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Rockdale rallies past Heritage for win

The game tape from this one probably won't be part of any future softball coaching clinics.

In a bizarre game filled with miscues and missed opportunities, Quilla Franklin raced home on passed ball in the bottom of the ninth inning, capping a two-run rally and sending Rockdale to a 7-6 victory over Heritage.

Trailing 6-5, and under international tie-breaker rules - a runner starts the inning at second base - the Bulldogs had runners at first and third with one out after Heritage catcher Callie Alford's throw to third was late on Franklin's tapper in front of the plate. Amber Mitchell followed with a ground ball that shortstop Kayla Phillips had trouble fielding, and Candace Johnson scored the tying run.

After Cidney Scoggins walked, Patriots pitcher Nikki Walden's 163rd pitch of the game sailed over Alford's head, and Franklin scored without a play.

Heritage (17-10) had taken a 6-5 lead in the top of the ninth on Amanda Voyles' run-scoring single. Voyles would later try to add an insurance run, but Rockdale catcher Katelyn Baker gathered herself after a wild pitch and tossed to pitcher Katie Ferrell to nip Voyles at the plate.

Both teams had a chance to take the lead in the eighth inning. In the Patriots' half, Jessica Martin popped up a bunt attempt and Walden, representing the go-ahead run, was thrown out at third on a ground ball and appeared to be hit in the face on the tag. Walden stayed on the ground for nearly 10 minutes but left under her own power and stayed in the game to pitch. In the bottom of the eighth, Taylor Thomas was thrown out at home trying to score on a passed ball.

Rockdale (13-4) trailed 5-3 but rallied for a run in both the sixth and seventh to send the game to extra innings.

Scoggins roped a triple into the gap to start the sixth and scored on a wild pitch to make it a 5-4 game. Walden, who in the inning walked a batter, hit two others with pitches and threw two wild pitches, still managed to escape with the lead, striking out Thomas and Lexi Jones and getting Baker to pop out to end the threat.

The Bulldogs pulled even in the seventh as Scoggins' double play ball scored Franklin, who had walked to start the inning.

The teams traded runs through the first two innings with Rockdale grabbing its first lead at 2-1 in the bottom of the second when Bre Richardson scored on an error by first baseman Simone Davenport. Heritage tied it at 2-2 in the third on Liz Forrester's RBI-single, then scored three times in the fourth on RBI hits by Martin and Rose Bish and an error by Baker to grab a 5-2 advantage.

Walden struck out 10 in nine innings of work and took the loss. Ferrell got the win, allowing 13 hits in her nine innings of work. Heritage, which was coming off one of its more impressive wins of the season Tuesday against Loganville, left eight runners in scoring position.

Rockdale concludes its regular season today with a game at Loganville, while Heritage is off until the Region 8-AAAA tournament, which begins Monday.

Kurt Aschermann Jr. can be reached at kurt.aschermann@rockdalecitizen.com.