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Heritage Academy splits doubleheader with Starkville Academy


By Brian Lentz, Special to The Dispatch



STARKVILLE -- It was a tale of two different performances for the Heritage Academy and Starkville Academy baseball teams Wednesday in their doubleheader. 


In the first game, the Patriots picked up where they left off Tuesday night, defeating the Volunteers 8-0, thanks in part to a solid performance on the mound from Cody Mordecai, who pitched a one-hitter. Starkville Academy also committed seven errors. Heritage Academy rallied for a 10-5 victory against Starkville Academy on Tuesday in Columbus. 


"I thought I was hitting my spots pretty well," said Mordecai, a senior right-hander. "The defense was also playing really well behind me, giving that extra support. We didn't have many errors, either, which goes back to how well we played in the field." 


The Patriots had nine hits. The biggest came from senior Jace Caldwell, who blasted a home run in the top of the third to extend Heritage Academy's lead to 3-0. 


Afterward, Caldwell explained how the home run turned out to be an unexpected prediction. 


"I was talking to Cody after he scored, " Caldwell said. "I looked at him and said, 'I guess the only thing I can do right now is hit a home run.' The pitcher just threw me a high inside fastball and I just turned on it. Luckily, I got a good piece on it and it went over." 


After the Patriots plated another run in the top of the fourth, Tyler Anderson drove in Caldwell in the fifth to make it 5-0. The Patriots tacked on three more runs in the top of seventh to claim the series victory. 


In the second game, the Volunteers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on Hunter Peeples' two-run single. Peeples struck again with an RBI single in the bottom of the third to make it 3-0.  


Starkville Academy broke the game open with a six-run fourth. Colt Chrestman's RBI double to center field made it 4-0. Billy McGee added an RBI double to extend the lead to 5-0. After Chrestman scored on a wild pitch, Peeples drove in two more runs to make it 8-0. 


The final blow came in the bottom of the fifth, as McGee's RBI to right field gave the Volunteers a 10-0 run-rule victory. Starkville Academy had 11 hits to avoid a sweep. 


"Getting this win was huge for us," Chrestman said. "Being able to get a win in the last game of a series will help to give us confidence going into the next game. It will give us that added motivation to win on Friday, to win next week, and try to keep a winning streak going." 


Said Starkville Academy coach Jody Britt, "We had a tough loss last night. Everything we hit in the first game today landed right at somebody and we just couldn't get a break. I don't think we ever laid down, but we just couldn't get anything going.  


Harper Arnold and Hunter Tranum did their part in Game 2, allowing only one hit. 


"Harper did well to start," Britt added. "The only reason we had to take him out was due to a numb thumb. He couldn't find the strike zone, so we went with Tranum. He came in with the bases loaded and only one out, and was able to end the inning without giving up a run, which was huge. Harper came back in after his thumb healed a little bit, and he got a big hit and was able to finish the job on the mound." 


Although Heritage Academy didn't complete the sweep, coach Bruce Branch believes his team still earned a huge accomplishment in taking the series. 


"Anytime we're playing a Division II school, it's big for us," said Branch. "With us in second in the conference, we're sitting right where we need to be. We have been able to take at least two out of three from everyone, so anytime we can take the series, we feel it is a big success for us." 


Starkville Academy moves to 5-14 and 3-6 in division play, while Heritage Academy goes to 12-9 and 5-4. 




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