CONYERS -- Heritage made it happen in both halves of the inning as the Patriots had 10 hits and took advantage of several Rockdale errors while Patriots pitcher Ryan Gasque allowed four hits in its 6-1 win on Wednesday.
The Patriots (9-4 overall, 4-0 in Region 8B-AAAA) earned their first two runs as they took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. After Phillip Kelley reached the bases on an error, Domenic Bazzani plated the runner before scoring himself on a Fred Umland sacrifice bunt. However, three of their other four runs were as a result of Bulldog (3-9, 0-4) errors.
"Up until this point we've been struggling offensively a little bit. We're finally starting to get to a level we expected from the very beginning. We're very pleased with that kind of effort," said Heritage head coach Jason Borcherding.
"Anytime you capitalize on those type of mistakes. We try to compound on the mistake and continue to build on it. That's what we try to do; that's one of the things we're actually good at."
Heritage's final run was earned and it came in the fifth inning. After getting walked, Kelley reached home plate on a Ryan Sutton single. Sutton paced the Patriots going 3-for-4 with Bazzani going 2-for-4.
"He's finally starting to come around for us," said Borcherding of Sutton. "He's a young guy (sophomore) and we moved him around but he's finally starting to find a home."
Defensively, Gasque, a senior, kept Rockdale from doing much as he had five strikeouts while allowing four hits and two walks.
"It was the first complete game that we've thrown so far, we needed it. His breaking pitch was effective and as long as he's around the zone we have a chance," said Borcherding.
Of the four hits allowed, two were in the second inning. The second inning is also the inning the Bulldogs scored.
"We were hitting his pitches and staying away from ours. Hat's off to him, he threw a great game. He kept us off balance and that's hard to do," said Rockdale head coach Justin Arrington.
Rockdale's Terrell McLaughlin got things started with a walk before Philip Anschultz drove him home two batters later.
Heritage tried to really crush Rockdale with its aggressive play but the Bulldogs defense was able to keep Heritage from doing so. Of the six steal attempts by Heritage, Rockdale was able to catch them four times,
Even in the loss, Arrington was still able to find something good to build on.
"The one good thing is that we didn't have that big inning like we've had in the past. I told them to take that we a positive," he said. "We just came out a little flat."