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ROLESVILLE — It was a close baseball game between Heritage and Rolesville, but then the flood gates opened up for the Huskies when they scored seven runs in the top of the sixth inning to help beat their conference opponent 11-1 Tuesday.
No one scored for the first two innings. Heritage went three and out to start the game. Christian Staresina scored the first run of the game by stealing home plate off a wild pitch.
In the top of the fourth, Cole Cunningham hit a triple and Vito Patierno ran home. An error at first base allowed Cunningham to get to third base, but Rolesville managed to get three outs to end the inning.
Rolesville scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning off a fielder’s choice. That would be their last big play of the game.
In the top of the sixth inning, Heritage scored two runs in a row off of wild pitches thrown to the catcher. Hunter Zents hit a single and Staresina scored on the play to make it 5-1.
On the next at-bat, Alex Imposimato hit a single and Jack Boyles scored. Chris Katz followed with a single and Zents scored. The last two runs of the sixth inning came off a Cameron O’Brien double to send his teammates Imposimato and Chris Jensen running home.
Heritage added two more runs in the top of the seventh to make the score 11-1. Rolesville had one last chance of a comeback, but the game ended on a double play by Heritage’s defense.
The Huskies finished the game with nine hits and six total RBIs. Imposimato led his squad with two hits, two RBIs and two runs. Staresina recorded two hits, an RBI and three runs.
Head coach Thomas Ferrara said the players made the right plays when they needed to, even if it was late in the game.
“When you put balls in play, good things usually happen,” Ferrara said. “We’re just trying to stick with our approach and be aggressive. It picked up in the back half of the game.”
Rolesville committed four errors in the loss. Head coach Jake Gross said Heritage took advantage of their mistakes, which is what good teams do.
“Heritage is a really good team and they made things happen,” Gross said. “We’re young and still growing in certain spots. Heritage took advantage of our mistakes and they piled it on pretty quick.”
Jalen Hollins got the win on the mound for Heritage. The junior pitcher struck out four batters in five innings. Despite giving up four hits and seven walks, Hollins only allowed one run.
“Jalen loves to compete,” Ferrara said. “He wants the ball and doesn’t want to come out of the game. That’s what we ask for. When we get our one-two punch going, we’re hard to beat. It gets our team going.”
Rolesville had chances to get into scoring position. The Rams had runners on third base multiple times with two outs in the inning. Gross said the hits didn’t come at the right time when the team needed them the most.
“I don’t think we played terrible,” Gross said. “We played well for five innings. In order to beat a team like Heritage, you have to play all seven innings and we didn’t do that today.”
With the loss, Rolesville dropped to 9-7 overall and 4-5 in NAC 6 conference play. The Rams are fighting for a 4A state playoff spot with Wake Forest. They are currently sitting at fourth place in the conference standings behind Wake Forest.
“We just have to play one game at a time and one pitch at a time,” Gross said. “We can’t look forward. We can’t look back at what we’ve done in the past. We’ve got to refocus on how we can get better and fight for that third place spot in the conference.”
As for Heritage, the win improved them to 10-3 overall and 5-1 in conference play. They are battling with Corinth Holders for first place in the NAC 6.
“All I keep repeating to our guys is focus and concentration,” Ferrara said. “The dugout needs to be all in. Everybody needs to be focused and ready to go.”
Rolesville will play Holly Springs in the Bobby Murray Tournament on Thursday.
When they get back from spring break, Heritage will play Wake Forest at home at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24.