run in the bottom of the inning as India Davis, who reached on a walk, scored on a sacrifice by Breanna Richardson.
But that was the only run Rockdale scored against Heritage pitcher Kierra Camp. The sophomore allowed just two hits, while striking out 11 in five innings.
“Whenever you put Kierra on the mound she doesn’t need a whole lot of comfort zone,” Hightower said. “She’s pretty tough.”
Heritage didn’t get a run across in the second or third innings, but put two on the board in the top of the fourth. Morgan Boyd, who reached on a bunt scored on Callwood’s single. Calwood scored on a passed ball.
In the bottom of the fifth, Heritage added runs by Floyd and Golden to shorten the game at five innings. Heritage went to the bunt throughout the game using base running to advance the runners, rather than going for the big hit.
“We’ve got some kids that can lay the bunt down,” Hightower said. “We don’t have anyone with exceptional speed but we’ve got enough speed to where we can put a little pressure on defense.”
The Patriots will look to continue to put pressure on the defense when region playoffs start on Tuesday.