CONYERS - It wasn't long before the Heritage softball squad chalked up another win, this time against rival Salem, Thursday evening at Seminole Field.
After scoring in each of the first four innings, the Lady Patriots (19-5-1, 5-1 Region 8B-AAAA) cruised to an 11-3 victory in five frames.
Entering play, Heritage was second in the region behind Loganville.
"It's another subregion win, which we needed," Heritage coach Dickey Hightower said.
Heritage's Nikki Walden earned the win in the circle. Walden pitched a complete game, allowing no runs on two hits and silencing Salem (3-15, 0-5) on its Senior Night.
"She's getting a lot better," Hightower said. "She's only a sophomore and has come around the last three or four ball games pitching the way she has."
Heritage crossed the plate four times in the first inning thanks to a wild pitch, a two-run double by Jessica Hornsby and an RBI single by Jaclyn Queen.
The Lady Patriots added two more runs in the second, which was highlighted by an RBI single off the bat of Jamie Melson.
Kat Baize doubled home another run in the third inning, making it 7-0 after three innings.
Heritage plated four more runs in the top of the fourth.
But Salem struck back in the bottom half of the inning, scoring three runs off three errors. The inning was highlighted by a two-run double off the bat of Stephanie Brassard.
"We just didn't really come out to play from the beginning," Salem coach Stephanie Bassett said. "In our defense, (Heritage) was hitting some shots. I told the girls that if they outhit us, I can't be mad because you can't field a good, solid base hit."
Despite three starters out of the lineup due to illness, Heritage tallied 10 hits and drew seven walks.
"It was a pretty big win for our team because we're missing a lot of our key players," Walden said. "It got really difficult, but we pulled through and I thought we did pretty good."
Baize, Melson (two RBIs) and Simone Davenport - who had a pair of doubles - each recorded two hits. Hornsby had a game-high three RBIs.
Salem's Jessica Vason recorded the only other hit, a line drive up the middle in the second inning. Tori Beauchamp, Meghan Campbell and Vason each scored a run.
Jason Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.