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Photos by Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Heritage pitcher Connor Sheehan allowed six hits and needed only 60 pitches Thursday in a complete-game 3-0 ACAC victory over Adams Central.
Heritage 3, Adams Central 0

Patriots post efficient win

Pitching downs Flying Jets in fast-paced game

Adams Central’s Clayton Harkless, right, and the rest of the Class 2A No. 2 Flying Jets lost an ACAC showdown to Heritage in less than 90 minutes.

– Dean Lehrman steers you deftly in the opposite direction when the topic turns to coaching milestones, even if the topic is a relevant one these days.

Not very long ago this spring, after all, Lehrman won his 500th game as Heritage’s baseball coach.

“That just means I’m old,” he said with a laugh.

Thanks to Conner Sheehan and an efficient bunch of Patriots, he didn’t get much older Thursday.

In less than 90 minutes, the Patriots dispatched Class 2A No. 2 Adams Central 3-0 in an ACAC showdown. Heritage (5-5, 3-0) scored all three of its runs in the first two innings, and Sheehan did the rest, scattering six hits and using only 60 pitches to get a shutout win that was a bit of payback for a less memorable outing in Parkview Field a year ago.

“Last year we lost to them in Parkview Field in extra innings. That was real hard to handle,” Sheehan said.

Lehrman said he juggled his pitching rotation to give Sheehan another crack at the Flying Jets.

“He’s been pointing toward this game for a long time,” Lehrman said. “So we kind of tweaked and adjusted our rotation this week.

“Big, huge game for him. That’s all Conner.”

And all Heritage striking early, before Adams Central’s Isaac Soldner settled in. A windblown leadoff triple by Cole Gerardot, a walk to Wil Knapke and a fielding error by Flying Jets second baseman Brady Butler handed the Patriots two runs in the first, and Andrew Saalfrank’s RBI single in the second accounted for the third run.

After that, Adams Central (13-4, 2-2) chased while Soldner held the line. After Saalfrank’s RBI single, he retired 13 of the next 14 batters, finishing with a seven-strikeout four-hitter.

But the Flying Jets could never solve Sheehan, who kept them off-balance with a mix of fastballs and sliders. Adams Central’s only threat came in the fourth, when Soldner tried to go from first to home on Cooper Hill’s slicing shot down the right-field line.

But an efficient relay cut down Soldner at home for the third out of the inning – a clutch defensive play from a Heritage team that also turned two double plays.

“A team effort,” Sheehan said.

And the pitching?

“It’s just mixing them up,” he said. “The catcher (Nathan Roop) calls the pitches so I just listen to him. He does all the work.”

Not quite all.