DANIELSVILLE - Heritage was eliminated from the Region 8-AAAA Softball Tournament, losing 5-0 to Apalachee.
Apalachee right-hander Kaitlyn Medlam was dominant, tossing a three-hitter for her second win of the day. The Patriots' only threat came in the second inning as Liz Forrester doubled and Melissa Drish walked. But Medlam got two strikeouts to end the threat and coasted from there.
"(Medlam) did a good job," Heritage coach Dickey Hightower said. "We did not play bad, but when you get to this level you've got to play well."
In the winner's bracket game earlier in the day, Heritage trailed just 3-2 late heading into the bottom of the sixth, but things deteriorated quickly.
Madison County, which improved to 23-1 with the 9-2 win, sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth. Katie Bolin led off with a single and following a pop out and Olivia Duncan's single, Brandi Osborne laid down a perfect suicide squeeze to score Bolin and make it 4-2. Two batters later, Elizabeth Whieldon had a run-scoring single and the Red Raiders made it 7-2 with two runs on a throwing error by second baseman Drish.
Whieldon later scored on a wild pitch by losing pitcher Nikki Walden (6 IP, 6 ER) and Samantha LaZear put the finishing touches on the onslaught with an RBI single.
"I think we played well for the first five innings, but they make you play seven," said Heritage coach Dickey Hightower. "It came unraveled a little bit."
Madison County jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second on an RBI-double by Osborne and an error, then made it 3-0 in the third on Bolen's run-scoring double. The Patriots came back in the fourth against left-hander Erin Gibson (CG, 6 H), getting an RBI-walk from Drish and a second run on Rose Bish's single to cut the lead to 3-2. But Heritage couldn't add to it, leaving the bases loaded in the inning and another runner at second in the fifth.
"I thought we swung the bats well against a pretty good pitcher," Hightower said. "I thought we hung in there."
Heritage finished 19-12.
Apalachee 3, Salem 0
Salem's season ended in the first game of the day at Madison County. Medlam pitched a gem, firing a complete game shutout while striking out seven.
The Wildcats, who suffered a shocking loss to Habersham Central in the second round Tuesday, scored a run in the second on Mendy Henson's single, and added runs in the fourth on Misty Duncan's double and in the fifth when Ansley Thompson scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.
The Seminoles, who finished 10-14 a year after going 3-17, continued to slump at the plate, getting just three singles off Medlam.
Trailing 2-0 in the fifth, O'Keema Turk was picked off first after leading off with a single, and in the seventh, the Seminoles had two runners on with one out, but Medlam got two fly outs to end the game.
"The improvement is obviously good. We ended up with 10 wins, which is good," said Salem coach Stephanie Bassett. "(But) I didn't give them much positive (after the game). This entire season we beat ourselves. We were probably the most self-destructive team that we played. We played far below our potential. It was a really disappointing season."
Rylee Rogers took the loss for the Seminoles, allowing three earned runs in six innings.
Rockdale 4 (8 innings)
Rockdale made it an imperfect trio of teams eliminated from tournament play, losing on a walk-off, two-run home run by Shelby Reed in the bottom of the eighth. The Bulldogs, who looked to be a darkhorse pick coming into the tournament, were upset by Habersham Centralon Tuesday night in the first round.
"Overall (the season) was good. We thought we were definitely going to make a further run," said first-year coach Justin Arrington, whose team finished 15-6. "But (the players) gave 100 percent and that's all you can ask."
Kurt Aschermann Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org