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Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Heritage's Zach Barrett tags Northwest Whitfield's Hank Scruggs out at second base during a GHSA Region 7-AAAA game on April 8 at Heritage. Barrett helped Heritage sweep Hampton in the first round of the state playoffs Wednesday, when Northwest Whitfield split a doubleheader with Fayette County to set up a deciding third game Thursday.

Heritage used two strong pitching performances and solid defense to pull off a rare first-round sweep as a No. 4 seed, upsetting host Hampton in the first round of the GHSA Class AAAA baseball playoffs Wednesday.

The Generals, who didn't secure the final playoff spot in Region 7 until the final regular-season series, got great pitching from ace Zach Barrett and Brady Chandler and a combined 21 hits to win by scores of 11-0 and 5-2 at Region 5 champion Hampton. They will travel to the winner of the Bainbridge/Islands series in the second round next week.

Barrett pitched all five innings of game one and allowed two hits while striking out six batters. J.C. Armour and Barrett led a 15-hit attack with three hits each, with Brady Chandler and Landen Skeen each adding two hits and two RBIs.

Chandler allowed five hits and two earned runs in game two before Jonathan Glover went the final two innings and allowed one hit and struck out three for the save. Heritage (20-12) broke open a scoreless game in the third inning with a two-out rally that started with a two-base error by Hampton (19-11).

Eli Totherow followed with an RBI single, and after a walk, Gage Shaver delivered a two-run single. Cannon Stafford added two hits, an RBI and two runs scored, with Max Owens and Glover adding RBIs.

"Today we had two really good team wins where the guys executed defensively about as well as you could ask for," Heritage coach Eric Beagles said. "Zach Barrett limited Hampton to two hits in game one while we had 15 hits. One key was we were able to keep extending our lead by scoring in each inning.

"In game two we made an adjustment at the plate after struggling in the first two innings and were able to put up three runs in the third inning, which turned the game around."

Northwest Whitfield 9-2, Fayette County 2-6: The Bruins (18-14) rolled on the road in the opener of a Class AAAA series behind senior ace Cade Fisher, who allowed four hits, two earned runs and struck out 12 in a complete game while also going 4-for-4 at the plate with a pair of RBIs. Hank Scruggs added two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored for Northwest.

Fayette County (21-11) then broke open a 2-2 game with one run in the sixth and three more in the seventh to earn the first-day split. Keion Bryant was 3-for-5, including the go-ahead RBI in the sixth for the hosts. For the Bruins, Seth Riverman had two hits and Zander Frady and Keaton McQuaig drove in runs. The finale of the best-of-three series is at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Decatur 4-7, Calhoun 3-0: In the opening round in Class AAAAA, the Yellow Jackets' season ended at 17-14 after falling on the road. Calhoun lost a heartbreaker in game one after scoring two runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 3-1 lead only for Decatur score three in the bottom half to win it.

The Jackets used a two-out, two-run homer from Kris Sutton to get the brief lead in the seventh, but a single, two errors and Brayden Gordon's run-scoring single turned the game around for the Bulldogs (23-10). Cooper Evans went 5 2/3 innings and allowed two hits and one earned run and struck out eight for Calhoun.

Decatur's Brady Jones was dominant in game two, allowing two hits and striking out 15 in 6 2/3 innings.

McCallie 1, Baylor 0: The Blue Tornado avoided the regular-season sweep, winning the third matchup between the Chattanooga rivals this week in a pitchers' battle. Sebastian Leinberger drove in the winning run in the seventh inning with McCallie's third hit of the game. Austin Breedlove pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing just two hits and striking out 10 batters for McCallie.

Notre Dame 4, Boyd Buchanan 1: Alec Bouchard struck out 10 on his way to pitching a no-hitter. Brooks Brownlee had two hits and an RBI for the Fighting Irish.

 

SOFTBALL

Walker Valley 15, McMinn County 0: The Lady Mustangs scored three runs in the first, and Ryann Presswood made the lead stand. Madilyn Kidd had three hits and drove in six runs, and Amy Benson added four RBIs as Walker Valley outhit the Lady Cherokees 16-3.

Meigs County 7, Sweetwater 3: A five-run sixth inning proved to be the difference as the Lady Tigers rallied from a one-run deficit late. Lainey Fitzgerald and Carlee McLemore each had three hits, and Fitzgerald drove in three runs while also going the distance in the pitcher's circle, striking out 13 for the win.

Boyd Buchanan 12, Notre Dame 0: Kinley Ervin pitched a one-hitter with nine strikeouts, and Gracie Petty led the Lady Buccaneers' offense with a home run, a double and three RBIs. Cai Cai Butler and Brooke Watson both went 2-for-3 for the Lady Bucs, who totaled 12 hits.

Compiled by Stephen Hargis and Lindsey Young. Contact them at sports@timesfreepress.com.

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