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Yellow Jackets wear down Metter Tigers

    METTER — Metter’s first round playoff series with Jeff Davis Friday night came down to one crucial inning for the Tigers. It was an inning mired with errors and mental mistakes, an inning that likely cost Metter a chance at advancing into round two.
    The visiting Yellow Jackets held on in Game One 7-6, then pulled away in Game Two 8-2 to knock out Metter in the first round of the Class AA GHSA state playoffs. The aforementioned inning cost MHS in the opener.
    Jeff Davis’ Rudy Pritchett led off Game One’s the top of the fifth — with JDHS trailing 1-0 — with a single to right. Lead-off hitter Skyler Clark then grounded a double-play ball to short, but the ball went right through Blake Williams’ legs.
    Austin Hughes then hit a ground ball to third, but Jordan Wiley couldn’t come up with the play cleanly, thus loading the bases. Kelly Williams rolled over another ball to short, but the shortstop Williams threw the ball clear into right field, scoring Pritchett and Clark. Hughes then scored on a Blake Medders fielder’s choice and Williams scored on a wild pitch to make the score 4-1.
    Three batters and one out later, Casey Wilcox singled to center scoring Jake Edwards after centerfielder Jonathan Cobb misplayed the ball, giving MHS its fourth error of the inning.
    “We preached all season no multiple-error innings,” said MHS coach Don Mims. “We didn’t come through on it today and when that happens you lose.”
    Trailing 5-1, MHS immediately fought back with a four-run bottom half of the fifth. Evan Durden drew a one-out walk, Cobb blooped a single to right and Williams walked to load the bases. Durden scored on a wild pitch, opening first base for Josh Vining.
    The Jackets elected to pitch to the senior, and after seven pitches, Vining smashed a 3-2 fastball over the right-centerfield fence to tie the game at five, and seemingly put MHS right back in the game.
    “We started out the season 1-5 and the fought back,” said Mims of his team’s effort. “They worked hard and they don’t ever give up.”
    Vining, who started the game for Metter, came back out in the top of the sixth to finish what he started. But after letting the first two batters reach, Williams screamed a liner past third to give JDHS a 6-5 lead. Vining then loaded the bases and Gunner Jackson drew a walk to make the score 7-5. Jordan Wiley came on in relief to get the final three outs of the frame.
    The Tigers (17-11) had a chance to tie — or even win it — in the bottom of the seventh. But with the bases loaded and one run already in, Williams grounded into a 5-4-3 double play and was called out on a bang-bang play at first to end the game.
    Bryant Kerns got the win on the mound for Jeff Davis, pitching 4 1/3 innings, striking out seven. Vining was the hard-luck loser, throwing 130 pitches over 6-plus and allowing just two earned runs.
Yellow Jackets 8,
 Tigers 2
    Jeff Davis (17-11) slowly but surely wore down MHS in Game Two, plating five runs in its final two at bats.
    Yellow Jacket starter Michael Hutchinson took a no-hitter into the fourth, but seemed to get rattled after Williams opened the top of the fourth with a triple.
    Vining sac-flied him home to make the score 2-1 JDHS, and then Derek Lindsey hit into a fielder’s choice to score Game Two starter Jamie Roberts  and tie the contest.
    After JD took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth, Roberts begin to tire in the bottom of the fifth, giving up four hits, four runs, two wild pitches and walking a batter.
    Jake Edwards drove home two in the inning and finished the game with 3 RBIs.
    The 7-2 lead after five took the air out of MHS, and JDHS would add another in the sixth to provide the final margin. Clark finished the series 2-5 for JDHS, reaching base five times and scoring two runs.
    Williams was 3-for-7 in the series with three runs and an RBI.
    Vining led the Tigers, driving in four and scoring twice
    Jeff Davis advances to face the winner of Fitzgerald/Vidalia in the Second Round on Wednesday.

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