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Jackets rally to force third game

Jackets rally to force third game

Jackets rally to force third game

    BROOKLET — On the brink of having their season come to an early end, the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets bounced back and live to fight another day.
    Brantley County stormed into town on Wednesday afternoon and took a 6-4 win in the first game of the best-of-three series in the Region 1-AAA tournament. Needing a win to keep their season alive, the Jackets bounced back with a 14-5 victory in six innings in the nightcap.
    The teams will play a decisive third game today at 5 p.m. in Brooklet.
    “We really had to dig down,” SEB coach Aimee Civalier said. “I told our girls that (Brantley) is a good team. They’re going to score. We just had to score more.”
    After the Jackets took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first in the second game, SEB starter Blair Chapman — returning to the mound after throwing five-plus innings in the opener — surrendered a pair of singles before Chelsea Carlan blasted a three-run shot over the wall in left center for a 3-1 Lady Herons lead.
    After that it was all Jackets.
    Brantley starter Caroline Lowther walked the bases loaded to begin the second inning and Chapman knocked in a run with a bloop single to right. Lindsay Crosby came home on a wild pitch and Emma Britt notched an RBI groundout to chase Lowther and bring Game 1 starter Kayla McCloud. Morgan Joyner greeted McCloud with line drive double to right to make it 5-3 Jackets.
    SEB continued to plug away in the third. Crosby led off with an infield single and Chapman followed with a liner to left.
    Some small ball and a pair of misplays by the Herons at home plate put two more runs on the board. Cierra Clark added an RBI single and Storm Williams took home on a double steal to stretch it to 9-3.
    “We played small ball pretty well in the second game,” Civalier said. “We did a good job of getting girls on. We kept moving them around the bases and then we got some big hits that really helped us out.”
    Brantley loaded the bases in the third and forced Chapman from the game. Kayla Perkins — who had relieved in the first game as well — did her best to limit the damage.
    The Herons scored once on a wild pitch, but Sarah Brantley’s sliding catch in right field on a line drive by Summer Lee kept the SEB margin at 9-5.
    After SEB went down in order in the fourth, the game was delayed for about 20 minutes due to an electrical problem.
    The Jackets loaded the bases in the fifth when the power failed again, but SEB stayed hot when the lights returned. Clark smacked a two-run single and both Crosby and Dallas McClellan added RBI hits.
    The game was called early after Brantley was retired in the sixth.
    “We’re happy to get to that third game,” Civalier said. “I just told the girls that we need to be ready to come out and play another tough game tomorrow.”

Game 1 – Brantley 6, SEB 4
    Brantley County got off to a good start with two runs in the top of the first inning of Wednesday’s first game. Southeast Bulloch was on the Herons’ heels throughout, but could never take charge.
    Tied at 3-3 in the top of the sixth inning, Loren Mertz doubled to left field to chase Chapman from the game. Perkins relieved, but got into a hole as the Herons put runners on second and third with one out. Perkins nearly escaped the jam, getting Gill to pop out, but Thomas ripped a two-run double to the gap in left center to make it 5-3.
    The Jackets rallied in the bottom of the frame as Mary Manahan singled to center, courtesy runner Lauren Harden stole second, and Dallas McClellan legged out an infield hit. Harden scored on a single by Crosby, then subbed into the game to replace McClellan at third. Leah McCarthy ripped a liner off McCloud, but it was snared and Harden was doubled off to end the inning.
    “We couldn’t quite catch the breaks,” Civalier said. “We gave them a few runs and that really hurt us. It was just one of those games where we couldn’t get a big play when we needed it.”
    Mertz stretched the lead to 6-4 with an RBI single in the seventh before McCloud closed the door on Brantley’s first win of the day.
    The Herons began the scoring in the first. Thomas hit a one-out single, then advanced to third when McClellan couldn’t handle the throw at first on a grounder by Lee.
    Carlan singled home Thomas and Lee crossed the plate on a groundout by Meg Colley.
    Gill helped the Jackets stay close as three different throwing errors over the first four innings led to SEB’s first three runs.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.

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