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SEB tops Devils

    BROOKLET — Southeast Bulloch scored seven unanswered runs Tuesday over the final three innings, running away from Statesboro for a 10-3 win at SEB.
    The big blow for SEB came in the bottom of the fourth with two on and one out and first baseman Ashley Clifton at the plate.
    “I saw it was a strike and I swung,” said Clifton.  “When I hit it I knew it was going far — but not that far.”
    Clifton turned on an inside fastball on a 1-0 count and drove the ball deep to right all the way to the fence.  Courtesy runner Kelly Hadden scored from third and Ciera Weaver from second, and then Clifton advanced to third on the relay throw home and came around to score when the ball got loose behind home plate.
    The Yellow Jackets took a 6-3 lead at that point and never looked back in their season opener.
    “Overall I’m very pleased,” said SEB coach Aimee Civalier. “We put 10 runs up on the board. I told the girls we had a bad first inning, we had some errors and we need to erase those mistakes that we did.”
    The Blue Devils didn’t waste any time in jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
    Catcher Meghan Cassedy took the first pitch of the game and slammed it to right center for a leadoff double. Erin Hice was then hit by a pitch and Cassedy scored when the throw on Whitney Lucas’ sacrifice bunt sailed into right field.
    Hice moved to third on the play then scored on Brittany Raines’ sac bunt to put SEB in an early 2-0 hole.
    “Definitely some nerves there in the first inning,” said Civalier. “Especially those throwing errors, I think they were a little bit nervous.
    Starting pitcher Megan Barnwell respectfully disagreed.    
    “No we weren’t nervous because we’ve played (Statesboro before),” she said.
    Barnwell helped SEB back into the game in the bottom of the second after Lauren Crosby reached on an error to shortstop.  Barnwell then reached on an error to center, scoring Crosby. Barnwell tied the game when Clifton reached on another SHS miscue with two outs in the inning.
    Statesboro (0-3) committed 10 errors in the game.
    “We had a good start to the game, but then, when you have inexperienced kids on the field, and the balls find them, which is our luck right now, it doesn’t matter how many base runners we put on base,” said SHS coach Karry Parker.
    Southeast took its first lead of the night when Ansley Rushin scored on a Bridgett Devin groundout in the third, but SHS quickly tied the game up in the fourth when Kristen Deal reached on an error, stole second, then crossed the plate on another SEB error, its third of the game.
    Once SEB (1-0) took the lead for good in the bottom half of the fourth, that’s all Barnwell needed. The junior struck out 11 and retired the final nine batters she faced.
    Rushin was 2-for-4, Clifton was 1-for-3 with two RBIs, and Crosby scored three runs for SEB. Cassedy led the Lady Devil attack going 2-for-3.
    The Yellow Jackets open region play Thursday at Metter while both teams head to Mill Creek this weekend for the Battle in the Boro Tournament.
    
    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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