RINGGOLD, Ga.-On a day not fit for baseball, Cody Sherlin made the best of it, and in doing so he kept the suddenly hot Heritage Generals in the thick of the Region 7-AAA playoff race.
On a field drenched by recent rains and in mid-40-degree weather, Sherlin needed barely an hour and a half to dispatch visiting LaFayette, 4-1. The junior right-hander allowed six hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter as he evened his record at 2-2 and raised the Generals to 8-5 overall and 5-4 in league play.
"He's just now getting in a groove because of them making the basketball playoffs, and in his last couple of starts he's been dead on," Heritage coach Eric Beagles said of Sherlin, who also cracked a three-run homer to help himself. "He's a competitor and I loved his pace, and his teammates love that kind of pace. It was nice to see him come out here with the command of all his pitches."
Sherlin's key hit came with one out in the third of the scoreless game off LaFayette starter Drew Pentz. The hit followed a double by Riley Sparks and Lee Gibson's single.
"I had two runners on and I at least wanted a fly ball to get one run on the board, but I was lucky enough to get it out of here," Sherlin said. "We've had some bad weather and the field was really wet, so I wanted to come out and throw strikes and let my teammates make plays. It was a little tougher to get loose, but other than that I felt fine."
LaFayette's lone run came in the fourth inning when Josh Morgan tripled following Micah Wyatt's one-out double. Sherlin regrouped to strand Morgan at third, ending the threat on Brandon Gray's soft liner to short right that was caught by a leaping Heritage second baseman Brad McDonald.
The Generals added a run in the fifth on Jake Sampson's double, more than enough for the quick-working Sherlin, who stranded three singles over the final three innings.
"We're getting toward the end of the first half of the region games, so this win is huge," Beagles said. "There are a bunch of teams like us that are fighting for everything we can get to stay in the playoff race."
Sherlin had two of Heritage's seven hits, and Wyatt had two for the Ramblers (3-10, 1-8).