After Monday’s shutout loss at Loganville, Heritage baseball coach Jason Borcherding said his team needed to score runs to beat the good teams in Region 8-AAAAA. Wednesday, the Patriots did just that.
Isreal Zackery had a pair of two-run hits and Heritage pounded Winder-Barrow pitching in a 9-2 victory at Danny Blue Field.
The win snapped a seven-game losing streak in the series as the Patriots defeated the Barrow County school for the first time since March, 2009.
It was evident right away it would be the Patriots’ night. They jumped all over starter and losing pitcher Christian Hodge with a four-run first. The first four batters reached base with Zackery delivering a two-run single from the cleanup spot to put the Patriots up 2-0. After a sacrifice by Matt Studdard, Justin Roberson ripped a single to score another run, and though Zackery was thrown out trying to get back to third base after the throw home was cut off, Winder shortstop Bailey Hawkins dropped a throw on a stolen base attempt and that allowed Roberson to scoot home to make it a 4-0 game.
That big first inning was enough for Domenic Bazzani, who went the distance and allowed just one earned run.
The left-hander worked around a single and his own error to strike out the side in scoreless first. He allowed just two more base runners until the visiting Bulldoggs scored twice without the benefit of a hit in the fifth, thanks to a walk and run scored each from Hawkins and Alex Childers.
That was all Bazzani would allow as his other four walks didn’t help Winder tack on any runs and Bazzani’s high fastball mixed with an effective breaking ball led to a 10-strikeout night for the senior.
“I was proud of Dom, he really competed,” said Heritage coach Jason Borcherding. “He was great tonight…he’s been great for us all season. He deserved to have a big night.”
Zackery was on base all four times he came to the plate, drawing a walk and scoring in the third and then was part of a two-run fifth after he started the frame by being hit with a pitch.
Heritage made it 9-2 in the sixth against reliever Tyler Hamrick. Tyler Holcombe and Bazzani drew one-out walks and Zackery took the first pitch he saw and laced a two-run double to cap the scoring and help end a long drought in the series for the hosts.
“That was kind of the dagger, it just created that separation that we needed at the time,” said Borcherding, whose team improved to 9-5 overall and 3-2 in league play. “It’s baseball, one day you’re not so good and the next day you come out and it’s a new game. That’s what’s great about the game.”
Winder, which fell to 8-4 and lost for the first time in five region games, had been averaging over 13 runs during a four-game winning streak.
“They’re scrappy, they’re going to claw and fight to the last out,” Borcherding said of Winder. “Our pitching keeps us in games, we just got to be able to find ways to score and tonight we were very fortunate that we came out swinging the bats.”
The teams played the final game of the home-and-home series Thursday in a game that ended too late for this edition.