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Heritage softball, Rockdale volleyball win Thursday

The Heritage softball team is one step closer to clinching a spot in the state playoffs. Kierra Camp drove in three runs and allowed one hit on the mound as the Patriots crushed Gainesville 14-0 in four innings Thursday.

Heritage (11-0, 6-0 Region 8-AAAAA) won by shut out for the eighth time and has out-scored its first 11 opponents 106-7.

The win also means the Patriots need only to beat Winder-Barrow Tuesday to clinch a top-2 seed in next month’s region tournament and secure a state berth.

A playoff berth is fine for most teams, but Heritage hasn’t looked like most teams so far in 2013. Camp, a Georgia Southern commitment, continued to make her case for a second consecutive first-team all-state selection, striking out 11 and allowing just a lead off single in the fourth inning and a walk in four masterful innings.

“It’s just a tiny stepping stone, especially this year. It was a big deal last year,” Heritage coach Jason McBay said of the possibility of clinching a playoff spot Tuesday. “Even when I mentioned it today the girls looked at me like ‘don’t even mention that’. As soon as this game was over we started talking about Winder. Last time we went to Winder it was three years ago, they beat us. You can’t get caught looking ahead, you got to take care of today.”

Five different players had two hits to join Camp in pacing a 15-hit attack, led by Taylor Moser, who had two hits and three RBIs, Carri Wilkerson, who had a triple, double and two RBIs, and King University commitment Diamond Callwood (two hits, two RBIs). Addy Allegretti chipped in with two hits and an RBI and LaKaitlen Barney added a triple and a single.

If Heritage wins Tuesday it will then set its sights on Loganville, Thursday’s opponent in Conyers. Win both games and the Patriots will have the No. 1 seed when the league tournament begins October 1.

The visitors from Hall County continued to struggle against region opponents as the Red Elephants dropped their third consecutive league game to fall to 1-3 and 4-9 overall.

Rockdale volleyball sweeps two

Rockdale got some revenge three years in the making, then won a thriller to pull off an impressive sweep Thursday in Cobb County.

In a rematch of a Sweet 16 loss from 2010, the Bulldogs dominated Sprayberry 25-8, 25-9 before outlasting Hillgrove in three games in non-region play.

Against Hillgrove, which joined Rockdale in the Class AAAAAA state playoffs a year ago, the Bulldogs won handily in game one, 25-14, then Hillgrove tied the match with a 25-16 win in game two. In the third game, no team led by more than two points and Hillgrove had a 20-18 lead late. That’s when Abby Bradford took over and with the senior serving, Rockdale scored six of the next seven points to go up 24-21. After Hillgrove got to within 24-22, Nazzerine Waldon’s kill, one of three for the junior outside hitter down the stretch, clinched the 25-22 victory and the match.

“It was something,” Rockdale coach Stephen Sansing said. “We came out on point, we came out looking good. I think we took Hillgrove by surprise (in game one). Second game, they jumped out on us, never could get anything established in game two. I told them, a good team, we’re not going to sweep them. (Waldon), she was just a monster there at the end.”

Bradford had 11 kills in the match, University of Georgia commitment Majesti Bass added nine and Natheree Lackey had a season-high 27 assists, while Alycia Johnson had 20 digs to set a new school match record.

“They were swinging and (Johnson) was digging,” Sansing said.

Rockdale had no trouble with Sprayberry in the opening match, finally getting payback for a very emotional, tight loss in the 2010 Class AAAA playoffs.