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Lady Gamecocks claim 3-AA title with 1-0 win over SEB

    Four days after claiming the Region 3AA regular season title, the Screven County Lady Gamecocks (21-4) twice downed SEB’s Lady Jackets (22-3) by 1-0 margins to claim the 3AA tournament championship at the Screven County Recreation Complex on Saturday. 
    Both teams will now begin play in the Class AA state sectionals at Paulson Complex in Savannah Friday at 6:00 p.m. against teams from Region 2AA.
    “This was a long time coming,” said Lady Gamecock coach Billy Pollock.  “These girls started working over the summer, practicing together, lifting weights together; I think that all of the hard work paid off.”
    For SCHS it was a case of taking advantage of what was given to them.  In both the morning winners’ bracket game and the afternoon championship contest, SEB errors allowed the Lady Gamecocks to score their runs.  Each time senior pitcher Elizabeth Poythress (18-3, 0.51 ERA) made the run stand up. 
    Over the course of the tournament Poythress pitched three complete games, allowed no runs, struck out 25 and walked but one.  On the season she has 157 strike outs and just nine walks in 123.1 innings.
    Asked about the feeling after the game Poythress was almost speechless, “This is awesome.  After SEB beat us earlier (2-1 on Sept. 14) it was great to come back and beat them this week.  I am on a high right now.”
    On the other side of the field was SEB sophomore star pitcher Megan Barnwell who suffered three losses to the Lady Gamecocks this week without giving up an earned run.  By all rights she should have had a pair of shutouts to her credit on Saturday. 
    In the title tilt Poythress and Barnwell dueled scoreless into the seventh.  Twice SCHS got its lead base runner on and failed to score while SEB put its leadoff hitter on three times, including a lead-off double by Lauren Crosby in the fifth, and failed to score. 
    The home half of the seventh saw Shay Patterson lead off with a single.  Following a failed bunt attempt for the first out, senior catcher Brandy Evans hit a hard grounder that went through the legs of short stop Randi Shuman and into the gap.  Patterson scored from first in front of a throw from DeAnn Lewis to give SCHS its title.
    One of just two seniors (along with Poythress) on the SCHS roster, Evans said: “This is what we worked for all year, really for four years.  To finally take the hardware home in my senior year is a great feeling.”
    The morning win for SCHS saw them pick up a single run in the bottom of the fifth at the back end of a run down. 
    With courtesy runner Krystal Harris on third and pinch runner Lynda Catherine Moore on first, Carter Mills laid down a safety squeeze.  Caught too far off third, Harris was eventually tagged out.  When Moore headed for third, Barnwell’s erratic throw allowed Moore to score what became the winning run.
    Pushed into the losers’ bracket after the morning loss and needing a win over Metter to get another shot at SCHS, the Lady Jackets pounded out 12 hits, including two each by Jean Griffin, Lewis, Jamie Bohannon, and Lauren Crosby to whip the Lady Tigers 6-0. Ciera Weaver had a pair of RBI.  Barnwell allowed a single hit through five innings before yielding to Ashley Clifton over the final two frames.
    “I want to take nothing away from SEB,” said Pollock.  “We beat a great team three times this week…we did not hit the ball hard, we just put the ball in play and let things take their course.”

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