COVINGTON - Ross Roberts made school history Wednesday, hitting the first home run for Alcovy baseball.
But it was Heritage that made a statement, defeating the Tigers 9-1 to remain undefeated in Region 8-AAAA.
The Patriots' aggressive baserunning and station-to-station play gave Alcovy coach Joe Mobley's team a look at just how tough Heritage is.
"I thought the kids played hard," said Mobley. "When you play against Heritage, you have to create your own breaks. We didn't do that. They ran the bases well. We got schooled a little bit. They worked the steal against the left-hander early, and we made the right plays by stepping off, but we threw high to second and weren't able to execute. Their baserunning game wore us out today."
Heritage (5-2, 5-0 Region 8-AAAA) started quickly, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Tyler Austin drew a walk then appeared to be picked off at first, but he beat the throw to second, then quickly stole third. Travis Tarleton followed with a run-scoring single, then advanced to third on a groundout. Tarleton then swiped home, giving the Patriots a quick 2-0 lead.
The Patriots struck again in the third. After Nick Matteen led off with a single and took second base on a passed ball, Austin drove him home with a single up the middle. Austin later scored on an error. The Patriots added one more run with a beautifully executed suicide-squeeze bunt.
Down 5-0 in the fourth, Alcovy (1-4, 1-3) walked four batters, plating one run for Heritage. With the bases loaded, the Tigers misplayed a Tarleton single to center field, and the ball rolled all the way to the fence. Tarleton's single cleared the bases and stretched the Patriots' lead to 9-0.
Matteen pitched four solid innings for Heritage but made one mistake in the fourth inning. Roberts led off for the Tigers and took an inside pitch deep over the right-field fence for his, and the school's, first home run.
Neither team would score again as both pitching staffs worked three shutout innings. Matteen picked up the win for the Patriots after yielding just one run over four innings.
Even though Heritage won the game, coach Casey Teal said his team needs to execute and do the little things to improve as the season progresses.
"Any win is a big win," he said. "Alcovy is a good team and they play hard. I like that about them. But we have to work on small things that deal with losses in big games. We made way too many mistakes to be where we want to be in the end. We always have things to work on and we're not where we want to be. We have to do a better job of not letting up and taking care of business for seven innings."
While Alcovy wasn't able to muster the offense necessary to handle the Patriot pitching staff, Mobley was proud of his team's effort and was especially happy for Roberts.
"We were outmanned today, but the kids scrapped," he said. "I was proud for Ross. I told him about two weeks ago that he was going to hit the first home run in school history. Everybody kind of looked at me funny, but sure enough he hit it, and it couldn't happen to a better kid."