Heritage continues win streak with a 6-1 victory over Salem

CONYERS -- It was fitting that on Senior Night at Heritage, a trio playing one of its final regular season home games figured prominently in the victory.

Ryan Gasque pitched into the seventh inning and Jordan Martin and Adam Howard each drove in a pair of runs as Heritage defeated Salem 6-1 at Danny Blue Field.

The Patriots, who swept the season series from their crosstown rivals, won their sixth consecutive game and moved to 15-7 and 10-3 in Region 8-AAAA. Salem dropped its third straight and fell to 7-15 and 5-8 in league play.

Gasque allowed just five singles in six innings, striking out eight before giving way to left-hander Joe Salvador with one on in the seventh. Salvador, another senior, gave up a bloop single to Cole Gibson, but got two harmless flyouts and a strikeout to preserve the win for Gasque.

It was the second time in four days Salem was handcuffed by a Heritage starter. Monday, Luke Cathcart pitched a two-hit shutout and struck out 14 in an 8-0 win.

Heritage took advantage of three Salem errors in the first inning to pick up all the runs it would need. Phillip Kelley led off with a bunt single and moved to second when third baseman Reed Hill's throw sailed past first base. Kelley moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Domenic Bazzani's sacrifice fly. After Fred Umland reached on another error by Hill, Howard ripped a single to make it 2-0.

Salem got to within 2-1 against Gasque in the fifth as Zach Bailey's ground ball took a big hop over Cathcart at first, which chased home Gibson to cut the deficit in half. But Heritage came right back in the bottom of the inning. Martin drew a walk to start the frame and later, when Zach Whiten grounded out to third, Martin raced from third and beat the return throw from first to put the Patriots up 3-1.

Seminoles starter Adam Hood settled down after the rough first and allowed one hit over his final five innings, but Heritage opened things up in the sixth against Eric Bechet as Howard drove in a run with a single and Martin added a two-run single to make it a 6-1 game.