On another night where Madi Morris and the Heritage Generals continued to bludgeon the softball, it was freshman pitcher Rachel Gibson that stole the show.
Gibson struck out 15 of the 18 batters she faced and finished with a six-inning perfect game as No. 9-ranked Heritage squashed No. 1-ranked Northwest Whitfield, 9-0, in the winners' bracket final of the Region 6-AAAA tournament at Heritage Point Park in Dalton.
"It was fun to watch," said Generals' head coach Tanner Moore. "I just called the pitches and she was hitting everything she threw. It was special and it was a long time coming for her. Rachel has grown by leaps and bounds and worked hard to get to where she is now.
"We ask the girls to follow the lead of our seniors and grow every time they are out there. She put it all together tonight and I couldn't be prouder of her."
Morris, fresh off a three-homer, seven-RBI night on Monday in a 16-1 win over No. 7-ranked Ridgeland, went 4-for-4 against the Lady Bruins, while Kaylie Frogge had three hits in four official at-bats.
Heritage (19-8) will now await the winner of Wednesday's 5 p.m. game between Northwest and Ridgeland. The tournament's top two seeds will play for the right to meet Heritage in the finals at 7 p.m. The winner of the Ridgeland-Northwest game will have to beat the Generals on Wednesday and again on Thursday.
The Lady Panthers (22-6) punched their ticket to the state playoffs with a 4-1 win over Pickens earlier in the afternoon before a 6-2 victory over LaFayette Tuesday night. The Lady Ramblers (17-10) also advanced to state with a 6-1 win over Gilmer on Tuesday, but the loss to Ridgeland means that LaFayette will be the No. 4 seed for the Class AAAA playoffs.
Nicky Yancy was 1-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored for LaFayette against Gilmer, while Shelby Adkins was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Madison Pettigrew got the win in the circle.
Ciera Foster had three hits for Ridgeland in the win over Pickens. Whitney Boehm picked up a pair of RBIs, while Laine Hicks and Katie Davis both added one RBI. Hailey Carroll scattered six hits and struck out two in the win.
An RBI-triple by Haley Sandridge and a ground-rule, RBI-double by Boehm staked Ridgeland to a 2-0 lead against LaFayette heading into the bottom of the fourth. But freshman Carlee Corbin would smack a two-run homer for the Lady Ramblers - the first of her prep career - knotting the game at 2-2.
However, Ridgeland freshman Erin Hughes would give the Black-and-White the lead right back as she led off the top of the fifth with her first career home run - a solo shot - and the Lady Panthers would go on to score four in the inning en route to the win.
Davis and Boehm each had two hits, while Davis picked up two RBIs. Grayson James also added a RBI in the win. Carroll gave up six hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Ashton Stalling took the loss for LaFayette as she pitched the first 4.2 innings, allowing five hits and striking out three. Pettigrew worked the final 2.1 innings, giving up five hits and four walks.