RINGGOLD, Ga. — If there is pressure to defend their GHSA Class AAAA state softball championship, it hasn't shown up yet for the Heritage Generals.
Heritage began its defense Tuesday with a pair of mercy-rule wins over St. Pius X, 15-0 and 16-3, pounding out 34 hits in seven total innings and looking very much the contender to repeat.
"They played great, came out ready to go and swung it well," coach Tanner Moore said. "We executed the game plan. We wanted to put pressure on them. We barreled a lot of balls up, and it was tough to defend when you hit it hard."
Madeline Stone was a perfect 7-for-7 with six RBIs, with Bailey Christol going 6-for-7 with three RBIs and four runs scored, Riley KoKinda getting four hits and scoring five times and Savannah Wilson adding a home run and four RBIs. Heritage pounded out 13 extra-base hits.
"It was a good day," said Stone, who had two doubles among her hits. "This team has a really good time in the locker room before games, and we just have fun during games. We know what we can do. We put all our efforts into each game. As long as we put all our efforts in, we don't worry about the expectations."
The Generals (21-6) scored seven runs in each of the first two innings of game one, getting three RBIs and two runs scored from leadoff hitter Zoe Wright.
Game two was a different story early, at least, as the visitors, helped by a pair of Heritage errors and two run-scoring hits from Josie Lord, tied the game at 3 entering the fourth. The Generals put any upset notions away, though, with 13 fourth-inning runs.
Among the highlights in the big inning were an RBI double and a single from Christol, a two-run double by Carmen Gayler, an RBI triple from Bailey Davis and Wilson's two-run inside-the-park home run.
"We kind of came out flat the second game," Moore said. "We talk about good versus great all the time. Good teams can do that and get away with it; great teams never let it happen. That's what we are striving to become.
"It is a good lineup. We have speed and some pop, and our speed can also swing it. We can kind of play to what the defense is giving to us."
* Also in Class AAAA, LaFayette swept Stephens County by scores of 9-1 and 8-0. Nicky Yancy earned the pitching win in each game, going a combined 11 innings without allowing an earned run. Madison Pettigrew had two hits, including a homer, and three RBIs in game one; Sam Adkins and Haynie Gilstrap knocked in two runs each in game two.
Northwest Whitfield's season ended at Oconee County with 5-4 and 7-2 losses. Kayla Orrell won both games for Oconee in the circle. Shayla Sutton had three his and three RBIs in game one for the Lady Bruins (23-8), and Molly Middleton and Katelyn Hannah had two hits each in game two.
* In Class AA, Dade County split with Bremen, winning game one 5-0 but falling 9-1 in game two. Kami Counts pitched a one-hitter in game one for Dade (19-11) and had two hits and an RBI and was backed by 3-for-3, two-RBI batting from Kaitlyn Stinnett and two hits from Michaela Massey. Game three is today at 5 in Trenton.
Chattooga (15-10) had its season end with a 6-0, 6-3 sweep at Lamar (18-8).
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296; follow on Twitter @youngsports22