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A day at the beach as Jackets snag Sharks, 16-1

    BROOKLET — Southeast Bulloch has been up and down through the first couple of weeks of play, but the Lady Yellow Jackets’ Region 1-AAA opener saw them show up in top form.
    Sophomore pitcher Sierra Peebles stole the show Tuesday evening against Islands. Peebles pitched a no-hitter and knocked in five runs as SEB (4-3, 1-0) coasted to a three-inning, 16-1 win.
    Peebles was all but untouchable on the mound. She struck out seven Lady Sharks and never allowed a ball to leave the infield.
     In all, it was a solid night for a Yellow Jacket squad that had experienced a few hiccups over the weekend.
    “I think that we came together and played a really solid game,” said SEB coach Aimee Civalier. “We still have some things to fix, but we played like we need to.”
    After struggling offensively in a pair of losses over the weekend, the Jackets wasted no time in making a dent on the scoreboard —aided by a shaky Lady Sharks defense.
    Two hits and two walks were sandwiched in between three Islands errors and a pair of wild pitches in the bottom of the first inning. SEB took full advantage and pushed four runs across the plate to build a big lead early on.
    “We always want to be aggressive,” said Civalier. “This was a region game. We want to win all of these. The mindset is different. We really have to bear down and do what we need to if we want to win.”
    In the second inning, the Jackets left no doubt.
    Storm Williams led off the frame with an infield hit off Islands starting pitcher Taylor Allen and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ciera Clark. Leah McCarthy singled and Effie Manahan walked to load the bases. Mary Grace Manahan drew another walk, bringing Williams home and forcing Cara Heater to relieve Allen.
    Heater coaxed a soft grounder from Lindsey Crosby for the second out, but Peebles launched a 3-1 fastball just left of the scoreboard for a grand slam — the first of her career — and a 9-1 SEB lead.
    “Sierra had a great night, no doubt,” said Civalier. “She looked good on the mound and had some good at bats. That’s what we like to see out of her.”
    Despite Peebles’ brilliance on the mound, the Sharks were able to manufacture a tiny bit of offense. Allen drew a leadoff walk to start the second inning and her heads-up hustle allowed her to advance all the way to third on Kristen Leonard’s sacrifice bunt.
    In one of her only miscues of the day, Peebles uncorked a wild pitch and allowed Allen to score the Sharks’ only run.
    Still, Civalier was plenty impressed by her ace pitcher.
    “She was really solid out there,” said Civalier. “Obviously, we want to fix some of the things that led to giving up a run, but Sierra was really good today. She’s progressing just like we want her to and we’ll need her to keep pitching well.”
    In the bottom of the third, SEB put the game away early. Williams led off with a double and Clark blasted an RBI triple to right center. The Jackets notched six hits in the inning and had seven consecutive batters reach base safely as they put an exclamation point on their region win.
    SEB returns to the diamond Thursday at 5:30 p.m. with another region game against Johnson of Savannah.

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