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Bazzani leads Pats past Bulldogs

A loss to Rockdale Friday night would’ve been the third straight for the Heritage baseball team against its county rival. Domenic Bazzani used his arm and his bat to make sure that wouldn’t happen. The senior tossed four innings of one-hit ball and drove in four runs at the plate in the Patriots’ 10-1 victory.

Bazzani allowed a single and a run on a fielder’s choice ground out in the third, but was other wise masterful, striking out nine in a 73-pitch effort.

The Heritage offense got all the runs it would need in the top of the second, sending eight batters to the plate and scoring five times. The problems for Rockdale starter and losing pitcher Tyler Page began right away when the right-hander hit lead off man Austin New with a pitch on an 0-2 count.

Page got Justin Roberson to fly out harmlessly to left field for the first out, but walked the next three batters. During those plate appearances, New stole third and scored when catcher Davis Foster’s throw sailed into left to put Heritage up 2-0. Bazzani then helped his own cause with a rope, two-run double that chased Page from the game and made it 4-0.

Tyler Holcombe followed with a weak tapper to the mound, and after he was thrown out at first, Ryan Sutton raced home and scored. Meanwhile, first baseman Jeff Sweat’s throw went well over Foster’s head, which let pinch-runner Justin Jackson touch the plate and give the visitors a 6-0 cushion.

Bazzani’s second two-run double of the night, this time an opposite field shot off Will Hardy, made it a 10-1 game in the sixth.

Rockdale’s only run came when Yancey Freeny led off the second with a walk and stole second. Malachi Eskin’s single put runners at first and third with one out and Terrell McLaughlin grounded out third to second, and by a step beat the return throw to first to get the Bulldogs on the board and make it a 6-1 game.

Anthony Williams led off the Heritage fourth with a double and eventually scored on a wild pitch to make it a 7-1 game, and the Patriots opened things up in the sixth when Freddie Bryant had an RBI-single, Sutton was walked and Bazzani ripped his double just out of the reach of a diving Freeny in center field.

Sutton threw three innings of scoreless relief, though he did strand five runners in his final two frames, including the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh.