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Column: What a spring! Area schools on fire

The end of the school year is quickly approaching, but for spring sports all over Bulloch County, the fun is just getting started. Baseball, soccer, track and field and tennis are all beginning postseason play with area teams making a strong push into the state playoffs.
    Track and field events have been dominated by teams and individuals all over the county. The girls’ squads of Statesboro and Southeast Bulloch won their respective region meets last week while their boys’ teams finished second. The Portal girls also placed second and all teams will be in action today as they compete in their sectional meets with a trip to the state finals on the line.
    Things have gone just as well in GISA. Bulloch Academy hosted its region tournament on Thursday and both the boys and girls ran away with team titles in front of their home crowd.
    Both Gator squads could compete for team championships at the state meet while individuals and relay teams from all schools have shown the talent that it will take to advance this weekend.
    Baseball teams in the area didn’t fair very well last season — only Bulloch Academy made the state tournament — but things have been going much better in 2013.
    The Gators have dropped just two region games as they head into the final few games of their regular season. Meanwhile, Statesboro and SEB have pulled off some dramatic victories in order to keep their seasons alive.
    The Blue Devils needed to win a three-game series against Cross Creek last weekend. SHS dropped the first game, but got consecutive gems from pitchers Jordan Finch and Colin Chance to win the next two and clinch a spot in the Class AAAA state tournament.
    The Yellow Jackets provided similar drama earlier this week. SEB needed one more win to assure itself of a top-4 finish in Region 1-AAA and a state playoff berth. Pierce County — which had reached the top of the Class AAA poll and had lost just three games all season — stood in the way, but the Jackets played one of their best games of the season in claiming an 8-3 win.
    Both schools have had similar success on the soccer field.
    Statesboro’s boys and girls recorded decent regular season records before turning it up in the Region 3-AAAA tournament.
    Both schools won their first game of the tournament to clinch spots in the state playoffs, then dispatched No. 1 seed Richmond Academy in their respective semifinal games. Neither was able to win the region title, but both Devils squads will open the state tournament at home as a No. 2 seed.
    The SEB boys finished just out of the running for a state playoff spot, but the Lady Yellow Jackets have turned a nine-game winning streak in the middle of the season into a No. 3 seed in next week’s state playoffs.
    Finally, there has been plenty of success on the tennis court in and around Bulloch County. The girls’ squads for both Statesboro and SEB made it into the first round of their state tournaments and the Bulloch Academy girls will begin their state tournament as a No. 2 seed on Monday.
    But the biggest stars on the court — as usual — come from up the road in Sylvania. The Screven County boys continued playing well into the  state playoffs, while the girls continued one of the most incredible runs of any school in any sport in the state.
    With the Lady Gamecocks’ 5-0 win over Cook County in Thursday’s second round match of the Class AA state tournament, the Screven girls advanced to the state quarterfinals for the 24th consecutive season.
    There are no seniors on this year’s squad, so next year could easily stretch Screven’s run to a quarter of a century. It’s only a matter of time before future Lady Gamecocks will be tasked with continuing a streak that their mothers helped to get started.
    And so, while another school year winds down, there is much more to celebrate than acceptance into college or graduation.
    Plenty of students are itching to get started with their summer vacations, but for plenty of athletes who still have much to compete for, there is no rush for things to end anytime soon.

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