After Heitzman, confined to a wheelchair, threw the ceremonial first pitch before Tuesday night’s game against Collins Hill, the Trojans jumped ahead early and broke the game open by scoring three runs in the fourth inning before winning a 7-1 decision.
Heitzman was a 2012 Lassiter graduate who helped guide the Trojans to a Region 5AAAAA championship last season and the second round of the Class AAAAA state tournament. He had planned to go to Georgia College and State University on baseball scholarship.
“Win or lose, this was about Chris,” Lassiter coach Scott Kelly said.
Lassiter (5-2) took advantage of Collins Hill’s early miscues by loading the bases with no outs on two walks and a throwing error. The runs then started coming in when Will Anderson broke out of a slump by hitting a two-run single that scored Caleb Kutsche and Eric Ankerholz.
“(Anderson) has been struggling lately after starting out like a house on fire,” Kelly said.
Tyler Elwer then capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly to score Cornell Nixon.
Elwer and Zach Lippincott were a combined 5-for-5 at the plate, and they also had three RBIs among them.
Elwer got things started with an RBI single in the first to score Patrick Levandoski. Kutsche added another RBI on a fielder’s choice in the second to stretch the lead to 2-0.
Lassiter went on to double its lead in the third inning. Lippincott hit a double to center to score Levandoski, and Matt McGuire hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Elwer.
A four-run cushion was more than enough run support for starting pitcher Tim Eber, who gave up one run on five hits and had eight strikeouts to just two walks.
The only time Eber faced trouble was in the top of the third when Collins Hill (2-6) loaded the bases on him with one out. But he bailed himself out by throwing his fifth strikeout before inducing a groundout to short to end the frame.
Aside from that, Eber seemed comfortable the rest of the way. The Eagles scored their only run in the sixth inning, when Trevor Powers scored from third on a double play.
“We were able to take advantage of a couple of (Collins Hill mistakes) and made some plays,” Kelly said. “And Tim was able to do his stuff with a couple of runs to work with.”
Jacob Anthes pitched a scoreless seventh for Lassiter, giving up just one hit.