Heritage Generals

With their backs firmly against the wall following a rare Game 1 loss, the Heritage Generals rallied Thursday night to even up their best-of-three series with Jefferson and force a winner-take-all Game 3 on Friday.

First pitch on Friday is slated for 2 p.m. back in Boynton.

Jefferson 2, Heritage 0

Despite collecting just two hits and committing two errors, the visiting Lady Dragons - The No. 3 seed from Region 8 - were able to scratch out a pair of runs and upset the two-time Class AAAA state champions in the opening game of their second-round series.

Jefferson got its first run in the top of the first inning, thanks to a pair of walks, a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly by Mac Turner that brought in the run.

Then in the fourth inning, the Lady Dragons used a one-out walk and a sacrifice bunt before getting an RBI-single by Maleia Truelove to increase their lead.

Heritage left seven runners on base during the game and at least one in every inning except for the fifth. Lexi Duckett let off the seventh with a single, but she was stranded at first as Jefferson got the next three outs to seal the win.

Duckett finished with two of the Generals' four hits. Carmen Gayler had a double and Zoe Wright added a single. Rachel Gibson was saddled with the loss. She gave up just two hits, but allowed four walks in seven innings. Both runs were earned and she finished with 10 strikeouts.

Heritage 6, Jefferson 0

Things were more to the home team's liking in the nightcap, even playing as the visiting team. Heritage scored solo runs in the first, second and sixth innings, but gave themselves added cushion with a three-run third.

Gayler delivered an RBI-triple in the first inning and Duckett plated a run with a single in the second. In the third, Madeline Stone came through with an RBI-single, which was followed up by an RBI-triple off the bat of Bailey Davis before Sarah Haynes drove in a run with a groundout.

Heritage (26-6) tacked on one final run in the top of the sixth inning as a single and an error set the table for Wright, who also brought in a run with a groundout.

Gibson started in the circle and gave up just one hit in three innings, finishing with five strikeouts, before turning things over to Kelsey Anderson. The freshman pitched the final four innings, allowing two hits and two walks and striking out three batters.

Gayler finished with a pair of doubles and Duckett had a pair of singles as eight different players accounted for Heritage's 10 hits.

Should the Generals win on Friday, they would make the 330-mile trek to Region 1 champion Bainbridge for the state quarterfinals on Tuesday. Bainbridge swept Region 3 runner-up Jenkins on Thursday, 8-0 and 14-3. 

Bainbridge would be the home team after the bottom half of the brackets won the GHSA's universal coin flip on Thursday.

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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