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SEB draws Randolph-Clay in first round

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    BROOKLET — Coach Aimee Civalier and her Southeast Bulloch Lady Yellow Jackets were disappointed when they let the Region 3-AA softball championship slip out of their hands at home on Saturday.
    They picked up the No. 2 seed after losing to Screven County, but rather than being brought down, Civalier has used the experience to motivate her players and get them ready for the start of the South Sectionals of the GHSA Class AA State Tournament on Friday.
    “Hopefully this past weekend has been a motivation to drive them — make them work harder and get ready for the Sectionals,” said Civalier. “They have been focused really hard. They have been working really hard and they want it, so that’s good.”
    The Jacket coach realizes that regardless of the seed, SEB is going to have to face some tough teams.
    “If we were the No. 1 seed we would still be playing some tough teams (in that bracket),” Civalier said. “No matter what, you’ve got to come out of the top four.”
    Facing as many as five games on Friday and Saturday, Civalier has been preparing her whole pitching staff. Pitcher Megan Barnwell has been the highlight from the mound, playing most of the season. There are no rules in softball to regulate the amount of work a pitcher can do in a given series but, for Civalier, it is nice to have some backups in a tournament setting.
    Ashley Clifton — the starting third baseman — has seen considerable time on the mound this season, and the team as a whole hopes to be ready.
    “We’ll just have to see how it goes,” Civalier said. “We’re going to start with our number one. If we have to bring somebody else in, we will. Or if we get into a situation where we are up by some runs and get an opportunity to rest her, we can do that too.”
    Southeast Bulloch begins the tournament on Friday at 4 p.m. at the Paulson Complex in Savannah. The first test will be Randolph-Clay, the No. 3 seed out of Region 1-AA.  
    “(Randolph-Clay) is in a region that I think is a little bit weaker than ours, so we feel pretty good being matched up against the No. 3 seed,” said Civalier. “Not to take them for granted — we have to play them first — but looking at the bracket, we are in a tough bracket… Dodge County and Savannah Christian are tough teams.”
    A win over the Red Devils would put SEB up against the winner of the Dodge County and Brantley County game, which would be played Friday night at 8 p.m.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9404.
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