Tattnall County may have been the host school for their annual Warrior Blast tournament, but it was Bulloch County who simply took over the tournament. Statesboro, Southeast Bulloch, Portal and Bulloch Academy combined to go a perfect 10-0 against some pretty stiff competition in the two-day event.
On Friday Southeast Bulloch went 2-0 as they defeated South Effingham 4-3, thanks to a two-run walk-off double by freshman Delanie Thames. The Jackets trailed the Mustangs 3-0 before rallying for four runs in the seventh inning.
“The South Effingham game was like a playoff atmosphere,” said Southeast Bulloch coach Aimee Civalier. “Our girl have been competing with them for years in high school and middle school, and have never beaten them. To win with a walk-off hit was so exciting. The players rushed the field and celebrated like they won the region title. It was a lot of fun.”
In their second game the Yellow Jackets beat Appling County 9-8. Thames had a two-run home run, and senior Madison Grams added a two run homer as well, as the Jackets capped off a 2-0 mark on Friday.
“The tournament was a great experience for us with awesome competition,” Civalier said. “In both games we were able to come from behind and pick up wins, which shows our resilience. We had some key players step up offensively, and I felt like Alana Barnard did a good job on the mound.”
The Statesboro Blue Devils also played on Friday as they squeaked out a 1-0 win over Islands, and then knocked off the always tough Vidalia Indians 8-1 in their late game.
“Brinson Anne Rogers and Kinlee Carter both pitched well for us in both games,” said Statesboro coach Jim Simmons. “We played well defensively, but struggled on offense in our first game against Islands. Avery Wiggins came through with a walk-off RBI single in the seventh in the 1-0 win.”
“We played a lot better in the second game against Vidalia. “Simmons said. “We were tied 1-1 in the seventh, and we were able to score seven runs to pull off the win. We manufactured a few runs, and Vidalia helped us with a couple errors. I felt like L.A. Groover did a good job for us at the plate, and Addison Helton and Lexi Tanner continue to improve defensively at catcher.”
The Portal Panthers played one game on Friday, and then two on Saturday. The Panthers were able to knock off Liberty County 4-3 on Friday, and then got the offense going on Saturday as they beat Toombs County 13-5, and then pounded Bradwell Institute 17-1.
“I want to commend these girls first off, for their unselfish play,” said Portal coach Travis Motes. “I asked some girls to play different positions, some to only bat, and others to just play in the field. Everyone did what they needed to do for the good of the team, and that’s what makes a good team.”
“After a slow start at the plate Friday, we cranked the bats up Saturday. We hit .341 as a team, and we are now 4-3 on the season with two big games coming up this week. If we continue to play unselfishly I think this team will do great things.”
Wrapping things up the Bulloch Academy Gators went 3-0 on Saturday. The Gators knocked off Tattnall County 4-2 in the first game, and then beat Jeff Davis 14-2, before finishing things off with an 11-1 win over Islands.
Sloan Aubrey and Liv Finley each had a pair of hits and RBIs in the Gators win over Tattnall, with Baylee Howard going the distance on the mound. Regan Ellis had a home run in helping the Gators to their win over Jeff Davis, while Leah Williford and Hartlee Faircloth each had a pair of hits, and J.B. Marsh notched then win on the mound. Ellis pounded another home run against Islands, and got offensive help from Williford and Faircloth once again.
“We scored 29 runs, and had 33 hits in three games,” said Bulloch Academy coach Kyle Chambers. “I can’t remember a three game stretch like that last year, and we went to the state championship. We have really played well recently, against some pretty good GHSA teams, which I think can only help us in the future.”
“I feel like the mentality of this team is we can beat anyone,” Chambers said. “You can tell when we step in the batter's box, we aren’t hoping we can get a hit, we know we can get a hit. The confidence in these girls continues to impress me.”
The Gators have their home opener Tuesday at 4:00 against Briarwood. Southeast Bulloch has their home opener Tuesday at 4:30 against Windsor Forest. Portal travels to Liberty County on Wednesday, and Statesboro hosts Appling County Monday at 6:00.