Heritage Host Maiden in First Round Game Tuesday
The Mountain Heritage varsity baseball team wrapped up second place in the Western Highlands Conference and secured a home playoff game with wins on the road at two of their biggest rivals last week, Mitchell and Madison. The Cougars (10-10, 8-4) will host a playoff game on Wednesday against Maiden at 6 p.m.
At home against rival Mitchell on Monday Heritage blew open a close game late to win easily 14-4.
Fielding mistakes hurt the Mountaineers early as the Cougars got on the board first when junior shortstop Gray McCurry reached on an error, stole 2nd, advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch, and scored on another error. The manufactured run made it 1-0.
Mitchell tied the game when Austin Duncan scored on a Mountain Heritage error.
The Cougars scored 3 more in the third, after a Colton Garland single drove in both Daulton Buchanan and Gray McCurry who singled earlier in the inning.
The Mountaineers did not quit however. After a pitching change (Drew Hoilman pitched the first two innings for Heritage), Mitchell scored 3 runs of their own. Austin Suiter was driven in by a Col Gillespie double to centerfield and both Gillespie and Tyler Stafford, who had drawn a walk, were knocked in by a Dylan Forbes double.
The game remained tied until the top of the fifth. Kaleb McCurry led off the inning with a single and was followed by Ethan Ray, who reached on an error. Both were driven in by an Andrew Hall triple. Hall scored himself on an RBI single b Dylan Burford. Following singles by Rome Robinson, Drew Hoilman, Gray McCurry, and Colton Garland, all of whom eventually scored, Kaleb McCurry was driven in by an Ethan Ray single to right field. Ray also scored again in the inning on another Dylan Burford single to right field.
When the damage was done, the Cougars had scored 10 runs on 8 hits in the inning. Colton Garland then shut down the Mountaineers on 3 ground ball outs to pick up his first win of the season and help complete a Heritage season sweep of Mitchell this year.
Tuesday night's game at Madison had a playoff-like atmosphere. Coming in to the game, Heritage, Madison, and Owen were all tied for second in the conference behind Hendersonville who had secured the first place spot by going undefeated in conference play. Each team had four losses a piece. The winner of the game would get the second seed for the conference along with a home playoff game.
The game started out as a pitcher's duel with the Patriots starting their ace Piedmont College signee, Geoff Gerber and towing the rubber for the Cougars was Mars Hill University bound Kaleb McCurry. Heritage took an early 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Drew Hoilman to score Rome Robinson.
The score remained the same till the bottom of the third when Tyler Hoffman was driven in by Tyler Rogers and Geoff Gerber scored on a sac-fly b Trenton Davis to give Madison a 2-1 lead.
Kaleb McCurry helped his own cause in the top of the 4th by doubling to left-field scoring Colton Garland to knot things up at 2-2.
Not to be out done, Gerber singled for the Patriots, then moved to second on an error, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on another sac-fly by Trenton Davis, to give Madison a 3-2 advantage going into the sixth inning.
Drew Hoilman was the first batter of the sixth for the Cougars and he reached base when he was hit by a pitch, Alex Welch then came into pinch run for Hoilman. The next batter, Gray McCurry, parked a two run homer to right field to give the lead back to Heritage 4-3. It was the 5th home run for McCurry in the last six games, a span that has seen the Cougars win five of those six contests.
The inning was not over, however, as Colton Garland scored on an error by the Patriots shortstop after reaching base on a single to centerfield.
Mountain Heritage added to their lead in the seventh when a single by Drew Hoilman drove in Rome Robinson who had started the inning with a walk. That run would prove to be very important as Madison scored two of their own in the bottom of the seventh
But with the bases loaded and the game in the balance, Cougar pitcher Kaleb McCurry induced John Heyes to fly out to Berea College signee, centerfielder Dalton Buchanan, to preserve a 6-5 win.
Come out Wednesday and support the Cougars as they try and advance in the 2A state playoffs for the second straight season.