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SEB starts strong in season opener

PORTAL — Megan Anderson got her first-career baseball game under her belt, but Portal mistakes led to seven unearned runs for Southeast Bulloch as the Yellow Jackets knocked off the Panthers 11-1 in six innings Monday at Panther Field.

It was the season opener for both teams.

Anderson, who played softball in the fall for the Lady Panthers, pitched 1.1 innings, faced seven batters, allowed one hit and two unearned runs.

She entered the game as a relief pitcher in the fifth inning after four SEB runs had already crossed the plate. With two outs and the bases loaded, her first-career pitch was popped up to centerfield to get Portal out of the jam.

"She’s a competitive athlete," said PHS coach Tendai Haggins. "When she told me she was coming out I was glad to see her out here. When we work on a few things — the differences between baseball and softball — she’s going to be fine. You’ll see Megan in left, right, and she can catch. She’s got a quick release, and I look forward to watching her get better."

J.D. Smith (1-0) pitched five innings for Southeast Bulloch, allowing three hits and striking out seven. The only run he allowed came in the bottom of the first when Portal’s Nolan Clark bounced a single to left that drove in PHS leadoff hitter Carl Smith, who started the game with an infield single for a 1-0 Panthers lead.

"He had a little bit of a rocky start," said SEB coach Brandon Peterson about Smith, "but as a guy that’s been around as a veteran, he settled down and got the job done."

The Yellow Jackets broke the game wide open in the top of the second on three hits and three Portal miscues.

Smith (2-for-3, BB, 2 R) drew a one-out walk and took second on a balk. Smith scored when Tyler Epps singled up the middle. Epps took second on a groundout and third on a wild pitch before Steve Rowe walked and stole second.

Eli Page, who closed the game in the sixth by striking out three of the four batters he faced, reached on a two-out, two-run fielding error that scored Epps and Rowe to make it 3-1.

A single by Taylor Burroughs and another wild pitch scored Page, and Gauge Weaver’s single drove in Burroughs. Blake Fulmer drew a four-pitch walk to chase off PHS starter Hunter Oglesby.

Oglesby moved to centerfield after pitching 1.2 innings, allowing three hits and one earned run, and Nolan Clark took the mound to strike out Steve Brown and end the inning trailing 5-1.

Clark pitched two innings in relief, allowing a hit and two walks. He struck out three.

The Jackets put up five more — four unearned — in the fifth, and two more unearned runs in the sixth off of Anderson.

"We just didn’t make the routine plays," said Haggins. "Chalk it up to pre-game jitters, but a bunch of kids who haven’t had a chance to start got a chance tonight, so now they’ve seen what competitive high school baseball is all about."

Portal returns to the diamond Wednesday, hosting Burke County at 5 p.m. Southeast Bulloch plays at 6 p.m. Wednesday in a cross-region matchup at Emanuel County Institute.

 

Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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