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Trio of softball teams knocked out in round 2

It was a Wednesday to forget on the softball field as Heritage, Alcovy and Eastside all were swept in two games in second-round state playoff series.

Heritage, which was coming off the program’s first region championship since 2002, was defeated in two games by Region 7 No. 3 Pope, 3-0 and 4-3 in Conyers. The Greyhounds, who also eliminated Heritage in last year’s round of 16 on their way to a berth in the state championship game, got a pair of complete games from Kelly Barnhill, an uncommitted junior who has narrowed her collegiate choices to Stanford and Florida.

Heritage, which had no trouble in a first-round sweep of Stephenson, finished the season 26-7.

Alcovy was also coming off a league championship in Region 2-AAAAAA, but ran into a red-hot offense in Newnan. The No. 2 seed from Region 3 lost to East Coweta in three games in a best-of-3 region championship series, but is averaging six runs per game during the state tournament, which includes 7-3 and 10-0 triumphs over Alcovy Wednesday.

Tigers coach Russwell Brock sure was convinced of the Cougars’ offensive prowess.

“They hit the ball very well. I’ll be surprised if they don’t go far in the state tournament,” Brock said afterwards. “I think from one to nine they’re the best hitters we’ve seen all year by far.”

The host Tigers grabbed a two-run lead in the bottom of the third of the opener after Raven Smith tripled in a run and a Newnan error made it 3-1.

But Newnan had three run-scoring triples in a four-run fourth and never trailed again the rest of the evening.

Alcovy, a winner over North Cobb in three games in the first round, finished 23-10.

Class AAAA Eastside had the most daunting task of any of the three teams in round two as the Eagles had to travel to Ringgold to face Region 7-AAAA champion and one of the teams on a short list of state title front-runners, Heritage-Catoosa.

It didn’t go well for the Covington school as Heritage rolled to 11-1 and 10-0 victories in the second-round series. Heritage-Catoosa, who was fourth in Class AAA in 2011 and lost 9-8 to Madison County in game three of a second round series a year ago, returns to Columbus next week with a 30-7 record.

Haylee Yates drove in the only Eastside run of the day with a second-inning single in game one. Katie Fletcher took the loss in the opener, while Caitlin Ray was the losing pitcher in the nightcap.