For the first time since they played in the state semifinals in 2018, the Heritage Generals will play in the Class AAAA Elite Eight.
Heritage (26-7) punched its ticket after sweeping Region 5 champion Hampton on the road. The Generals claimed victory on Monday night in a game that did not end until nearly nearly midnight. They came back the following morning and used a six-run second inning to run rule the Hornets in five innings.
Heritage 8, Hampton 3
The Generals jumped all over the Hornets in Game 1 by scoring the first eight runs of the ball game, four of which came home without Heritage even swinging the bat.
Brady Chandler had an RBI-single in the second inning and four runs came home in the top of the third. The first run scored on an error before Landen Skeen delivered a bases-loaded single. Chandler and C.J. Robertson finished off the inning by drawing walks with the bases loaded.
Cade Kiniry had an RBI-single in the top of the fifth, while two more runs trotted home on bases-loaded walks. Caden Snyder and Gage Shaver were credited with the RBI's.
Hampton pushed home a run in the bottom of the fifth and they scored twice in the seventh on a double, but relief pitcher Garrison May got a strikeout and a groundout to end the game.
Kiniry went 3 for 5 with two runs scored, while Robertson, Snyder, Alex Mixon and Dylan Bryan each had singles in the victory.
Zach Barrett pitched the first 6.1 innings. He allowed two runs on five hits, though only one of the runs were earned. He finished with seven strikeouts and one walk. May pitched the final two-thirds of the seventh, giving up an earned run on two hits.
Heritage 11, Hampton 1
Cannon Stafford came through with an RBI-single in the bottom of the first for the Generals, who played as the home team during Game 2. However, Heritage would bust the game wide open with nine runs over the next two innings.
A walk and a double by Chandler got the second inning going before Bryan and Robertson delivered back-to-back RBI singles. Heritage loaded the bases with two outs and Mixon cleared them with a three-run double to right to cap the inning.
Then in the third, the Generals scored a run on a Hampton error, while Stafford and Snyder followed with back-to-back RBI-doubles to make it a 10-0 game.
The Hornets got a solo homerun to lead off the top of the fifth, but in the bottom of the inning, Stafford delivered a one-out single and took second on an error. A fly ball allowed courtesy runner Noah Johnson to tag up to third before Mixon came through with a walk-off RBI-hit to end the game on the run rule. It was Mixon's fourth RBI of the game.
Stafford went 3 for 4, while Chandler was 3 for 3 with a pair of doubles. Mixon, Snyder and Robertson all had two hits each in the series-clinching win.
Kiniry went five innings, giving up just the one earned run on two hits. He walked two batters and finished with three strikeouts.
Heritage will have an even longer road trip in Round 3 as it will make the drive to Savannah to take on one of the top teams in the classification in Benedictine, who enjoyed a 9-6, 10-0 sweep of Thomas County Central in the second round.