BROOKLET – Monday’s miracle comeback earned Southeast Bulloch a spot in the state playoffs, but the Yellow Jackets couldn’t repeat the feat Friday, falling to Dublin by a 12-6 margin in a Region 3-AA playoff game.
With the loss, the Jackets (18-7) drop to the No. 4 seed as they enter next week’s Georgia High School Association state playoffs.
“The bottom line is that we just didn’t play very well tonight,” said SEB coach Brandon Peterson of Friday’s loss. “We gave up too many walks and committed too many errors. This late in the season, you aren’t going to get away with that and still win games.
After starter J.D. Smith blanked the Fighting Irish in the top of the first, SEB grabbed the upper hand with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Taylor Burroughs singled and scored on a throwing error stemming from Tyler Epps’ base hit for a 1-0 advantage, and — after Seth Morgan reached base — Ryan Adams ripped a two-run double to left for the 3-0 lead.
Adams was the Jackets’ star at the plate Friday, batting in four of SEB’s six runs and scoring another.
“Ryan has been swinging it really well the last few weeks,” said Peterson. “At times this year,
everyone in the lineup has been swinging well. The key is to find some consistency and get everyone going at once.”
Adams’ first inning double gave the Jackets a cushion, but Dublin quickly rebounded.
Two singles and a pair of walks by the Irish put up a run and chased Smith from the game in the second inning and Hunter Davis greeted SEB reliever Epps with a three-run triple on his first offering to put Dublin up 4-3.
Davis’ blow came with two outs and set a trend for the Irish as eight of their 12 runs crossed the plate via a two-out RBI.
“You’ve got to give credit to Dublin,” said Peterson. “They battled hard and got big hits all night.”
Dublin added two runs in each of the next two innings before Adams pulled the Jackets within 8-5 on his second two-run double of the night in the fifth inning.
Burroughs notched an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to get SEB within 8-6, but more walks and clutch hitting allowed the Irish to put the nail in the Jackets’ coffin with four runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Despite the loss, SEB still moves on to the state playoffs.
As the No. 4 seed out of Region 3-AA, the Jackets will have to hit the road to play the Region 1-AA champion. Berrien and Cook are still battling for the top seed in that region, but regardless of its opening round opponent, SEB knows that it has its work cut out.
“It definitely won’t be easy,” said Peterson. “Berrien has a great team this year and Cook is a school with a great baseball tradition and players that are used to winning.
“We can’t do things any differently though. It’s a long trip, but we’ve had experience playing tough region games after long bus rides. We just need to focus on the little things, cut out some of tonight’s mistakes, and show up ready to go.”
SEB and the Region 1-AA champ will play a three-game series — all held at the home field of the Region 1-AA No. 1 seed. Game 1 will be Friday. Game 2 has yet to be scheduled, but will either be held as the second game of a Friday doubleheader or the first of two possible games Saturday.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.