SYLVANIA — Screven County took down Southeast Bulloch by a count of 8-4 to sweep their doubleheader and clinch the consolation series of the Region 3-AA tournament Wednesday evening in Sylvania.
With the win, the Lady Gamecocks clinched a No. 3 seed in the Georgia High School Association state playoffs set to begin next week.
“Overall, we got done what we set out to do,” said Screven coach Billy Pollock. “We didn’t play particularly well, but we did enough when we needed to.”
A number of errors on both sides left the teams knotted at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth inning, but the Gamecocks were able to inch ahead before a three-run triple off the bat of Rochelle Shuman blew the game wide open.
SEB did its damage with two outs in the top of the third.
Trailing 1-0 and with no runners on base, Ansley Rushing hit a soft liner to Marla Thompson. The Screven pitcher mishandled the ball, then threw low past first base, allowing Rushing to advance to second.
Ciera Clark lined the next pitch to the fence in center for an RBI double, and Hannah Denmark and Effie Manahan each added run-scoring hits to push the Jackets out to a 3-1 lead.
“I felt like we got some really good swings on Marla,” said SEB coach Aimee Civalier. “This was the fourth time that we’ve faced her, so I think that everyone knew what to expect. She’s a very good pitcher, but after seeing her a few times, I don’t think that our girls were as tentative.”
As quickly as the Jackets took the lead, their own defense gave it right back.
In the bottom of the third, Madison Torres reached on a one-out error. Manahan got Tiffanie Burns to line to shortstop for the second out, but two more errors kept the inning alive and allowed Torres to score, and Lauren Thomas tied the game by singling home Shuman.
“Those errors really hurt us,” said Civalier. “Screven is a very good team, and you can’t give good teams extra outs. Any time you do that, they’re going to make it count. That’s what happened tonight.”
In the fourth, Screven went right back to work. Cas Austin led off with a single and both Morgan Boswell and Sydnee Weaver reached to load the bases. Tiffanie Burns laced a single to give the Gamecocks a 4-3 lead, and Shuman blasted a bases clearing triple to make it 8-3.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that was the key play of the game,” said Pollock. “We were very pleased with Rochelle’s approach at the plate. She let the ball get deep into the zone and just went with the pitch.”
SEB drew within 8-4 on an RBI double by Denmark, but the Jackets got no closer as Thompson shut the door.
With the win, Screven claimed the No. 3 seed out of the region and will take on Cook. As the No. 4 seed, SEB will face Region 2-AA champion Berrian in the first round of the state playoffs.
Screven County 8, SEB 0
Screven rolled to a win in the first game of the doubleheader, blanking the Yellow Jackets by an 8-0 margin in five innings.
Thompson went the distance for the Gamecocks, striking out seven, walking none, and allowing just two bunt singles.
SEB played a large part in its own demise with three costly errors in a bottom of the second inning that saw Screven score six runs to take a commanding lead.
Thompson led off the frame with a single and advanced to second when Thomas walked. An error by SEB pitcher Taylor Wilkes on Tiffanie Burns’ sacrifice bunt allowed Weaver to score, and two fielding errors over the next three batters enabled Screven to build a 4-0 advantage.
Sydnee Weaver ripped an RBI single to left field and Shuman’s sacrifice fly pushed the lead to 6-0 after two innings.
Thompson continued to dominate on the mound and no Yellow Jacket base runner ever advanced past first base.
Another RBI single by Weaver in the fifth inning made it a 7-0 Screven lead, and Cas Austin singled to right in the sixth inning to score Courtney Burns and bring the game to an early end via run rule.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.