It’d been 11 years since the Heritage softball program had won a region championship, completing a long stretch of region dominance with its seventh consecutive league title in 2002.
Finally, this generation of Patriots has their title.
Kierra Camp pitched a complete game and crushed a two-run home run as Heritage won the Region 8-AAAAA championship, the school’s first league title since winning seven consecutive from 1996-2002, 7-1 over Loganville.
The Patriots, who knocked off Loganville in a region final after runner-up finishes to the Red Devils in 2008 and 2012, will be the league’s top seed when the state playoffs begin next week. Camp, who is committed to Georgia Southern, scattered six hits and struck out 10, while helping herself with three RBIs, including a no-doubt home run to center field in the fifth that put Heritage up 6-1.
The game was tied at 1-1 before Heritage took the lead for good in the third with a two-out rally, though the inning easily could’ve been over well before Heritage grabbed its 3-1 advantage.
Facing Loganville starter Maddie Green, Addy Allegretti took a close pitch on the inside corner that even Allegretti thought was strike three as the Patriots’ second baseman began jogging back to the dugout. It was called ball four and Camp, Carri Wilkerson and Taylor Moser followed with consecutive singles, the last two of which brought home runs.
Heritage made it 4-1 in the fourth, thanks to some great baserunning. Heidi Shepherd led off the inning with a four-pitch walk and a sacrifice moved pinch-runner Jamiya Barker up a base. After a strikeout, Diamond Callwood reached on an infield single and Barker alertly scored all the way from second.
Allegretti singled to open the fifth before Camp deposited a 1-0 pitch well over the fence in center field to get the Conyers school a step closer to a perfect 11-0 region season.
Each team scored a single run in the first.
DeLaney Gish led off the game with a single and two batters later, Andrea Rosario went after a rise ball and roped a double into the left-center field gap to give the Red Devils an early lead.
Heritage immediately tied the game with a rally from its lead off and No. 3 hitters. Callwood started with a single and stole second, later scoring on Camp’s RBI-single.
But while Heritage kept scoring, Loganville’s offense went cold. The Red Devils best chance to score came in the fourth when Rose Schmidt and Green singled and Kendall Herring hit a pop up that Camp and first baseman Moser couldn’t communicate on and the ball fell in to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Sydney McDonald ran the count full before Camp picked up her third strikeout of the inning.
Apalachee grabbed the No. 3 seed and Winder-Barrow settled for the No. 4 seed as the Wildcats won 2-1 in an all-Barrow County consolation game.