The Heritage Huskies’ baseball team thinks this is the year it could win the Cap-8 Conference baseball title and it took the first step in that direction Friday afternoon with a come-from-behind 4-3 win over Leesville Road.
It was the conference opener for both teams. Defending Cap-8 champ Leesville is 1-4 overall and Heritage is 5-0.
Junior Hunter Dickerson, who entered the game as a pitcher in the sixth inning, dropped a single into short right field with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, driving in rightfielder Thayer Thomas, who started a two-out rally with a single.
Leesville led 2-0 early and took a 3-2 lead in the fourth.
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Heritage got to Leesville reliever Will Sandy for two hits and a tying run in the sixth.
Both teams appear ready to go as far this season as their pitching will take them
Leesville starter, senior Will Wheeler, pitched five inning, giving up just three hits and notching 10 strikeouts. Sophomore lefty Will Sandy then pitched the final two innings and got the loss.
“Will Wheeler threw the ball well and Will Sandy didn’t throw badly either for us,” Leesville coach Guy Civitello said.
Heritage first-year coach Joe John, who played his high school ball at Leesville, went deeper into his pitching staff, getting four solid innings from starter Joe Procopio and then getting shutout innings from three relievers, J.D. Burrows, Dickerson, and Branden Kunz, who got the win.
“We lost a lot, but we had a lot of young players ready to move up,” John said. “I told them from day one if we play the way we can, we can win the conference.”
Three to know
Vinny Bailey, Heritage: The senior designated hitter doubled in two runs for the Huskies before leaving the game with a muscle pull.
“We’ve got to bring him along slowly as he heals,” John said. “He’s one of our top hitters and we’re going to need him this year.”
Joe Procopio, Heritage: The senior starter has been at the top of the Huskies’ pitching rotation the past two years. After his team fell behind 2-0 he kept his team within striking distance.
Will Wheeler, Leesville Road: Showed a good fastball in recording 10 strikeouts and has had two good starts for the Pride this season.
They said it.
“Will and Will pitched well,” Civitello said. “We scored two runs early and our bats went kind of silent. We’ve got to find a way to scratch out some runs, play good defense and pitch.”
Heritage’s pitching staff is going to be a strong point and was against the Pride.
“We’ve got a lot of guys we can bring in depending on the situation and that’s what we did in this game,” John said. “All four pitched well and a couple of guys, Tyler Porter and Connor Matzuga pitched well in our last game.”
Dickerson came in to pitch the sixth inning but stayed in the game when Bailey left with his muscle pull and another player was ejected. Dickerson then got the winning hit, batting in Bailey’s third spot in the batting order.
“I was looking for the curve ball, I knew it was coming,” Dickerson said.