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Tigers tame Screven

    SYLVANIA — The Screven County Gamecocks (11-8, 7-4 Region 3-AA) had the opportunity to move into a second-place tie with region rival Metter (14-9, 9-2) with a home win Thursday night, but starting pitcher Josh Vining (4-2) — who recently signed to play college ball at Young Harris College — threw a complete game and struck out nine. The Tiger bats also proved too much for SCHS as MHS cruised to a 9-4 win placing Metter alone in second place behind Swainsboro in the region standings.
    Although the Gamecock pitching struck out 13 MHS batters, they gave up 10 hits and the Tigers crossed the plate in five straight innings.
    The scoring started in the top of the second with a RBI single by Jonathan Cobb and a RBI double crushed to the track by Blake Williams. A Jamie Roberts RBI triple past the outstretched glove of diving SCHS right fielder Michael Johnson added another run in the third, and Vining helped himself in the fourth when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead. A Jamie Roberts sacrifice fly gave Metter a 5-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth.
    The Gamecocks were finally able to get something going when Garrett Bates reached on an error and Tyler McBride singled to left. McBride took too wide of a turn around first and he winded up in a pickle. While the Metter infield was busy trying to tag him out, Bates scored and cut the Metter lead to four.
    After blasting SCHS for three more runs in the top of the fifth, the Tigers allowed the Gamecocks to chip away at their lead again in the bottom of the inning.
    “We respect Screven County and we know they can hit the ball,” said Metter coach Don Mims. “It never felt safe — they were chipping away. We were just trying to keep a five-run cushion after we got that lead… They’re a great team and we know we are in for a battle every time we see them.”
    Screven’s fifth-inning rally started when Bates hit a stand-up two-run double to the gap in left-center. A ball-four passed ball put runners on the corners for the Gamecocks, and they were able to get one more across the plate when Jeremy Rosier grounded into a fielder’s choice and allowed Bates to score his second run of the game.
    Gamecock reliever Cameron Hayden entered the game with two runners on base in the fifth and allowed just two hits in his two-plus innings and struck out six. It was too late for SCHS as the five–run deficit proved to be too much.  
    “Baseball is a game of bounces, and the ball bounced (Metter’s) way and not ours,” said Screven coach Kevin Pollock. “The first time we played (the Tigers), Vining was a lot stronger.
    “I though we did a real good job of attacking his pitches tonight. They played solid ‘D’ behind him. I think we made one or two errors. Those little things change the course of the game.”
    Screven returns to the diamond when it travels to Swainsboro on Tuesday to take on the No.1 team in the region at 5:30 p.m. Metter has three region games remaining. The next is at Laney on Tuesday at 5 p.m. as the Tigers set their sights on Swainsboro and the No. 1 spot in the region.

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