Lady Pats top Woodland in home opener

CONYERS - The Heritage softball team chalked up a 5-3 win over Woodland-Henry in its 2008 home opener Tuesday, but the victory did not please Coach Dickey Hightower.

The Lady Patriots (3-2-1 overall) committed five errors and made several other mistakes.

"We cannot afford to play this way," Hightower said. "If we play like this at Madison County on Thursday night, we will be in big trouble. We had error after error, we misjudged balls in the outfield and we missed signs. We had a bunch of mental errors that we cannot afford to make in our region or we're in for a long season.

"All the mistakes are correctable, but I'm not happy with the way we played today. How could anyone be happy with that? Two of the runs they scored were unearned. The other scored off a misjudged fly ball. You can't give the other team multiple runs like that."

Coming off a second-place finish in the Silver Division of the South Gwinnett Diamond Classic over the weekend, the Lady Patriots loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning and struck for three runs.

Callie Alford and Jessica Hornsby delivered RBI singles for Heritage, while starting pitcher Jamie Melson helped her own cause with an RBI groundout.

In the top of the third, Heritage gave a run back after making three infield errors. Melson allowed the Lady Patriots to escape without any further damage by working out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam.

In the bottom of the third, Heritage's Kat Baize led off with a double, and Alford followed with another double for her second RBI of the game and a 4-1 lead.

Woodland took advantage of a misjudged fly ball to plate another run in the fifth, cutting Heritage's advantage to 4-2.

Alford, who was 3-for-3 , led off the fifth with a double and scored on Hornsby's RBI double, restoring the Lady Patriots' three-run advantage.

Woodland tacked on its final run in the top of the seventh on an infield throwing error with two outs.

Melson went the distance on the mound for the Lady Patriots, tossing a four-hitter.

Jeff Gillespie can be reached at jeff.gillespie@rockdalecitizen.com.