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Finch on fire in SHS region finale

    In its final sub-region game of the season against South Effingham, Statesboro needed to come up big.
    That’s exactly what starting pitcher Jordan Finch was able to do.
    Finch went the distance, allowing just six hits and keeping a free-swinging Mustang squad from touching the scoreboard in a 3-0 victory Friday night at Mill Creek Regional Park.
    In a previous meeting, South Effingham (15-5, 6-3 Region 3-AAAA) was able to push a run across against Finch in a 1-0 win. Friday night, the Statesboro (15-5, 6-3) right-hander got his revenge.
    “South Effingham can really swing the bats,” SHS coach Jim Simmons said. “It speaks to Jordan’s competitiveness and his skill to throw 14 innings against these guys and only allow one run.”
    The Blue Devils got all the offense they would need early on.
    South Effingham starter Carlton Redding went pitch for pitch with Finch throughout the evening, but blinked in the second inning.
    Statesboro put a pair of runners on base and worked them to second and third with two outs. Clay Reed fell behind in the count, 0-2, but he fought off a tough pitch from Redding and served it into right field for a two-run single.
    “Clay came up with the big hit,” Simmons said. “That’s not the first time he’s done that for us this season. He came up big and we were able to play with a lot of confidence once we had the lead.”
    Statesboro increased its lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the third as Jackson Ware singled and worked his way to third before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Blakely Brown.
    Armed with the lead, Finch continued to breeze through the Mustang lineup. In his seven innings of work, Finch allowed more than one hit in an inning just once.
    The Devils’ defense also played a big part in the victory. Statesboro didn’t commit an error in the game and with a runner on first and one out in the seventh inning, Ware took two steps from his spot at shortstop and snared a hard liner off the bat of Patrick Mack that seemed destined for centerfield.
    Two batters later, Garrett Hodges laced a line drive right into the glove of Connor Akins at first to end the game.
    With the win, Statesboro forced a three-way tie atop the sub-region standings. The final numbers are still pending, but it is likely that the Devils will win the tie-breaker and grab the top seed as the region playoffs begin next week.
    Statesboro is currently in line to host Hephzibah in a three-game series next week. A doubleheader will be played Friday and, if necessary, a final game will be played Saturday afternoon.

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