DALTON, Ga. - Heritage High School's baseball team evened its season-ending 7B-AAAA series with Dalton by winning 14-6 in an offensive barrage.
Heritage did not wait long to get on the board, scoring five runs in the top of the second behind a three-run home run from Noah Hill and Damian Goins' RBI double. However, the Catamounts answered with five runs and a homer of their own in the bottom of the inning.
Heritage senior Ryan Parker served up a leadoff home run to No. 4 hitter Jase Chastain before walking the bases loaded. Then he walked in two runs and gave up an RBI single before escaping the jam and settling in for three innings of one-run ball.
"You'd expect that [regrouping] out of a senior," Generals coach Eric Beagles said. "We anticipated he'd weather the storm and settle in. Pitching has been a strength for us this year, and Ryan has done a great job all season."
The Catamounts took the lead in the fourth on an RBI by Charlie Martin. As Dalton did in the second, Heritage was quick to answer in the top of the fifth, tacking on three runs -- two on a triple from Dylan Bice, who also homered.
"I can't say enough about how proud I am of our guys bouncing back," Beagles said. "We knew it was going to be difficult and that we would have to scratch and claw. We'll go home, regroup and get ready for tomorrow. It's going to be a tussle like tonight."
Bice took over for Parker on the mound and pitched two scoreless innings, racking up four strikeouts.
"We didn't look good," Dalton coach Shane Ramsey said. "We had problems getting the momentum back, and their pitchers settled in and attacked the zone. We looked at too many called third strikes."
The Generals put the game away in the seventh with six runs to swell their lead to eight behind 15 total hits.
"We're just going to flush this one, come in and hit and get on the bus tomorrow," Ramsey said. "We have to come in and show some fight like we did last night. It's a heavyweight fight -- you can land the first punch, but you have to take one, too."
Tonight's 5:30 finale at Heritage will decide the subregion's No. 2 and 3 seeds in next week's region play-in series.
"It boils down to who will be ready," Beagles said. "We gave ourselves an uphill battle, and now we just have to climb that hill."
Contact Idris Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org