LOCAL

Lady Patriots softball falls at North Oconee

BOGART - The Heritage softball team (3-4-1) dropped a 9-1 decision on Wednesday at North Oconee.

North Oconee struck for six runs in the bottom of the first inning, taking advantage of four errors and one hit.

"We are not playing good softball right now, but no one is giving up," Heritage coach Dickey Hightower said. "I know and so do the players that we are capable of playing a lot better. I just have to do a better job of preparing them and they have to play with more confidence and composure."

Whitney Phillips, Katie Cuson, Callie Alford and Amanda Voyles each contributed a hit for the Lady Patriots.

STATE

Braves pitcher Soriano has elbow surgery

ATLANTA - Braves right-handed reliever Rafael Soriano had elbow surgery on Thursday and is expected to be ready by spring training next season.

Soriano had an ulnar nerve transposition and a small bone spur removed from his right elbow by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

Soriano, who has been on the 15-day disabled list three times this season, was 0-1 with three saves and a 2.57 ERA in 14 games. He pitched 14 innings, allowing seven hits and walking nine with 16 strikeouts.

The 28-year-old Soriano was 3-3 with a 3.00 ERA and nine saves in 72 innings in 2007 with Atlanta. He was acquired by the Braves from Seattle in December 2006 in exchange for left-handed pitcher Horacio Ramirez.

QB Ryan gets Falcons started in 10-9 victory over Baltimore

BALTIMORE - The top two quarterbacks selected in the 2008 NFL draft started their team's final preseason game - for vastly different reasons.

Matt Ryan played two series Thursday night to get a feel for being Atlanta's starting quarterback. Joe Flacco started out of necessity for Baltimore, and his so-so performance in a 10-9 defeat did little to bring any clarity to the Ravens' messy quarterback situation.

Ryan, the third overall pick, went 2-for-7 for 17 yards before taking a seat. The former Boston College star finished the preseason 34-for-59 for 294 yards, two TDs and one interception.

His next start will be in the regular-season opener Sept. 7 against Detroit.

D.J. Shockley replaced Ryan and threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Brian Finneran with 20 seconds left in the first half. It turned out to be the only TD in a lackluster contest dominated by both defenses.

Third-string running back Jason Snelling had 88 yards rushing for Atlanta (2-2), which finished the preseason with a two-game win streak.