Heritage's run ends at Hackleburg
By Shane Herrmann
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HACKLEBURG — Decatur Heritage's dream baseball season ended Friday with a doubleheader loss at Hackleburg in the Class 1A state quarterfinals.
Hackleburg's Justin Raper went 6-for-6 on the day with seven RBIs and also got a pitching victory as his team advanced with 10-0 and 12-2 victories.
Decatur Heritage never had advanced this far in the playoffs. Only two years ago, the Eagles went winless for the season.
"Hackleburg is a very good team and deserving of its No. 1 ranking," Decatur Heritage coach Steve Atchley said. "I can't say enough about what a great season its been for us. Last year was the first time we ever made the playoffs and to be able to advance to the third round this year says a lot about what great group of players we have.
"We have had solid senior leadership all year long and a core group of fans that has really made this a great season."
In the first game, Hackleburg pitcher Jon McKinney improved to 13-0 after tossing a no-hitter.
He got three strikeouts in five innings and allowed only two players to reach base. Decatur Heritage catcher Drew Atchley walked twice, but was stranded at first base both times.
Offensively, Hackleburg plated runs in three of the first four innings, including a seven-run seventh in which the Panthers sent 10 batters to the plate. Raper went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles and four RBIs.
In game two, the Panthers quickly found themselves trailing for the first time all day.
Bo Goodwin got the first hit of the day for the Eagles with a leadoff double in the bottom of the first inning. He later scored on a ground ball by Drew Atchley, and DHCA had a 1-0 lead.
The Hackleburg bats, however, would not be kept in check long. Raper went 4-for-4 in the second game, including a two-run home run in the seventh inning to put the game out of reach. The Panthers had built a 7-2 lead heading into the inning before sending nine batters to the plate.
Atchley and Chris Oliver each singled and drove in a run in the second game for the Eagles. Chase Wright, Trent McLemore and Brent Denson each had a single.
Raper scattered four hits and struck out seven to get the win on the mound for Hackleburg.
State quarterfinal baseball pairings
All series are best-of-three with two games Friday and a single game Saturday, if necessary.
Hackleburg 10-12, Decatur Heritage 0-2 (Hackleburg sweeps)
Athens Bible 6-0, Covenant Christian 2-4 (Saturday at 1 p.m.)
Ranburne 7-4, West Morgan 1-5 (Saturday at noon)
Hatton 12-11, Mars Hill 1-7 (Hatton sweeps)
Hokes Bluff 12-11, Danville 2-1 (Hokes Bluff sweeps)
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