Christian Heritage School softball coach Mike Leonard knows his team’s youth will lead to some mistakes this season.
But there weren’t many for the Lady Lions on Tuesday.
Christian Heritage only needed four innings to defeat North Cobb Christian 15-2 in a mercy rule-shortened game at Heritage Point Park in Dalton.
After a scoreless first, Christian Heritage (3-3) scored eight runs in the second. Five consecutive hits to start the inning — scoring three runs — were followed by a pair of RBI doubles by Hannah Heath and Ashlyn Clements. Christian Heritage finished with 14 hits, nine of them doubles.
“We were hitting well,” said Leonard, who used five freshmen in Tuesday’s starting lineup. “We’ve been working hard in the batting cages.”
Also in the inning, Julia McDonald’s sacrifice bunt resulted in two throwing errors by the Lady Eagles. The two Christian Heritage baserunners already on scored, and so did McDonald. North Cobb Christian (1-5) finished the game with three errors and numerous defensive lapses.
“We haven’t had a lot of opportunity for coaching yet,” Lady Eagles coach Josh Speck said. “I’m optimistic by the end of the season that we’ll have everything together, be hitting our cutoffs, playing good defense and making good throws.”
Both of North Cobb Christian’s runs were scored in the third inning. Freshman pitcher Erin Leonard, coach Leonard’s daughter, allowed three hits and struck out six batters in her three innings of work. Heath pitched the final inning, walking two but striking out the side.
The Lady Lions made one error, an improvement from this past weekend, when the team played at Harlem High School’s tournament in Augusta and finished 2-3.
“We played this weekend and we knew we were in every game,” Leonard said. “We lost 6-2 and 6-3. ... We’ve been able to compete in every game we’ve played. We’re going to have some games where we make some mistakes, and that happened in the one loss that was big. Tonight, when we got the lead, we made sure to tell the girls to get the out and not worry about checking the baserunners. We made a couple fielding mistakes, and that’s going to happen, but the mental mistakes weren’t there.”
In the third inning, Halle Poteet, Megan McKinney and McDonald each had an RBI double, and Hailey Jones followed with an RBI single.
Clements’ grounder resulted in an error that scored a run and Christian Heritage led 13-2. In the fourth, Jones’ two-run double ended the game via the Georgia High School Association’s mercy rule.
Other offensive standouts for Christian Heritage were Micah Kilgore, who had a two-run double in the first inning, and Baleigh McAllister, who went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
• Northwest Whitfield 10, Woodland-Bartow 2: The Lady Bruins (2-0) racked up 15 hits to win via the mercy rule in five innings.
Bayli Cruse went 3-for-4 with a home run and a double, plus five RBIs, for Northwest, while Hannah Godfrey finished 4-for-4 with four runs scored. Macy Weeks was 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBIs and Colbie Thomas went 2-for-4.
“The first time through, we could’ve put them away but the middle of our order wasn’t disciplined,” Lady Bruins coach Jason Brooker said. “We had a few popups. The next time through we had more discipline and started hitting up the middle and to right- and left-center field. Hannah was on base every time making things happen.”
Madison Gowin was the winning pitcher. She threw five innings, allowed two earned runs off three hits and struck out one.
• Coahulla Creek 12, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 1: The Lady Colts went on the road and wiped the bitter taste of Monday’s season-opening loss to Northwest away by pounding out 14 hits against the Lady Warriors in a Region 5-3A matchup. The game was shortened to five innings by the mercy rule.
Shelbe Dilbeck was 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and Madeleine Kalafut drove in four runs as part of her 2-for-4 day. Haley Reece (3-for-4, RBI) and Allie Thompson (2-for-3, RBI) were the other multiple-hit players as Josh Swiney earned his first win as head coach at Coahulla Creek.
“It was good to get this win,” Swiney said. “The girls came out with the same intensity that we had against Northwest Whitfield, and I was really proud of them.”
Pitcher Erin Harden struck out nine in a complete-game effort.
• Southeast Whitfield 18, Rome 0: Sydney Covington went 4-for-4 with four RBIs as the Lady Raiders (4-3) rolled on the road, needing just three innings to put a mercy-rule victory in the books.
Other strong efforts at the plate came from Chaya Drury (3-for-4, three RBIs, home run); Madison Pearson (3-for-4, RBI); Emily Beck (3-for-3, three RBIs); Lily Johnson (2-for-2, RBI); Kara Headrick (2-for-3, RBI); and Brooke Hasty, who had a hit and drove in a run.
Headrick also picked up the win, pitching all three innings and allowing four hits while striking out one.
Southeast followed a four-run first with the remainder of its scoring in the second.
• Union County 7, North Murray 6: A grand slam in the bottom of the sixth gave Union County the lead and the Lady Mountaineers couldn’t recover in the season-opening loss in Blairsville.
Baylee Sutton, who finished the day 2-for-4, homered to lead off the game for North Murray. Kara Deal was also 2-for-4, while Samantha Stafford drove in a pair of runs and was 2-for-4 with a triple.
• Northwest Whitfield opened its season with a sweep of Ringgold and Pickens in a tri-match in Tunnel Hill. The Lady Bruins won 25-20, 25-18 over Ringgold and 25-11, 25-17 over Pickens. No other details of the games were available.
• Results from North Murray’s match at Haralson County were not reported by The Daily Citizen’s deadline.