A seven-run second inning proved to be the decisive frame for the Heritage Generals on Monday as they defeated cross-county rival LFO, 10-3, in the home opener in Boynton.
Landen Skeen was hit by a pitch to start the inning and courtesy runner Brady Chandler moved to second on a single by Zach Barrett. J.J. Hunt then dropped a flare right on the line in right field to bring in the first run of the evening as Barrett scampered to third. Dylan Bryan followed with a picture-perfect bunt to plate Barrett with the Generals' second run.
After a C.J. Robertson single and a Gage Shaver walk loaded the bases, Cannon Stafford laced a two-run double to center, while the next two runs came home on an error following a hard-hit ball by Alex Mixon, who took second base on the play.
Courtesy runner Eli Tetherow later took third base on a passed ball and raced home on the Warriors' second error of the inning.
LFO got three runs back in the top of the fourth. A pair of Heritage errors and a walk set the table for Chris Kelley. His grounder was misplayed, allowing two runs to cross the plate and Eli Walker added an RBI-single one batter later. But Skeen, the Heritage starting pitcher, struck out two straight batters to escape further damage.
Heritage answered with a three-spot of its own in the bottom of the frame. Shaver and Mixon sandwiched a pair of doubles around Stafford, who drew a walk. Stafford would trot home on a passed ball and J.T. Eaton's RBI-single would cap the scoring.
Skeen allowed four hits in five innings, but none of the three runs he gave up were earned. He walked three batters and finished with six strikeouts, while Taylor Vinson pitched a pair of innings out of the bullpen, allowing one hit and one walk with two strikeouts.
Matthew Shields was saddled with the loss for the Warriors. He gave up seven hits and four walks and finished with five strikeouts. Tanner Mantooth threw two innings of scoreless relief, allowing no hits and one walk with three strikeouts.
Seven players accounted for the seven hits by the Generals. Devan Hinton had two hits for LFO, while Will Carroll and Nyko Simpson added a single apiece.
Heritage (2-0) will begin a home-and-home series with Ringgold tomorrow (Tuesday) at Ringgold, starting at 5:55 p.m. They are slated to host the Tigers on Friday at 5:30.
Meanwhile, LFO (0-3) will play a home-and-home with Dawson County. The first game will be in Dawsonville tomorrow and the Tigers are scheduled to make the trip to Fort Oglethorpe on Friday. First pitch of both games is set for 5:55 p.m.